Wonder Summary and Analysis of Part II: Via


The novel's perspective switches to Auggie's older sister, Via, who begins by talking about how she has gotten used to how her entire family life revolves around Auggie and his needs. She says that she does not mind this situation because she is used to it, though such a setup has meant that she and her own needs and problems often take second place. Although Via doesn't remember what her life was like before Auggie was born, she can see from photographs how much attention she got back then. She notes, though, that this year things have started to change.

Via talks about how she never saw Auggie the way other people see him -- could never understand the horror and fright on their faces when they first encountered him. Her perceptions changed for a moment after she spent a month with her grandmother in Montauk; upon coming back home after those weeks away, she saw Auggie, for just a second, the way other people did. Via muses that the only person she could have talked to about the way she felt was Grans. Unfortunately, two months after Via's return, Grans died of a heart attack. This loss devastated Via, because she had a very special relationship with her grandmother, who secretly told Via that she loved her more than anyone else in the world -- even Auggie -- because Via needed an angel looking out for her too.

Via then provides a detailed description -- the first in the entire novel -- of what Auggie's face actually looks like. The doctors say it is a miracle that he is even alive, let alone that he can hear, since most children with defects like his cannot. Via wonders what Auggie thinks of all this, how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror. She thinks it is important, though, that her family stop treating him like a baby and start helping him to grow up, since he must face the real world.

Nobody at Via's new high school knows Via; therefore, nobody knows about Auggie. Only Via's former best friends, Miranda and Ella, know, and they will not go around talking about Via's home life. Miranda in particular has always been sweet to Auggie, playing with him and hugging him. She was the one who gave him the astronaut helmet he wore all the time when he was younger.

Things have become different between the three friends since the beginning of high school. Miranda does not let Via know when she gets back from being a counselor at summer camp, and the two girls do not see each other until the first day of school. Miranda looks so different, with a new, bright pink bob hairstyle. Via also realizes that Ella and Miranda have gotten together during the summer without her. Miranda's mother is supposed to drive Via home on the first day of school, but Via does not want to be in the car with the new Miranda, so she secretly takes the subway home.

Tensions are high at the Pullman house that night, because neither Via nor Auggie wants to talk about the first day of school. Via is very upset when Auggie cuts off his Padawan braid, believing that Auggie has lost a part of himself. That night, Mom is supposed to come and talk to Via about her first day, but she falls asleep in Auggie's room instead. Via recounts a time when she saw her mother just standing outside of Auggie's room in the middle of the night, like an angel watching over him, and wonders if her mother has ever done something similar outside of her own room.

Via talks a little bit about her family background; Dad's family is European Jewish, and Mom's is from Brazil. The two Pullman parents met at Brown University and have been together ever since. Via has scoured her family records to see if any relatives had any sign of Auggie's condition, but she has not found any traces. It scares her that, as his sibling, she carries the mutant gene and will risk passing it on to her own children.

Miranda and Ella have left Via behind at school, so Via begins hanging out with a girl named Eleanor instead, gaining entry to the "smart-kids' table" through her. Halloween arrives, and everyone is confused when Auggie comes home from school, distraught, and says that he is too sick to go trick-or-treating, one of his favorite activities. Via coaxes Auggie to tell her what happened; she is not quite able to make him feel better about his latest problems at school, but she does get him to go trick-or-treating.

Auggie plays up his claim to have a stomach ache and insists that he will not go back to Beecher Prep. Via reminds him he is not the kind of kid who quits things. She tells him to go back and not let mean kids keep him from school; she also tells him that he has a leg up on the kids who were insulting him, since he knows what they said while they don't know that he knows. Auggie surprises Via by telling her that Miranda called the other day to check in on him; according to Auggie, Miranda says that she will always love him like a big sister even though she and Via do not hang out anymore. Miranda also told Auggie to tell Via that she misses Via.


The first section of the novel placed readers inside the mind of a child with a facial deformity, narrating what it is like to live through the experiences that Auggie must face each day. Now, subsequent sections will place readers outside of Auggie's mind, portraying him from the standpoints of the people around him. Through Via, readers get to view Auggie's world from the point of view of someone who has shared his life, knows him well, and loves him despite his deformity.

However, Via is someone whose own life has been profoundly affected by Auggie's condition; it is clear right away that she often feels neglected and overshadowed. Via is in an extremely difficult position, wanting to be treated as a more important part of her family but also feeling guilty about her desire for attention, since Auggie has gone through worse struggles than she has.

Although the departed Grans never makes a direct appearance in the story, readers learn a lot about her through the way Via describes her. Grans was like Via's personal guardian angel even before she died, reminding Via that she is important, too, and that she has someone looking out for her even while everyone else is looking out for Auggie. Losing Grans means that Via loses this essential source of validation, and this significant loss contributes to the insecurity Via feels as she begins high school.

In one of the earlier chapters in this section, Via insists that it is the Pullmans' job to make sure that Auggie grows up enough to face the real world; they cannot continue to baby him, she says. Via's statements establish Wonder as a coming-of-age novel, or a bildungsroman, to use the genre name. Sending Auggie to a real school is a major step in helping him to grow up and mature, and readers can expect Auggie to change dramatically over the course of the narrative.

Meanwhile, Via herself is undergoing major changes of her own. The beginning of high school is always a time of turmoil: beyond her abiding concerns about Auggie, Via must juggle the difficulties of starting at a new school and of moving beyond her old friends. Losing Miranda and Ella means that Via no longer has the strong support that could make the beginning of high school relatively easy. She must rely on herself instead. Just like Auggie, Via will grow and change over the course of the novel, coming of age just like her younger brother.

Via's section serves another important purpose in the novel: it fills in information that Auggie's opening section did not provide. Readers get a detailed description of how Auggie's face looks, an issue that was skirted in the first section. Readers also learn about the Pullmans' family background, as Palacio offers a new perspective on Auggie and Via's upbringing. All of these details that Via provides paint a fuller picture of the world that Auggie lives in and the experiences he has had.

Via and Auggie have an important relationship that will be central to the novel as it continues. As his sister and as someone fairly close to him in age, Via is the only person who can give Auggie the kind of advice and perspective that adults cannot provide. Via knows what it is like to deal with cruel classmates and vicious rumors, although the treatment Auggie can expect seems much harsher. She is able to convince Auggie to go trick-or-treating and to go back to school after he overhears malicious remarks: when dealing with school situations, Auggie clearly values her judgment.