How does Doug change over the course of Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now? What contributes to these changes? 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Gary Schmidt's novel Okay for Now progresses, Doug becomes less of a bully and feels less rejected and isolated from the world. He eventually feels bold enough to take on whatever adventures life presents.

At the beginning of the novel, Doug frequently finds himself behaving just like his oldest brother, Lucas, which is not how he wants to behave. For example, the first time he meets Lil, she is parking her bike in front of the library and starts locking her bike up because, as she says later, she thinks he looks like a "skinny thug." Knowing she is locking up her bike because she doesn't trust him, Doug very spitefully replies to her questions, as we see in the following exchange:

Doug: "Is that because of me?"
Lil: "Should it be?"
Doug: "Not for this piece of junk. . . And if it wasn't a piece of junk and I did want it, a pink chain wouldn't stop me."
Lil: "Is there something you do want?"
Doug: "Not in this town" (Chapter 1).

It's at this point in the exchange that Doug realizes he is "sounding like Lucas when he was being the biggest jerk he could be," which is definitely not how Doug wants to sound.

As the novel progresses, Doug begins taking drawing lessons from Mr. Powell in the library. Doug's newfound appreciation for art helps him develop his sensitive and caring side, which leads to a closer friendship with Lil. Doug's newly developed drawing skills awaken feelings of pride and boldness in him that enable him to better tackle his problems. We see him act with particular boldness when he manages to convince the buyers of Audubon's plates to return them to Audubon's book in the library.

Read the study guide:
Okay for Now

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