In Okay for Now, how do the main characters change throughout the book?

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kjtracy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the beginning to the end of Okay for Now, the main character Doug and most of his family have changed significantly. Doug begins the story as a rather shy young man who feels stifled by his abusive father and brother. As the story progresses, Doug takes on more responsibility and makes more social connections, bringing him out of his shell. Mr. Powell helps Doug learn to express himself through drawing, while Miss Cowper and Mr. Ferris help him learn to read. Through this process, Doug's communication skills improve both literally and figuratively as he finds his voice through reading. By the end of the story, Doug has become a confident teenager who, as the principal says, can "go wherever he wants to go."

Doug's brothers, Christopher and Lucas, change significantly throughout the story as well. Lucas begins the story as an abusive young man who leaves his family to go to war. After being maimed in action, Lucas returns home broken, bitter and disillusioned. Through Doug's intervention and a friendship with the school's gym teacher, Lucas finds his way in the world and realizes the potential he thought was lost after his injuries.

Christopher also undergoes a significant change as the story evolves. While he was often cold and sometimes cruel to his younger brother at the beginning of the story, being accused of theft humbles Christopher. He realizes that Doug is there for him when no one else is and slowly but surely becomes a brother who can be relied upon for support.

Each one of the Swieteck brothers changes throughout Okay For Now in his own way. Although Doug's transformation is the most dramatic, it has ripple effects on the lives of his family members and everyone around him. By the end of the story, the reader is left with the sense that all of the main characters really will be okay.