It is said that "growing up can be painful". Discuss how this saying can be found true in Wonder. Justify your answer by providing two examples of heartbreaking moments and how the characters...

It is said that "growing up can be painful". Discuss how this saying can be found true in Wonder. Justify your answer by providing two examples of heartbreaking moments and how the characters behave the best they can at those moments.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One instance of a heartbreaking moment when it is clear that growing up can be painful is when Auggie realizes the importance of external validation.  For much of the narrative, Auggie has not been able to fully admit that acknowledging other people is important.  Given his own experiences with the cruelty of others, this was not entirely possible.  However, when he sees Via deliver a stellar closing to Our Town, Auggie makes a painful realization about what it means to grow up:

 I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives. 

A tinge of melancholy can be seen in such a statement, as Auggie recognizes that he might never experience his own standing ovation. Auggie grows up at this moment because he understands the heartbreaking reality that there might be experiences he might never have.  

Towards the end of the narrative, Augie is able to recognize that his differences might only be external.  While he felt that, at some level, there was an unbridgeable gulf between himself and others, Auggie does not feel that way as the novel concludes:  

Now that I look back, I don't know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.

Auggie has to grow up in order to gain this knowledge.  He must experience pain in order to understand the truth within such an idea.  It is heartbreaking to have to see him experience so much in order to gain knowledge.  However, through suffering and the knowledge that emerges from it, he grows up to demonstrate some of the very best attributes in a human being.

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