Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

by Judy Blume

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What is the conflict and resolution of Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

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The central conflict in Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing concerns the fact that Fudge gets all the attention because he is a troublemaker, leaving Peter to feel jealous and unappreciated. The resolution occurs when Fudge finally shows a little bit of remorse, and Peter is finally shown appreciation by their parents.

The climax of the story occurs in Chapter 10, when Fudge does what is in Peter's eyes his worst deed yet--he swallow's Peter's tiny pet turtle, Dribble. Other than having his beloved pet eaten and killed, the most frustrating part of the experience for Peter was all of the fuss being made over Fudge once their parents realized what Fudge had done. Their mother quickly calls for an ambulance and asks Peter to grab her blankets to wrap Fudge in, but Peter can't understand why all the fuss is necessary since "Fudge seemed fine" (p. 70).

However, at the hospital, Peter begins feeling worried about Fudge since he is in the examining room for so long. Because of his worry, he begins acknowledging he feels affection for his little brother, as Peter thinks to himself, "Maybe he wasn't such a bad little guy after all" (p. 72). But Peter's feelings fluctuate once again after Fudge finally passes the turtle, and Peter must face the reality his pet turtle is definitely gone. Peter begins to feel even more resentful when Fudge is showered with presents and kisses upon his return home from the hospital.

Yet, the turning point in the story occurs when Peter's father finally gives Peter some much needed attention by bringing him a new puppy. In addition, Fudge begins to show feeling remorseful for his actions when he willingly agrees that the dog is only Peter's dog; this time he agrees without having the slightest trace of mischief in his eyes. Fudge, this time, is very serious about letting Peter have his dog. Furthermore, the whole family laughs when their father notes the dog will be too big for Fudge to swallow, showing us that all has been forgiven and forgotten. While Fudge and Peter may continue to have a strained relationship, the end of the book shows us that Fudge is starting to learn his lessons, and Peter truly does feel affection for his brother.

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