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Via is August Pullman's sister. She often finds it difficult to live in the shadow of a sibling who always seems to need more attention than anyone else in the household. Although Via knows that it is Auggie's disability which prompts more fear, worry, and concern in her parents' heart for her brother than for her, it is still an uncomfortable realization. She tells us that ever since she can remember, Auggie's ailments have always taken precedence over hers.
My worst day, worst fall, worst headache, worst bruise, worst cramp, worst mean thing anyone could say has always been nothing compared to what August has gone through.
Although Via lives her life as a matter of fact, she is happy that a new day is dawning and that 'there seems to be a shift in the cosmos.'
It is events which illustrate Via's private conclusions about her brother which prompt the solution to the problem.
But he needs to grow up now. We need to let him, help him,
make him grow up. Here's what I think: we've all spent so much time trying to make August think he's normal that he actually thinks he is normal. And the problem is, he's not.
When Julian Albans, a schoolmate, calls Auggie a freak, Jack punches Julian in the face. Julian gets a tooth knocked out in the process, and Julian's mother (who is on the school board) is adamant that there has been too much pressure on the boys to accept a special needs classmate on top of all the other stresses of middle school. Julian continues to try making life difficult for Auggie, but Auggie soon learns that he has defenders as well. During Big Movie Night at the Broarwood Nature Reserve (the boys are at camp with students from at least two other schools), Jack and Auggie pull away to relieve themselves.
A group of seventh graders come upon Auggie and Jack on the way back to the stadium and proceed to call Auggie names. The bullies shine their flashlights in the boys' faces and throw firecrackers at their feet. Things appear very bad for both Auggie and Jack until Miles, Henry, and Amos show up to stand up to the bullies. The three boys used to do Julian's bidding, but with Julian a no-show for the camping trip, the boys decide to stand up for Auggie.
This scene represents the climax of the novel. Auggie calls it a ' monumental shift. A seismic shift. Maybe even a cosmic shift,' echoing the earlier words of Via. In rescuing Auggie, Julian's former followers come to look upon Auggie as one of their own. Julian is now the one out of the loop. Auggie's disability is not just a distraction anymore; rather, it is the means by which his classmates have come to learn the unifying principles of compassion, courage, and loyalty.
When Auggie is awarded the Henry Ward Beecher medal by Mr. Tushman, we can quite agree with him that Auggie has demonstrated all the qualities of a person of strength.
'Greatness,' wrote Beecher, 'lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength... He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts . . .'
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