Wonder is a novel in eight parts. Its author, R.J. Palacio, uses multiple points of view to create a first-person narrative from the perspective of six different characters. Not every part is the same length: the protagonist, August Pullman, has by far the most time of any character to tell his story. This is only fair. He was born with a condition that makes him look different from everybody else. Strangers are startled by his appearance and jump to conclusions about who Auggie is as a person. In approximately the first 100 pages, he gets a chance to tell his own story through a mixture of internal monologue and dialogue with other characters.
The reader gets to know Auggie as he is in his own head, his real self, before seeing him interact with other characters. We learn how comfortable he is with his family by seeing how closely his internal monologue matches his dialogue with his mom, dad, and sister, Via. He doesn’t say everything he thinks, of course. No one does that. Still, he feels comfortable talking, teasing, and showing vulnerability when he speaks to another Pullman.
Auggie is precocious. He makes people laugh and is keenly aware of the things they try to hide, like sideways glances or almost-unnoticeable gestures. Because his personality is not what people are expecting, he often takes them by surprise when he finally speaks. Mr. Tushman is funny, too, and it doesn’t take long for Auggie to warm up to him. In fact, he makes an off-color joke the very first time they meet:
“My mom and dad had a teacher called Miss Butt,” I said.
“Auggie!” said Mom, but Mr. Tushman laughed.
“Now, that’s bad,” said Mr. Tushman, shaking his head . . . " (26)
He’s taciturn for a longer time when meeting kids his own age. They are not as good at hiding how they really feel. Auggie observes everything but says little for more than half of the first one hundred pages. Once Summer sits with him at lunch and talks to him like they’re old friends, he begins to open up with everyone. The role of his dialogue from that point forward is to humanize him to the other students. When Auggie speaks, they begin to see that he’s a normal kid, just like them.