What are Bud's rules in Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis? Why does Bud have these rules? What do the rules tell you about Bud's character?
Bud's rules are simple reminders of how he should react throughout various difficult situations. His rules are based on past experiences but are generalizations and only apply to very specific situations. Since Bud is an orphan and has no caregiver or role model, he is forced to essentially raise himself, and learn from his own mistakes. The way Bud learns from his mistakes and seeks not to repeat them again is to remember various rules in what Bud calls, "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself." Many of Bud's rules reflect his naive childhood innocence and seem ridiculous. For example, in Chapter 7 Bud asks the librarian where Miss Hill is, and she says, "Miss Hill? My goodness, hadn't you heard" (Curtis 55). Bud recalls Rule Number 16: "If a Grown-up Ever Starts a Sentence by Saying "Haven't You Heard," Get Ready, 'Cause What's About to Come Out of Their Mouth Is Gonna Drop You Head first into a Boiling Tragedy" (Curtis 56). Bud's rule is clearly based off of a negative past experience and he is expecting to hear tragic news about Miss Hill. However, Bud is pleasantly surprised to find out that nothing bad happened to Miss Hill, and that she has just moved to Chicago after marrying the love of her life. These generalized rules reveal Bud's naive way of thinking and depict the numerous negative life experiences he has encountered. His rules are not reliable and are continually proven wrong. As Bud matures, he will not be forced to remember rules to keep him from repeating past mistakes.