Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

by Judy Blume

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What is the solution to the problem in Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

The problem in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is Peter's perception that the arrival of his brother has turned the world upside down. He feels like he is not getting the same amount of attention from his parents that he used to receive, and is having to do extra work around the house because of Fudge. When Fudge eats his turtle, he thinks that justice has been served when Fudge gets a puppy as a replacement pet.

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In Judy Blume's novel entitled Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the main character, whose name is Peter Warren Hatcher, identifies his problem as his younger brother, Fudge. The novel is written from Peter's point of view, and the problem in the story is Peter's perception. In his...

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In Judy Blume's novel entitled Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the main character, whose name is Peter Warren Hatcher, identifies his problem as his younger brother, Fudge. The novel is written from Peter's point of view, and the problem in the story is Peter's perception. In his mind, his entire world has been turned upside down by the arrival of this invader—his younger brother. He explains his problem in the quote below:

"My biggest problem is my brother, Farley Drexel Hatcher. He's two-and-a-half years old. Everybody calls him Fudge. I feel sorry for him if he's going to grow up with a name like Fudge, but I don't say a word. It's none of my business. Fudge is always in my way. He messes up everything he sees. And when he gets mad he throws himself flat on the floor and he screams. And he kicks. And he bangs his fists. The only time I really like him is when he's sleeping."

There is a six year age gap between Peter and his younger brother, Fudge. Peter doesn't get the same amount of attention because he's older and understands much more about how the world operates. He is long past his daisy-eating phase. Peter suffers many indignities in order to help Fudge. One of them is being requested to stand on his head so that Fudge will eat.

Peter's sense of justice is violated when his brother eats his prize possession—a turtle named Dribble—and doesn't seem to receive a punishment. Peter's parents are very concerned about Fudge's health and not concerned at all about Peter or how he feels having lost his turtle. This problem is resolved when Peter's parents give him a puppy to replace his lost pet. They tell him they thought he handled the loss of his turtle with a good attitude, and that a puppy is too big for Fudge to swallow. This enables Peter to tolerate Fudge's shenanigans, and in some way, restores his sense that justice has been served.

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The greatest problem in Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is that Fudge receives a great deal of attention for being a troublemaker, making Peter feel neglected. The problem reaches its pinnacle when Fudge must be taken to the hospital for having swallowed Peter's pet turtle, Dribble. Upon Fudge's return from the hospital, though he is showered with gifts and kisses for having survived the ordeal, Fudge also begins to show a little bit of remorse for his actions. What's more, Peter's parents finally show him some appreciation.

Peter's parents show him appreciation when, one evening after Fudge's return from the hospital, Mr. Hatcher comes home with the "biggest box of all," which Peter knows is another present. Since Peter assumes it is another present for Fudge, Peter turns his back on his father and is surprised when his father says it's a present for him--Peter. Mr. Hatcher further explains that they felt Peter displayed a good attitude throughout the entire ordeal of having had his pet swallowed. Plus, since they know Peter misses his pet, they decided he should be awarded with another one. Inside the box, Peter finds a puppy.

Fudge begins to show remorse when, after being told the dog is for Peter, Fudge nods in agreement, without displaying any mischievous facial expressions as he has done in the past, and says, "Pee-tah's dog." He further shows remorse when he laughs along with the rest of the family when Mr. Hatcher notes that the dog will grow too big for Fudge to swallow.

Since Fudge demonstrates remorse and Peter is finally shown the attention he deserves, we see that the story's central problem has finally been resolved.

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