Who are the major characters in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Judy Blume's 1972 novel Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is a wonderful book that has really stood the test of time. 

Many characters are introduced in this novel but not all of them are major. Some just serve to move the plot forward. The major characters in the novel are as follows: 

Peter Warren Hatcher is the narrator of the story and the protagonist. The antagonist is his younger brother, Farley Drexel Hatcher. 

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.

Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher, Peter's parents, are also major characters. They interact with Peter differently over the major problem of Fudge. Peter's mom often holds Peter responsible for what Fudge does. She also tries to motivate the strong-willed Fudge by using Peter as a role model for him, as she does in the following quote:

But my mother said, "I have an idea." She motioned for me and Mr. Berman to come closer. I had the feeling I wasn't going to like her idea. But I listened anyway. "I think we'll have to play a little joke on Fudge," she said. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well. . . suppose Mr. Berman brings out a pair of saddle shoes in your size and. . . ." "Oh no!" I said. "You're not going to get me to wear saddle shoes. Never!"

Peter's father is more detached and tries to be more stern with Fudge. However, he is not sympathetic to Peter's impossible situation, namely, that Fudge is a major problem in his life, and no one will help him with this problem. 

Jimmy Fargo is Peter's best friend, but, aside from a couple of episodes, he is not in the novel much. He really serves to drive the plot forward, but he is not a major character. This is also true for the Yarbys, Grandma, and Sheila. 

The biggest problem of the novel comes when Dribble, the turtle Peter wins at Jimmy's birthday party, is eaten by Fudge. All the concern goes to Fudge's well-being. His parents are panicked and take him to the hospital. The doctors prescribe medicines that will move the turtle through the digestive tract. A doctor informs Peter he will need to get another turtle. No one expresses concern for Peter's feelings about losing his beloved turtle to his brother's crazy behavior.

beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main characters in Judy Blume’s, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, include:

  • Peter Warren Hatcher is the fourth grader who narrates the story. He is the older of the two boys in the Hatcher family. Peter feels ignored by his family because his little brother Fudge manages to call attention to himself with his antics, including destroying Peter’s homework. Fudge manages to get away with his tricks under the guise of being the baby until he takes, Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle.

  • Farley Drexel Hatcher, also known as Fudge, is Peter’s baby brother, who presents a number of problems for Peter, and the family. His tantrums and two-year old behavior give the family plenty to deal with.

  • Mr. Warren Hatcher is Peter and Fudge’s father. His personality is exposed in his dealings with Fudge. When Fudge refuses to eat his supper, Mr. Warren tells him, “To eat it or wear it.” He proceeds take Fudge into the bathroom where he pours the bowl of food over Fudge’s head. This is an antic Fudge repeats by himself when the family is in a restaurant.

  • Mrs. Hatcher is the wife of Warren, and the mother of Peter and Fudge. She often implores Peter to help her with Fudge when her dinner and birthday party plans go awry.

  • Jimmy Fargo is Peter’s best friend and classmate. He lives alone with his father as his parents are divorced.

  • Sheila Tubman is Peter’s classmate, and lives in his apartment building. Sheila is another thorn in Peter’s side. One of her past times is to tell everyone that Peter has cooties.
Read the study guide:
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

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