What are Bud's weaknesses in Bud, Not Buddy?

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Many of Bud’s weaknesses are actually external (such as poverty and homelessness); however, Bud has two main internal weaknesses as well: his inability to show emotion and his rules.

Largely because of his external weaknesses, Bud has learned to keep his emotions inside. We know this because his “eyes don’t cry no more.” Even when he is forced to part from Bugs, his “blood brother,” Bud watches, dry-eyed. Bud remains stoic through all of his trials until he actually meets Herman E. Calloway and finds the jazz band with which Bud belongs. At this point, “some rusty old valve squeaked open in me” and Bud begins to cry and show emotion. Finally, Bud shows real compassion for other characters, such as when het pats the “grumpy” old Calloway on the back when Calloway learns the fate of his daughter.

Bud’s firm and fast “rules” can also be seen as a weakness. For example, consider Bud’s rule that he calls "Rule 328": 

Once you’ve made up your mind to do something, get to it before you have the chance to talk yourself out of it.

This rule comes up when Bud is locked in the Amos’ shed.  Bud convinces himself he has found a “vampire bat” and decides to swing a rake to defeat it.  Unfortunately, Bud’s rule causes him to disturb what is really a hornet’s nest and leads to many painful stings.

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What are some of Bud's strengths in Bud, Not Buddy?

One strength that Bud has is a real sense of perseverance. He is simply not a character that gives up. When Bud makes the decision to track down his father, he pursues the goal with a single-minded focus. Having to walk long distances does not faze him, nor does Herman Calloway's immediate dismissal of Bud's claim. Bud refuses to take no for an answer, and his persistence eventually wins out and forces Calloway to realize that he and Bud are indeed related.

Another strength that Bud has is a consistently positive attitude. This is related to his perseverance, but a person can persevere while being pessimistic. This is not Bud. He maintains a neutral to positive spirit through almost the entire book. He always looks for the positive in just about any situation and is able to make readers laugh out loud through his quick witted comments about people and situations. For Bud, anytime a situation doesn't work out the way that he wants it to, he claims that simply means a different door has been opened for him.

Finally, Bud is intelligent. While he does not have a lot of classical school and book knowledge, he is incredibly street wise. The rules that he repeatedly narrates to readers show us that Bud has learned a lot from the school of life. His rules help him survive or get in or out of situations, and it is clear that Bud took his initial lessons to heart because he reflexively implements his rules and strategies.

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