Wonder Characters

The main characters in Wonder are August Pullman, Via Pullman, Jack, Julian, Summer, Miranda, Justin, and Mr. Tushman.

  • August Pullman is a ten-year-old kid boy who was born with severe birth defects.
  • Olivia "Via" Pullman is August's sister, who has gotten used to August being the center of attention.
  • Jack is August's friend at Beecher Prep
  • Julian is the antagonist of the novel, who bullies August relentlessly.
  • Summer is August's friend, who sits with him at lunch.
  • Miranda is Via's former best friend, who lies about having a deformed brother.
  • Justin is Via's boyfriend, who plays the male lead in the school play.
  • Mr. Tushman is the principal of Beecher Prep. 


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Last Updated on September 1, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 176

August Pullman

In R. J. Palacio's Wonder, August Pullman was born with mandibulo-facial dysostosis, a severe birth defect that combined with other abnormalities to disfigure his face. When the novel opens, August is ten years old and has survived a number of plastic surgeries that have reshaped his mouth and jaw, correcting his cleft palate. His loving and protective parents have been homeschooling him all this time but are debating sending him to a middle school called Beecher Prep. (Read extended character analysis of August Pullman.)

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Olivia "Via" Pullman

Olivia is August's 15-year-old older sister. She is a freshman at Faulkner High School, and she learns to navigate the world of high school while August attends school for the first time. Olivia earned the nickname "Via" at school, and her family continues to call her Via years later. Prior to August's birth, Olivia was an only child, and family pictures indicate that she was always the center of attention. After August's birth, however, her role in the family changed. (Read extended character analysis of Olivia Pullman.)

Isabel and Nate Pullman

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 378

Isabel and Nate Pullman are the loving, protective parents of August and Olivia. Isabel worked as an illustrator before choosing to homeschool August full-time. It is primarily Isabel’s choice to send August to Beecher Prep. At first she is cautiously optimistic that August will fit in at school. However, when she sees Julian making mean-spirited comments about August during their first visit to the school, Isabel is deeply concerned with August’s well-being, and so she worries constantly about how he is faring. Isabel assumes the worst, and when August faces hardship, she feels personally implicated. August initially harbors some resentment toward her, and she, in turn, feels guilty, terrified that she made a bad decision by sending August to middle school "like a lamb to the slaughter." As August increasingly finds his place at Beecher Prep, she and August reconcile.

Nate balances out Isabel, both in temperament and in parenting approach. Whereas Isabel tends towards worry, Nate remains relatively calm, often offering jokes to lighten the mood. Although he initially resists August’s attendance of Beecher Prep, he encourages August to stick to his decision to attend, even as Isabel worries that it is a mistake. Nate tries to encourage August to step towards adulthood and towards a less shielded confrontation with the world. The most notable example of this encouragement surfaces when August discovers that a few years earlier, Nate had discarded his beloved astronaut helmet. Nate did so in order to encourage August to show his face, for which August ought to be unashamed—proud even—in Nate’s estimation.

As the novel progresses, Isabel and Nate’s intense preoccupations with August result in their neglecting Olivia. Although Olivia has become used to privacy and secrecy, it becomes increasingly clear that she craves the attention of her busy parents. These tensions come to a head late in the novel, when,...

(The entire section contains 2221 words.)

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