August is represented as a courageous person throughout Wonder. While his bravery is more often displayed as his confidence grows, courage is one of his natural attributes that enables him to succeed by the end of a difficult year. In some places where he displays courage, he makes a stand against other people’s bad behavior, and in other places he shows it through compassion and forgiveness after his feelings are hurt. August also shows how courage consists of addressing and then overcoming the things he fears most—beginning with entering Beecher in the fall.
The most visible aspect of his bravery comes when he disregards his own physical safety and places himself in harm’s way to defend a friend. August has endured considerable psychological bullying, but when he and his friend Jack are at camp, they are placed in a situation of physical conflict. August stands up to Eddie, the other aggressive boy who attacked Jack.
When August and Jack become friends, August learns to trust another person outside his family, which is a new experience for him. But when Jack seems to abandon him and join the others in mistreating him, he is left more alone than ever. Although Jack never fully explains his actions, the fact that he hit Julian alerts August that Jack is his ally. It takes courage for him to allow Jack back into his life, and their temporary separation actually brings them closer together.
Starting school was a challenge for August because his parents told him the decision was ultimately his to make. Related to this decision were the problems that his parents not only disagreed with each other but also changed their minds about where they stood. Parting from his parents and sister on the first day and entering the school alone required great courage.