What Message Does The Movie Wonder Give And Why Is It Important?

Story Of A Young Boy Who Overcomes Bullying


Google Images

Owen Wilson who plays Nate Pullman and Julia Roberts who plays Isabel Pullman holding Auggie’s hands while he’s wearing his astronaut helmet.

This article contains potentially triggering topics: suicide, depression, bullying, and minor violence.

Please be aware of your mental state before reading and reach out to the appropriate source linked below the article.

First of all, what is bullying? Bullying: seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable). Bullying can be delivered in different ways: cyber, physical, verbal, and emotional. Some ways of bullying can be more harmful than others, like verbal for example. Verbal can be calling someone “stupid” or “slow,” while it can also be used to make fun of someone’s appearance or interests. We are taught at a young age what bullying is, how to stop it, and why we shouldn’t do it. A school ground is the most common place of bullying, hence where Wonder takes place.

Bullying is a powerful way of hurting someone. Usually, the victim sees the bully as a confident and stronger opponent, while they are the weaker one. In my personal experience, I was bullied for being “weird.” I read comic books instead of reading chapter books, I watched cartoons and children’s movies instead of adult movies (live action), and I was loud and acted wild. The girls that made fun of me were older, they wore makeup and watched “adult movies.” In my perspective they were normal because I was seen as weird. I started to hate the things I liked and did and tried being normal. Little did I know there’s no such thing as a normal human. We all have different appearances, hobbies, and lives. 

Bullying can do more harm than just making someone self-conscious. Physically bullying someone can do damage to their overall health. I had a friend who was bullied severely, and one day after taking a blow, his spleen ruptured. He was rushed to the hospital where they had to remove it. Humans can live without their spleen but it plays a big role in fighting off bacteria. Because of his bullies he’s no longer able to touch or eat anything without it being properly sterilized, and it will affect him for the rest of his life. Some people develop body dysmorphia from bullying that can affect them for years—which leads into the message Wonder has. 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio, is about a young boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with severe facial deformities, known as Treacher Collins Syndrome. Throughout his life Auggie had 27 surgeries to help vision, breathing, hearing, chewing, and making his face look better. Up until 5th grade he was homeschooled, to allow his surgeries to heal and to protect him from the world. 

Julia Roberts who plays Isabel in the movie Wonder, speaks to Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) in the film (Stock photo from Google Images).

He lives with his Mom, Dad, older sister, and dog, who love and support him unconditionally.  Even with all this support, Auggie was very insecure of his face and wore an astronaut helmet he got for his birthday. He wore the helmet when he was out of the house and inside his house. He also grew out his hair into a braid to help cover his face. 

When Auggie turned eleven his parents decided to send him to middle school. He was sent to orientation where he met the principal and three students, Jack Will, Julian, and Charlotte. The tour went fine but when they were alone without an adult, Julian starts asking Auggie questions; “What happened to your face?” “Were you in a fire or something?” Auggie brushes them off and corrects Julian’s grammar to a former sentence in response. The principal, Mr. Tushman, is aware of Auggie’s condition and his shyness, and makes sure to help him feel more comfortable in school.  

The school year starts with students staring, whispering, and leaving him to sit alone at lunch. One student laughed at Auggie’s braid and he went home and cut it off that night. Jack Will had met Auggie before when they were younger and this pushed him to sit with Auggie at lunch one day. They talk and laugh and eventually become friends. Then on Halloween Auggie comes to school wearing a ghostface costume that covers his face. He walks into class to see Jack and Julian talking about him: If I looked like him, I think I’d kill myself…

Upon hearing this Auggie stops talking to Jack Will and later becomes friends with a girl named Summer. She stands up for him against Jack when he tries asking her why Auggie suddenly stopped being friends with him. She replied with the word “ghostface.” He apologizes endlessly to Auggie until he forgives Jack and they become friends again. Even though what Jack said was hurtful, his apology was sincere and he stood up to Julian for him. 

Throughout Auggie’s first year in a school, he was bullied, left out, and gossiped about. But he also made friends that supported him. Friends that stood with him and helped him gain more confidence in his face. It took a long time for Auggie to feel comfortable with himself, because of what people said and did. Those experiences will probably stay with him for the rest of his life. 

So bullying, it comes and shows in different ways. Auggie was bullied for his appearance; he had jokes and comments made about him yet he always stayed strong. Bullying is a powerful way of hurting people and was a powerful emotion in this story. But Auggie found people who love and support him. The message this story shows is accepting people for who they are, kindness is always needed, and anti-bullying.

If you are experiencing any type of bullying, talk to your parents, friends, teacher, or school counselor. Nobody deserves to be bullied, and everyone deserves kindness.


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