Thursday, November 7, 2013
More about Wonder
I was recently asked to comment on this article about Wonder by RJ Palacio. My thoughts:
I think that the book is still amazing and wonderful for its kindness and respect, and one word should not change that. I very much dislike words like the r-word and the h-word, and racial slurs like the n-word and slurs about homosexuality like the f-word. That aside, it is sometimes appropriate to use them in literature because they can be a powerful part of a story and a message. Words appropriate in literature are not always appropriate in conversation. I can imagine many reasons that the author would have intentionally used the r-word, and even though the word is not acceptable in everyday conversation, some of those reasons would have justified the use of the word in my opinion. However, the reason that the author gives is lacking. Sometimes people are not the best that they can be, but there are many other words that Auggie could have used to convey his point, even with regard to the fact that he is a modern preteen; if the author was trying to make a point, she could have allowed Auggie's mother to correct him. But maybe part of the point was that the mother and child DIDN'T chose appropriate words because things like that happen in real life. Sometimes unpleasant words and actions are a part of great lives and great books, so I don't necessarily avoid books that use inappropriate words as long as the overall message is positive. Wonder is a great book, and I think it should definitely still be read because it presents a message of kindness, respect and empathy towards everyone.