Natalie Merchant's "Wonder" is often mistaken as a song about vanity or arrogance. In actuality, it is a song about a woman with a physical disability and a refreshing attitude: differences in her physical body are not handicaps or deformities, they are wonders, a term that implies magic, awe and beauty. The woman makes her way through life "gifted with love, with patience, and with faith."

The song has become an anthem for many people with disabilities, but Merchant has insisted that, even though her inspiration for the song was a wonderful woman with a physical handicap, the song can be about anyone. For this reason, the video portrays women (of different ages, shapes and sizes) singing the lyrics.

"When the first encounter with some object surprises us... this makes us wonder and be astonished... And since this can happen before we know in the least whether this object is suitable to us or not, it seems to to me that Wonder is the first of all the passions. It has no opposite, because if the object presented has nothing in it that surprises us, we are not in the least moved by it and regard it without passion."

In Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, wonder is equated with raised eyebrows, opened lips, and

a hand held up,
palm out,
with fingers open -

reactions that, Darwin argued, increased the animal's chances of survival by making it see and breathe better in a crisis.

Wonder
By R.J. Palacio
Alfred A Knopf, 2012


Wonder is a children's/young adult novel. It is one of the currently-popular novels-about-kids-with-disabilities, and one of the better ones.

Auggie Pullman has been home-schooled all of his life. Until now. Next year he will be starting fifth grade, and his parents think it's time for him to go to a 'real' school. Auggie disagrees... The other kids will make fun of him, or worse, run away as soon as they see him. He's not being melodramatic -- he is horribly disfigured, and 'horribly' may be an understatement. He shies away from the specific details, but he was born with severe craniofacial deformities, and even after multiple operations, he doesn't approach normal-looking. Or even human-looking. (Okay, maybe he's being a little melodramatic. But not by much).

If the reader doubts how bad his appearance is, the reaction of the other kids puts them to rest. He's not exactly bullied -- people would have to look at him, or at least go near him to bully him -- but he certainly isn't welcomed with open arms. This is balanced by his interactions with his family and friends, who are unfazed by his appearance. While they recognize that he is odd looking, it doesn't bother them -- after all, they've known him for years.

The narrative moves from person to person, starting with Aggie, then his older sister, Via, then a couple of classmates, the sister's boyfriend, sister's friend, back to Aggie... it just keeps going. It's an interesting and effective way of advancing the story, keeping things engaging, and showing how tied-in Aggie is to the community, even if he doesn't always feel like it.

The story is perhaps a bit slow-moving at times, and there aren't any Big Exciting Events -- it's just the story of an unusual kid adapting to school, and the school adapting to him. It covers bullying, both by kids and parents, and also the small act of anti-bullying that end up making a big difference. It does a good job of making an unusual character relatable, and then making the entire community that he lives in relatable.

All and all, this is a good book, and is well worth reading.

Accelerated reader level 4.8.

Won"der (?), n. [OE. wonder, wunder, AS. wundor; akin to D. wonder, OS. wundar, OHG. wuntar, G. wunder, Icel. undr, Sw. & Dan. under, and perhaps to Gr. to gaze at.]

1.

That emotion which is excited by novelty, or the presentation to the sight or mind of something new, unusual, strange, great, extraordinary, or not well understood; surprise; astonishment; admiration; amazement.

They were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. Acts iii. 10.

Wonder is the effect of novelty upon ignorance. Johnson.

Wonder expresses less than astonishment, and much less than amazement. It differs from admiration, as now used, in not being necessarily accompanied with love, esteem, or approbation.

2.

A cause of wonder; that which excites surprise; a strange thing; a prodigy; a miracle.

" Babylon, the wonder of all tongues."

Milton.

To try things oft, and never to give over, doth wonders. Bacon.

I am as a wonder unto many. Ps. lxxi. 7.

Seven wonders of the world. See in the Dictionary of Noted Names in Fiction.

 

© Webster 1913.


Won"der, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Wondered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Wondering.] [AS. wundrian.]

1.

To be affected with surprise or admiration; to be struck with astonishment; to be amazed; to marvel.

I could not sufficiently wonder at the intrepidity of these diminutive mortals. Swift.

We cease to wonder at what we understand. Johnson.

2.

To feel doubt and curiosity; to wait with uncertain expectation; to query in the mind; as, he wondered why they came.

I wonder, in my soul, What you would ask me, that I should deny. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.


Won"der, a.

Wonderful.

[Obs.]

Gower.

After that he said a wonder thing. Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913.


Won"der, adv.

Wonderfully.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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