In her book Blubber, Judy Blume sheds light on the unfortunate reality that is bullying. According to the section “Judy Blume talks about writing Blubber,” Blume got the idea of writing this book after a girl in her daughter’s fifth grade class was bullied by the class leader (who is similar to Wendy).  Like Rochelle, Blume’s daughter was quiet and observant. She did not know what to do about the bullying. Therefore, Blume wrote Blubber with the purpose of encouraging bullied children and bystanders to tell a trusted adult what is going on, and to get children and adults to have more conversations with each other to help each other out. 

Book Summary: Almost everyone in Mrs. Minish’s class, including the protagonist Jill Brenner, picked on Linda Fischer because of her weight. They called her Blubber (a word they learned from her report on whales; blubber is the fat inside a whale), harassed her in the bathroom (37-41), and frequently made her say “I am Blubber, the smelly whale of class 206” (105). Sadly, there was more where that came from. The mastermind behind it all was one of Jill’s friends, Wendy. Her followers were Jill, Tracy, Caroline, and about the rest of her classmates. Later in the book, Tracy pointed out that Jill was following Wendy because she was intimidated by her (150). The tables turned when Jill angered Wendy by disagreeing with her idea to continue the trial without providing Linda with a lawyer (155). Wendy responded by saying that Jill was “turning chicken just like [her] chink friend [Tracy]” (155). After Jill stood up for herself and Tracy, Wendy declared that she will regret being born and then turned the class against her. Jill suddenly knew how Linda felt when she and her classmates bullied her and then changed her ways at the end of the book, starting with befriending Rochelle, the quietest kid in the class. I’m glad you learned your lesson, Jill. There needs to be justice for Linda, though. 

Other examples of bullying that took place in the book were Jill being rude to her little brother and refusing to take an interest in his knowledge of Guinness World Record facts, Miss Rothbelle being unnecessarily harsh towards her students (like seriously, pulling Linda’s hair and banging on Jill’s desk was childish and uncalled for), and Mrs. Minish marking Jill’s math homework wrong just because she solved the math problems differently. Only a monster would stunt a student’s individual thinking. The Worst Teacher of the Year award goes to… Miss Rothbelle and Mrs. Minish! I hope they enjoy the ceremony, where the audience will be throwing rotten tomatoes at them from every angle!

Let’s face it. Bullying is still a problem, and a majority of us dealt with it as kids and teenagers. Even adults deal with it. I was bullied as a child myself. For instance, my classmates would ask me if I was retarded, and they would sometimes steal my lunch. Please comment below your experience with bullying, whether you were the bully, the bullied, the bystander, or the upstander. Feel free to omit anything you aren’t comfortable sharing. Also, be sure to check out the book! Ciao! 🙂 ❤

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