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Plot Summary

Blubber, written by Judy Blume, was published in 1974 and is a Contemporary Realistic Fiction. This book is considered a contemporary realistic fiction because while the story is not true, it is something that could happen in modern time. The main character, Jill Brenner, is a fifth grader in Mrs. Minish's class. The book starts off with Jill Brenner sitting in class listening to other students read their reports on animals. Linda Fischer stands up to do her report on whales and that's where it all starts. Wendy passes a note to Jill about Linda that reads "Blubber is a good name for her". Soon the note was being passed around the room and has all of the students laughing. After school on the bus, the bullying begins. The ringleader Wendy gets everyone calling her blubber and they play keep away with her coat. On the side of school, the story talks about Jill's life at home with her little brother Kenny, who she finds extremely annoying. As halloween approaches, Linda wants to be something totally original. Jill soon decides that she wants to be a flenser. A flenser is the person that strips blubber off of whales. The next day at school Jill is disappointed when she doesn't win most original costume at her school. In the girl's bathroom that day Wendy, Caroline, and Jill proceed to bully Linda by striping off her clothes and making her cry. On Halloween night, Jill and her best friend Tracy put rotten eggs in Mr. Machinist's mailbox. Mr. Machinist is a older, grumpy neighbor of theirs. The bullying persists when the girls in the classroom tell Linda she's eating too much at lunch and then the next day Linda brings only saltine crackers and celery. They forced Linda to say "I am blubber, the smelly whale of class 206" constantly, they forced her to kiss a boy, and even show off her underwear. One day a letter was sent to Jill and Tracy's house from Mr. Machinist saying he knew that the girls put the eggs in his mailbox. He threatened that he would call the police unless the girls admitted it and showed him they were sorry. Jill was suspicious that Linda had told on them since she didn't go out on Halloween and observed everything from her window. That weekend, Jill and her family had to attend a bar mitzvah. To Jill's surprise, Linda was also at the bar mitzvah sitting at the same table! Jill's little brother Kenny took a liking to Linda, which made Jill even more mad. The next day at school Jill suggested they have a "trial" to figure out if "Blubber" was the one who told on her and Tracy to Mr. Machinist. Wendy locked Linda in the supply closet so she couldn't leave. Jill tries to stick up for Linda and goes against Wendy by saying that "Blubber" should get a lawyer. Wendy gets mad because she's supposed to be in charge and promises Jill that she will pay for this. Jill Brenner gets a taste of her own medicine the next day at school when she finds that Wendy has turned the whole class against her by calling her B.B. (baby brenner). Jill stands up to Wendy and gets everyone to see how bossy and manipulating she can be. Everyone stopped calling Jill B.B., but she finally understood what it felt like to be in Linda's shoes.



Textual Elements

     The main character of "Blubber" was Jill Brenner. She is one of the fifth graders in Mrs. Minish's class that takes part in the bullying. Linda Fischer  was the student who everybody called Blubber and fell victim to the bullying. Wendy is the bossy ringleader that is head of all the bullying. Tracy is Jill's best friend who is in a different fifth grade classroom. Caroline and Donna take part in the bullying and hang around Wendy for most of the story. Kenny is Jill Brenners little brother who is constantly firing off facts about world records. Jill is constantly annoyed with Kenny.

     The point of view of the book is through Jill Brenner's eyes. You see what it's like to be on both the bullying side and the victim side. The theme of the story is very clear. Bullying other people is all fun and games until the tables turn. Jill Brenner got a taste of her own medicine when Wendy turned all the students on her. Treat people how you want to be treated to put it simply.



Analysis and Critique

     I thought this book was written pretty effectively, depending on how you look at it. I would recommend this book for middle school age students. "Blubber" was, however, one of many challenged books in the 90's. Blubber is listed as number 30 of 100 challenged books from 1990-1999 on the American Library Association website. Why? The characters in "Blubber" use curse words and the cruelty displayed in the book can be a little harsh. Judy Blume said that she based this book off of something that happened similar to this in her daughters classroom. She says that none of it would have happened if the teacher were more aware of her students and the classroom. She acknowledged that some parents did find her book offensive because of the cursing and harsh bullying. While parents may be on the fence about this book, Judy Blume says she knows that the kids understand it. 




Blume, Judy. Blubber. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1974.




"Blubber." Judy Blume on the Web. 15 Dec. 2009 <http://www.judyblume.com/books/middle/blubber.php>.


"1990-1999," American Library Association, July 29, 2009. 15 Dec. 2009  <http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/1990_1999/index.cfm>. Document ID: 553006



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