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The Astronaut helmet is a symbol of hiding and covering. The Astronaut Helmet was given to August by Miranda. August feels like he has to hide himself from everybody else. He hides his face by wearing the helmet all over his town like the grocery store or the mall. August does this because he feels that he is ugly and not normal and he feels that this Astronaut helmet can help him hide.
Shoes are a symbol of the path you take. August always looks down and avoids eye contact so people's reactions aren't as bad as they usually are. While looking at the ground he looks at their shoes to determine their character. For instance, if a person would wear dress shoes to school he would decide that their character is rich or wealthy.
The playground is a common symbol of children and youth. In the first chapter of Wonder August's mentions that he makes kids run away screaming at playgrounds. This makes me feel sympathy for August because no kid would have a lot of self-confidence if they make kids scream and run away. I think R.J Palacio mentioned the playground in the book because she wanted to show how August felt left out and not ordinary.
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