Judy Blume's Blubber novel is a tween saga about the tumultuous relationships and dynamics of a fifth-grade class and their constant need to fill their preteen rage-voids with incessant and traumatic bullying. Revolving around a gaggle of girls who seek the acceptance and affection of their class queen bee, Wendy, Blubber is a harassment-filled adolescent novel that depicts the dark ways young girls torment each other.
The book's narrator, Jill, gets sucked into Wendy's spell and attempts to win her favor. They torment a fellow classmate in an intense combination of senseless verbal, sexual, and physical assaults. Just a few of the things of their list of callous fun are "1. Hold your nose when Blubber walks by. 2. Trip her. 3. Push her. 4. Shove her. 5. Pinch her. 6. Make her say, 'I am Blubber, the smelly whale of class 206.'"
With graphic and extensive descriptions of bullying and foul language, Blubber is on the banned books list of many schools in the US. Giving little reason for the point of Blubber, Judy Blume made its conclusion just as ambiguous as the characters' reasoning behind their actions. In the end, the girls just end up going about their business.
Heavyset Linda Fisher Is Teased And Called Blubber After A School Report On Whales
The book opens with a class of fifth grade kids giving individual school reports on animals. Linda, a heavyset girl, dives into great detail about how whales are stripped of their blubber and what the fatty layer is broken down and used for.
Instigated by the class's queen bee, Wendy, the class begins to pass notes around, teasing Linda about her weight.
After her speech is over and the teacher is out, Linda's classmates begin to tease her at every opportunity. They dub her "Blubber," an insult comparing her to the whale she reported on.
Kids Take Linda's Belonging And Sing Songs About Her Weight, Making Her Cry
During the same day as her report on whales, Linda faces the beginning of physical torment from Wendy and the other students. When she boards her bus to ride home, the students barrage her with the "Blubber" nickname, singing songs about it and scribbling the name across a paper airplane.
The group of girls who always sit in the last row of seats started singing to the tune of "Beautiful Dreamer," "Blubbery blubber... blub, blub, blub, blub..."
During the ride, they take her jacket and toss it back and forth to each other across the aisles. The bus driver does nothing but give the rowdy students empty threats. Linda is unable to stand up for herself against the bus full of teasing grade-schoolers, so she cries, muffling her tears until her stop.
Jill's Halloween Costume Is Based On Linda's Report As A Way Of Teasing Her
Narrator Jill makes some last-minute changes to her Halloween costume, deciding to ditch her mom's old witch outfit and go as something more original. She crafts her own version of a flenser - someone who cuts the blubber off of whales - as a way of teasing Linda. Linda even notices the intent, calling her out before the costume contest:
Oh... a flenser. I'll bet you got that idea from my report.
Jill thinks the joke is so clever, she will win the school costume contest, and she becomes distraught when she does not. She thinks her cruel idea is creative, even though nobody understands what it is.
Lead Mean Girl Wendy Makes Her Friends Strip Linda In The Bathroom To 'Cut Off Her Blubber'
On Halloween, Linda exits a stall in the school bathroom to find Wendy, Caroline, and the narrator, Jill, all in the same spot. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the trio of mean girls team up on her. They make a malicious parody of the act of "stripping" a whale of its blubber as they rip off Linda's Halloween clothes and pull up her skirt. Wendy calls out:
Strip her, flenser! Now! Then we'll throw her cape out the window and she'll have to walk down the hall in her blubbery birthday suit.
After they strip her, they let her go but give her clothes back only after they make her kiss Wendy's. She leaves the bathroom crying.