Study Guide

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Isolation

By Judith Viorst


[Illustration on page 3: Alexander stands alone]

One of the great ways that this book communicates is through the pictures. And that's not just for the youngsters who can't read the words. In this one, Alexander stands in the middle of the page, his hands crossed, with no background and just a little shadow to show depth. Visually, he is surrounded by nothing—just the white background of the page itself. No people around…not even the intricate details that formed the background in the previous illustrations. It's as if the whole world has left.

No one even answered (4; 17)

Alexander narrates this unfortunate response twice in the book. When he's finally able to voice his feelings about the day, or ask for help, he gets nothing in response. Poor guy. It must be like being invisible.

[…] and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me (13)

Part of being isolated is a sense of detachment, or standing out from the crowd. The problem is, it could also feel like being the victim. While everyone else in the world (or, um, two people) have perfectly healthy teeth, the heavens decided to single out Alexander and dump a big fat rain cloud on top of his gum-chewing, sugary-cereal-eating lifestyle.