Study Guide

Judianne Alexander in Bronx Masquerade

By Nikki Grimes

Judianne Alexander

Judianne is the one character that doesn't change much throughout the story. Sure, she opens up a little, but then she quickly withdraws once others start to see her weaknesses. Judianne isn't super confident about her appearance, but she definitely doesn't want anyone knowing that, so when Janelle tries to reach out to her, Judianne doesn't really appreciate the thought:

"Well, nobody could tell it. You know, I could really get into what you were saying about trying to make yourself over, wishing you could be perfect and all. I mean, I feel like that every time I look in the mirror."

Judianne nodded, and her tight mouth softened a little. She was about to say something, but then a toilet flushed and she realized we were not alone. Sheila Gamberoni came out of the stall, and the minute she did, Judianne slipped back behind her usual scowl and turned mean.

"Look, I am nothing like you, okay?" she spit out. "In case you haven't noticed, you're fat and I'm not. And you're wrong about my poem. It was just words. It didn't mean anything. You got that?" (35.5-7)

Janelle's right—Judianne is feeling the same pressure about her looks that Janelle is. But instead of seeing this as an opportunity to bridge a gap between them, Judianne just doubles down on the cruelty. She knows the truth but refuses to admit that Janelle might be right.

Judianne ends the story just as conflicted about her looks as she is when the book opens. Since she can't even be honest and talk about how she feels, she's arguably worse off than any of the other kids in Mr. Ward's class. Darn, that stinks.