Study Guide

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Plot Analysis

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Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Two Brothers

The book opens up by introducing us to our fearless narrator, a boy named Peter Hatcher. Peter gives us a glimpse into his family's quirks and conflicts. We meet his father, who works in advertising, and his mother, who has her hands full taking care of two young boys in a small apartment in New York City. And of course, we meet the bane of Peter's existence—his little brother Fudge.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

The Problem With Fudge

Throughout the book, we see Fudge making his brother's life difficult in lots of different ways. He's always going through Peter's stuff, getting him in trouble, and ruining his plans to hang out with his friends. It's obvious that Peter's mounting frustrations with Fudge will only get worse over time, especially since their mom seems to side with Fudge no matter what.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

Mom's Gone

Mr. Hatcher and Peter get a chance to see just how hard watching over Fudge can be when Mrs. Hatcher goes out of town for the weekend. In true Fudge fashion, nothing goes according to plan. Fudge inserts himself into a commercial that his father is working on, disrupts a movie when they go out, and exhausts both Mr. Hatcher and Peter. They're relieved and grateful when Mrs. Hatcher finally comes home again.

Falling Action

R.I.P. Dribble

The trouble isn't over yet. Fudge swallows Peter's beloved pet turtle, Dribble. After that, Fudge has to go to the hospital and everyone fusses over him during his recovery. This just makes Peter more resentful. He's pretty sure that everyone's ignoring the fact that he just lost a pet, and that Fudge was responsible for Dribble's untimely demise.

Resolution (Dénouement)

Puppy Love

Things get resolved at the end of the book after Fudge comes home from the hospital. Peter's parents give him a present, a brand new puppy, to show that they've totally noticed what a hard time he's going through and how good he's been about the troublesome Fudge. Peter decides to forgive and move on, although he names his new dog Turtle in memory of Dribble.

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