Understanding the Dynamics of Normal and Abnormal Behavior in ‘Define “Normal”‘ by Julie Anne Peters Essay

Words: 733
Pages: 3
Subject: Literature

Assignment Question

In the book,”Define “Normal” “, I want you to write 4 paragraphs, about Antonia and Jazz. For the first paragraph write about the hook and then talk about it include the background and your thesis statement. For body paragraph 1 you would write about Antonia you have to write a normal thing they did and 2 abnormal things they did. For Body paragraph 2 for Jazz, you write one abnormal and 2 normal. Then for the last paragraph which is your conclusion, you do a thesis statement, summary and end thoughts.



Julie Anne Peters’ “Define “Normal”” is a compelling exploration into the lives of two teenage girls, Antonia and Jazz, unraveling their distinct personalities and behaviors against the backdrop of societal norms. The novel provocatively questions the rigid definitions of what is considered normal behavior in contemporary society. This paper aims to delve deeper into the characters of Antonia and Jazz, critically analyzing their actions and behaviors within the context of the storyline. By examining their individual traits and the societal constructs shaping notions of normalcy, this analysis seeks to offer a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between personal experiences and societal expectations regarding what is considered normal or abnormal.


Antonia, a central character in “Define “Normal””, embodies a spectrum of behaviors that challenge conventional norms. In terms of normal actions, she engages in activities typical of her age, such as participating in sports and maintaining a social circle. However, Antonia deviates from societal expectations through her unconventional mode of self-expression, often adorned in vibrant makeup and non-traditional attire, defying stereotypical notions of appearance and conformity. This aspect of her character presents a subtle rebellion against the standard norms of teenage presentation. Moreover, Antonia’s sporadic truancy and the complexities she faces within her family, especially her father’s absence, contribute layers to her behavior that deviate from societal norms, depicting struggles beyond the ordinary teenage experience.


Jazz, in contrast to Antonia, showcases a different blend of behaviors in “Define “Normal””. Her adherence to regular school activities, engagement in extracurricular pursuits, and shouldering responsibilities for her younger brother during her mother’s absence align with conventional expectations of a responsible teenager. However, Jazz’s abnormal behavior becomes evident through her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, concealed from the outside world. This departure from the expected composed demeanor marks her behavior as atypical, reflecting the inner turmoil that contradicts her seemingly normal external life. Her efforts to maintain a facade while managing significant familial pressure add depth to her character, exposing layers that challenge typical expectations of composure in adolescence.


The characters of Antonia and Jazz in “Define “Normal”” serve as conduits for a nuanced examination of the ever-evolving definitions of normal and abnormal behaviors. The narrative encourages readers to rethink and reassess the conventional parameters of what constitutes normalcy. It prompts an exploration beyond superficial judgments, highlighting the fluid and context-dependent nature of defining normal and abnormal behavior. “Define “Normal”” acts as a mirror, reflecting the intricate layers of human behavior and experiences, urging a more empathetic understanding of the complex interplay between personal realities and societal norms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is “Define “Normal”” by Julie Anne Peters about?

“Define “Normal”” is a young adult novel by Julie Anne Peters that revolves around the lives of two teenage girls, Antonia and Jazz, who come from contrasting backgrounds. The narrative explores their interactions as they participate in a counseling program and grapple with the complexities of societal expectations and individual realities.

Who are the main characters in “Define “Normal”?

The two central characters in the novel are Antonia and Jazz. Antonia is portrayed as an expressive and rebellious teenager, while Jazz is depicted as a responsible and composed individual dealing with inner turmoil.

What are some typical behaviors exhibited by Antonia in the novel?

Antonia engages in typical teenage activities such as participating in sports, maintaining friendships, and occasionally attending school. However, she defies societal norms with her unconventional mode of self-expression through vivid makeup and non-traditional attire, challenging conventional expectations of appearance and conformity.

What abnormal behaviors does Antonia exhibit in “Define “Normal”?

Antonia showcases abnormal behaviors through sporadic truancy and her struggles with familial issues, particularly her absent father. Her unconventional choices in appearance and occasional non-attendance challenge the stereotypical notions of a typical teenager’s life.