English 1010 IH1
23 Nov. 2017
The Other Wars
The title of the book, The Wednesday Wars, alludes to the “battle” between young 7th grader Holling Hoodhood and his English teacher Mrs. Baker; when Holling is the only student who does not attend religious classes on Wednesday afternoons, therefore spending that time alone with Mrs. Baker. Though this is the main “battle” of the novel, in class we discussed many other “wars” going on between different characters throughout the progression of the story. The other “wars” implemented by Schmidt in the novel share hidden messages while giving an insight of social life in 1967 through the use of characters and their behaviors.
We talked about a lot of other “wars” going on in this novel in class, but two particular “wars” caught my attention. The Heather vs. Mr. Hoodhood “war” and Holling vs. Mr. Hoodhood “war” are both connected through how Schmidt portrays Mr. Hoodhood’s characteristics. The Heather vs. Mr. Hoodhood “war” first starts as Heather walks in the house with a bright yellow flower painted on her cheek. After a brief exchange of words between the two, Mr. Hoodhood said, “Not unless you want us to believe that you’re a flower child” (Schmidt 35). The “war” between Heather and Mr. Hoodhood revolves mostly around the Vietnam War and the culture in 1967. As the story progresses and finalizes, Mr. Hoodhood still never approves of Heather’s flower child persona, leaving the “war” between the two mostly unresolved with no further message. The
Holling vs. Mr. Hoodhood “war” is also important due to the message Schmidt wants you to interpret through reading the book. This “war” is introduced in the beginning of September when Holling tells his dad that Mrs. Baker hates him. Mr. Hoodhood begins to pile on bad things that will happen if Holling makes the Baker family hate the Hoodhood name and choose another architect. As the year moves along, Mr. Hoodhood continues to blame Holling for things while he never sticks up for himself. Finally, in an exchange between Holling and Mr. Hoodhood after Danny’s Bar Mitzvah, Holling sticks up for himself after Mr. Hoodhood asks who he is. Holling says, “I don’t know yet… I’ll let you know” (Schmidt 261). As we talked about it in class, this novel is a bildungsroman and this “war” is an example of Holling coming of age finally realizing that he can choose his own life. Schmidt used this “war” to leave that message to the readers that you are the one who chooses your life, nobody else. While these two “wars” are different in meaning, I have concluded that due to the combination of these “wars,” another “war” was created between Heather and Holling. After the altercation between Heather and Mr. Hoodhood about her flower child persona, Heather asked Holling why he did not stick up for her, in which he replied, “A flower child? You want me to support a flower child” (Schmidt 37). In the beginning of the book, Holling does not have any...