Summer Reading Project
Written By: Ashley Evans Wednesday Wars By:Gary Schmidt
The "Wednesday Wars" is about a boy named Holling Hoodhood and at his junior high school, they have a tradition of some sort. Basically every Wednesday, the Catholics go to St. Adelbert's and the Hebrews go to Temple Beth-EL. The problem is that Holling is Presbyterian so he has to stay with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, and...clean. I will tell about five events of the story that help you understand Holling a little better.
On the very first day of school Holling thinks that Mrs. Baker hates his guts. This is all because she eyes him the whole period after telling her that he isn't Catholic or Hebrew. When Holling tells his dad, who is an architect, about Mrs. Baker his dad tells him that Mrs. Baker happens to own "Baker Sporting Emporium". He also puts in that they may need a good architect so he better make sure everything is okay. So on that following Wednesday when Mrs. Baker tells him to start cleaning, does he dare complain? Noooo, Holling keeps his mouth shut the entire time he washes the windows; and that's how he finds himself cleaning and running errands every Wednesday for Mrs. Baker.
After suffering through weeks of "slavery", Mrs. Baker announces that today will be the last day any more labor duties and instead they'll spend their time "more efficiently". Anyway he's ordered to bring 12 dozen cream puffs upstairs for a group that's meeting later on. He sets them on the windowsill and is ordered to leave the window open. Now he has to beat the chalk out of erasers. He goes outside and starts to beat them without a care, until he notices that the dust gathers and floats up. In fact, it floats all the way up to his classroom window...(window,hmm there's something about that window). He runs back into the school, up the stairs, and into his classroom. Unfortunately, he finds a layer of dust lightly coated atop the cream puffs. Mrs. Baker comes right at that moment and takes the cream puffs to her car, not even noticing the "extra coating" on the cream puffs. She gives one to Holling as a reward for carrying out his duty and takes them to a meeting. At the meeting, the women find that the cream puffs are horrible. Word gets out about the puffs and the next day at school, Holling's classmates are all on him because they think that since Holling got a cream puff, they should get one too- including the entire class.
Shakespeare to the Rescue!
While Holling tries to figure a way to payback his class with cream puffs, Mrs. Baker has big surprise for Holling as well. The following Wednesday, Mrs. Baker hands him a very thick book full of Shakespeare plays. They read the first play together to make sure he's following along and then the next one he has to read by himself. As he reads on, he finds out that Shakespeare actually has a point to his stories, but he can also be wrong about a few things too. Now back to the cream puffs, Holling collects all the money he can find and goes to the bakery. When he orders 22 cream puffs, he finds that he's $2.80 short. It just so happens that the baker rambles on about people not taking delight in Shakespeare anymore. Holling shouts that he knows some, quotes some, and they make a deal. Holling has act in the play that the baker is putting on, and the baker will pay for the $2.80. It sounds like good deal to Holling until the baker pulls out a pair of yellow tights with feathers on the...on the...uh...on the butt. Holling agrees on the deal since this is probably the only way he won't get beat up. So now Holling's classmates are happy while Holling is miserable.
So now let's fast forward to a few days before the play. Mrs. Baker announces that a famous Yankee baseball player, Mickey Mantle, is signing baseballs and giving out other autographs! The problem is that the play doesn't end until the last thirty minutes of the signing. So after being spectacular on the stage in his play, Holling gets on the closest bus to the Baker Sporting Emporium. He gets there a few minutes before closing, rushes in, and hands his baseball to Mickey Mantle. Mickey just simply looks at him and says, "Look I don't sign baseballs for kids in yellow tights. It's past 9:30, I'm done." He then does the unthinkable, he tosses Holling's ball onto the floor and leaves. Holling' world is crushed in two. Fortunately the owner of the store saw the whole scene and his name is Mr. Baker who is the brother-in-law of Mrs. Baker. He has connections with the Yankee baseball team and sends Holling a nice surprise at school, one that's better than Mickey Mantle. The next Wednesday two other boys are allowed to stay with Holling for the afternoon instead of going to church. Mrs. Baker leads them to the gym where they find three other Yankee baseball players to throw with! So it all turns all out well for Holling in the end.
Holling's appearance in the play gets in the local newspapers and out in the schools. When he gets to school everyone stares at him, some stare in awe and some just look blankly at him. At the high school someone pinned the picture of him on his sister's locker. She' embarrassed and upset at her brother because she doesn't want anyone to know they're related. It's winter and they happen to get tons of snow this year, but they still have to go to school even though the weather could cause accidents. So now the air is cold and the roads are slippery, but we still have buses driving one the ice. Then as the buses are leaving, some start to slide into the next lane right where his sister is walking on the street. Holling runs and pushes his sister out of the way of the bus and the bus hits him instead. Mrs. Baker, Mr. Guareschi (the principal), and his sister. The thing touches him is that his sister crying because she cares about his health. They get to the hospital and since the bus his butt, he's just going to be bruised.
I hope that now you can understand that Holling justs wants to make everyone happy, but sometimes by doing that he finds himself facing other conflicts. For example, when he bought those cream puffs for his class, he found himself wearing yellow tights in a play. When he pushed his sister out of the way of a sliding bus, he ended up with a good bruise on his backside. Even when his dad told him to keep things good between him and Mrs. Baker for a good architect deal, he still found himself suffering. To me, this shows that Holling is a real hero who sacrifices just to make everyone happy. That's why I chose these events to prove that Holling is really a good person without even knowing it. I also think that he impacted a lot of people who misjudged him. His sister thought he was just an annoying little brat, but it turned out that he saved her life. Mrs. Baker learned how he felt about life through Shakespeare. In return, she went out of her way just to make hime happy. So basically, Holling's changing his circumstance or environment without even knowing it. I enjoyed this story and it's silly, but realistic conflicts.