What are four main ideas from the last chapter in The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Each chapter in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt covers a month in Holling Hoodhood's seventh-grade year. The last chapter of the novel is June, the month school ends.

It begins with a camping trip, something Mrs. Baker always takes her class on at the end of the year. This is year is different, though, because her husband, who loves camping, is not here with her because he has been declared missing in action in Vietnam. Like every last chapter in a novel, many loose ends are tied up, and here are four that merit discussing.

First, Mrs. Bigio asks Mai Thi to come live with her. This is a significant moment for both of them, as Mai Thi does not have a permanent home in the United States and Mrs. Bigio has overcome her anger and even hatred of the Vietnamese people (including Mai Thi) because she lost her husband in the war earlier this year.

Second, Danny Hupfer finally has his bar mitzvah. While Holling attends to support his friend, Mr. Hoodhood only comes because he feels as if it would be good for business, "sort of like an investment." Holling is moved by the experience, and he sees his friend in a new, more mature way.

He [Danny] sang the words, and he was everyone who had sung them before him, like he was taking up his place in this huge choir and...[it was] God Himself leading the music. You saw Danny covered with weight.

Third, Holling is able to tell his father, for the first time, that he may not want to be an architect as his father expects him to be. After Danny's bar mitzvah, Holling is moved and believes his friend just became a man; his father, on the other hand, says the only thing that makes someone a man is getting a good job and providing for his family--not "by chanting a few prayers." When Mr. Hoodhood asks Holling who he is, Holling is slow to answer.

I felt Heather looking at me. And somehow--I don't know how--I thought of Bobby Kennedy, who could have made all the difference. "I don't know yet," I said finally. "I'll let you know."

This is a huge, frightening, and exhilarating moment for the seventh=grade boy who has always tried to appease his father.

Finally, Tybalt Baker, Mrs. Baker's husband, has been found and comes home. The entire class is waiting with their teacher and is part of his wonderful homecoming. 


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