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Meryl Lee, in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, is a truly caring person. Holling believes that Meryl Lee has been in love with him since the third grade. Regardless of the truth of this statement, Meryl Lee is very supportive of Holling as a person.
When Holling plays Ariel from Shakespeare's The Tempest in the Shakespeare Holiday Extravaganza at school, Meryl Lee and Holling's other friends are there to support him, though his parents do not attend.
An unexpected catastrophe arises when Meryl Lee and Holling go on a date to see Romeo and Juliet. They talk about the school that is to be built. Holling shares his father's plan for the school on a place-mat that Meryl Lee takes home as a memento. When there is a meeting about the school, Holling's father's plans appear in the hands of Meryl's dad, as if he had come up with them. It is clear that Meryl's father used the place-mat that Holling had written on, and Holling believes Meryl Lee gave the design to her dad.
Holling ignores Meryl Lee because he feels betrayed and is angry; and Meryl Lee comes to school wearing sunglasses. When Holling makes a comment regarding Romeo and Juliet and not "trusting others," he has finally pushed Meryl too far. She tries to explain that she had nothing to do with her father's actions. He does not believe her, so she removes the sunglasses in an attempt to throw them at Holling, and when she does, he sees that her eyes are red from crying—she has been devastated by what has happened, showing that she is trustworthy and really cares not only about Holling, but about how he sees her. Holling comes to his senses and goes to Meryl Lee's house to make peace.
Meryl Lee demonstrates her friendship and caring for Hollis by supporting him, and the suffering she experiences when they fight with one another indicates how deeply her regard for Holling goes.
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