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The premise of The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is that the protagonist of the story is stuck at school alone in his seventh-grade classroom every Wednesday afternoon. All of his other classmates are either Catholic and go off to catechism class or are Jewish and go off to Hebrew school; he is a Presbyterian and has no classes to attend.
While these Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, begin rather as chores, they end as delightful and instructive times for Holling. One Wednesday in May, he and Mrs. Baker take a little walking field trip to study the local architecture. On their way back to school, they stop at St. Adelbert's, the Catholic church. For the first time in his life, Holling lights a candle and hopes it is acceptable for him to pray for more than one thing.
I prayed for Lieutenant Baker, missing in action somewhere in the jungles of Vietnam near Khesanh.
I prayed for Danny Kupfer [one of Holling's friends], sweating it out in Hebrew school right then.
I prayed for my sister, driving in a yellow bug toward California--or maybe she was there already, trying to find herself.
He also prays that no atomic bomb will ever fall on Camillo Junior High School, though they prepare for this event with regular bomb drills.
Though this is a new experience for Holling, he is willing to light the candle and say the prayers.
Holling includes several thoughts; in fact, he prays also that he can include so many prayers with just one candle. He prays that an atomic bomb does not drop on any of the "architectural points of interest" in the town. He also prays for Lieutenant Baker in Vietnam, for Danny Hupfer in Hebrew School and for his sister who was driving to California in hopes that she would find herself.
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