How does Holling describe to his friends the character and costume of Ariel in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt?

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

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Holling Hoodhood is the seventh-grade protagonist in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars. He is the only Protestant in class, so on Wednesday afternoons when his Catholic and Jewish classmates are taking their religious instruction, Holling and Mrs. Baker have been studying Shakespeare's plays. 

While this is not a particularly popular thing to study, Holling enjoys it. In a chance conversation with Mr. Goldman, owner of the local bakery, and almost before he knows it, Holling has agreed to be part of the Long Island Shakespeare Company's Holiday Extravaganza. He does not plan to tell anyone about this activity, and he is even more convinced to keep the news to himself after he picks up his script. He will be playing the role of Ariel in The Tempest. He explains:

Ariel is a fairy. A fairy! Let me tell you, is is not a good thing for a boy from Camillo Junior High to play a fairy.

Immediately Holling tries to tell Mr. Goldman that he will not be able to play Ariel, and then things get even worse: Mr. Goldman gives Holling his Ariel costume.

[He] handed me a pair is bright yellow tights with white feathers on the ...well, I'll let you guess what part the white feathers were attached to.

When the very worst thing happens and the principal announces the play over the loudspeaker--and Mrs. Baker offers extra credit to any of Holling's classmates who attend--Holling starts to get questioned. He lies and tells them that Ariel is a not a girl's name, as they all seem to think, and Ariel is a warrior. When they assume he will be wearing "armor and stuff like that," Holling just repeats "stuff like that." He lies by omission, telling them nothing about his yellow tights with the white feathers on his rear end.

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