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Andrew Clements' A Week in the Woods offers readers a lesson against judging a book by its cover. Both Mr. Maxwell and Mark are guilty of judging each based upon their first impressions of the other.
While similar characteristics between the teacher and his student fail to be seen early in the text, they come to be seen as very comparable. Both Mr. Maxwell and Mark enjoy the outdoors. Mr. Maxwell is a science teacher who sponsors a "week in the woods" for his students. Mark, new to the area, loves spending time exploring the land of his home.
Both Mr. Maxwell and Mark come to realize, later in the text, that both have unfairly judged the other. Since both have unfairly judged the other, both make snap decisions about their actions when it comes to confrontations. Mr. Maxwell kicks Mark off of "week in the woods" for possessing a knife (which is not even his). Mark, angry that Mr. Maxwell jumped to conclusions, runs away from the campgrounds. Although Mark comes to forgive his teacher for making snap decisions first, Mr. Maxwell, eventually, comes to understand his own shortcomings.
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