In The Wednesday Wars, how does the ceiling's crumbling in the living room represent more significant problems happening in his household? How is Mr. Hoodhood's relationship "crumbling" with his children?

The crumbling ceiling in The Wednesday Wars is symbolic of the Hoodhood family because both the house and the family look good from the outside but are internally falling apart.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Holling Hoodhood tells readers about his house and family early on in the book, and readers are likely to find that Mr. Hoodhood is not a likable person. He is a bad father for a variety of reason; however, the main reason is probably that he cares more about himself and his own community image than he does the well-being of his wife and kids.

Holling tells readers how he lives in the "Perfect House." It should be noted that the nickname is being used ironically. The house is anything but perfect. The Hoodhood's house is centrally located in town so that Mr. Hoodhood can appear to be neutral and appeal to all audiences. The outside of the house is kept in immaculate condition because that is what everybody sees. The inside is also a tightly controlled environment, but there are hidden issues with the integrity of the house. The crumbling ceiling is one such example. Mr. Hoodhood will even try to have it repaired, and the repair eventually fails.

The house and the ceiling is an appropriate metaphor for the Hoodhood family as a whole. On the surface, the family looks like they have everything together. Mr. Hoodhood is a successful architect, with a wife, a son, and a daughter. They have the "perfect" family; however, that family is falling apart from the inside. Heather Hoodhood is becoming quite the rebel, and rather than engage with his daughter, Mr. Hoodhood either distances himself from her or threatens her. He won't even bring himself to rescue her when she finally reaches out for help. Mr. Hoodhood doesn't support Holling either and will frequently not show up to help Holling in various ways. Thankfully, Holling has Mrs. Baker, because his family life is a crumbling, dysfunctional mess, similar to the ceiling in the Perfect House.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial