In Wednesday Wars, please explain Holling's father's indifference towards his son and daughter.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Hoodhood is consumed with the idea of getting ahead in business. His values are skewed; he believes that the measure of a man lies in his ability to overcome his competition, by ruthlessly learning to "play for keeps." Mr. Hoodhood is completely controlling; his wife is frightened and ineffective beneath his unscrupulous dominance, and his children must defy him if they want to have any say in the direction their lives will take. Mr. Hoodhood has planned for his son to follow in his footsteps and take over his architectural business, and he scoffs derisively at his daughter's aspirations to take part in the political activism that is changing the fabric of society, and go on to Columbia University after she graduates high school. Mr. Hoodhood, deaf to her pleas, arranges for her to work in his business instead.

Mr. Hoodhood's orientation is completely self-centered. Time and time again he refuses to support his children or help them when they are in need. He does not attend Holling's performance as Ariel, preferring to stay home and watch a Christmas special on television, and will not even come down to the hospital when Holling is hit by a bus, because it is inconvenient. When Holling's sister needs help to get home after her attempt to "find herself" goes awry, he flat out refuses to lift a finger on her behalf. Little reason is given for Mr. Hoodhood's callous attitude towards his children, but as Holling grows in maturity, he considers that maybe his father was not always the way he is. In a show of compassion that is completely alien to his father, Holling wonders if perhaps other people had forced him to take the path he is on, never having given him a chance to choose for himself.

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The Wednesday Wars

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