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Hello! You asked for four examples of Holling Hoodhood maturing throughout 'Wednesday Wars.'
1)Holling's father owns Hoodhood and associates, an architectural firm. He expects his son, Holling, to take over the company when he retires. However, in reading Merchant Of Venice with Mrs. Baker, he comes to see matters in a different light. He realizes that his father may have more in common with Shylock than he knows. He wonders if his father had ever felt trapped in his life, or if he ever had a choice in who he would become. About Shylock, Holling asks
"He isn't really a villain," I said, "is he?"
"No," said Mrs. Baker, "he isn't."
Holling theorizes that Shylock never had a chance to become who he is supposed to be because
...they wouldn't let him. They decided he had to be a certain way, and he was trapped. He couldn't be anything except for what he was...
Holling concludes that he has to choose his own path in life for himself if he wants to realize his true potential. He tries to tell his father that becoming a man is not about following a set of arbitrary rules that have already been decided for him, but about choosing wisely for one's life, and about choosing for oneself the sort of man one would like to be.
2)Holling is excited when Mrs. Baker announces that Mickey Mantle, the famous baseball player, is coming to Baker Sporting Stadium. Holling is playing the part of Ariel in the Shakespeare Holiday Extravaganza on that day; Mr. Hoodhood was supposed to come and pick up Holling to take him to the stadium after the play, but he doesn't show up at all. Holling is forced to flag down a bus and to beg the driver for a ride to the stadium. When he gets there, his hopes are cruelly dashed when Mickey Mantle refuses to sign his autograph.
"You look like a fairy," he said.
"...Listen, I don't sign baseballs for kids in yellow tights."
Holling's hero worship is ground into the dust. He comes to realize that Mickey Mantle is not a very nice person at all, and that sometimes, people are not everything their public personas project: 'When gods die, they die hard.' Fortunately, there are loyal friends who restore our trust in humanity when the chips are down. Danny Hupfer, Holling's classmate, courageously hands his autographed ball back to Mickey Mantle and calls Mantle a 'pied ninny.' They leave together.
3)Doug Swieteck's brother plasters newspaper pictures of Holling playing Ariel all over the school halls, stuffs some pictures into eighth grade lockers, tapes them on classroom ceilings, and basically puts them everywhere people will be able to see them. Holling is humiliated and embarrassed. He thinks he should try going to a military institute to avoid having to show his face around school. When Mrs. Baker tells him that compared to love, 'malice is a small and petty thing,' Holling disagrees. He is so angry that he forgets to choose his words carefully:
"It's not like it's your picture in the halls, or that you have all that much to worry about," I said.
Later, he is horrified at his insensitivity. When Mrs. Baker's husband is announced as missing in action in Vietnam, Holling realizes that the war is very real for those whose husbands are fighting in it. Yet, he also comes to learn that those who wait for loved ones often suffer in quiet courage worthy of emulation. Although Mrs. Baker's eyes are red from crying, she keeps fulfilling her responsibilities to her students. Holling tells us that 'drowning or not, she kept going. She was Mrs. Baker.'
4)Holling learns that all he has been taught about Catholics is wrong: When he enters the St. Adelbert Catholic Church with Mrs. Baker, he realizes that people have been gathering together in the church for a hundred years. He sees that Catholic churches are not just places 'filled with idols and smoking incense that would make you so woozy that you'd give in and start praying on your knees, which Presbyterians know it's not something that should be done.' He comes to realize that the Catholic faith is just as relevant as his Presbyterian one.
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