What are interactions like between Holling and Doug Swieteck's brother in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout The Wednesday Wars, though Doug Swieteck's brother is described as a juvenile delinquent bully, Holling emerges triumphantly in all of his interactions with Doug's brother.

The first time Holling emerges triumphantly is when he has to face Doug Swieteck's brother in a soccer game at recess in the opening chapter of the book. The brother is playing forward against Holling, who must play defense. When he sees Doug Swieteck's brother charging him with the ball, Holling first tries to stand his ground, but then flees. He says he leaves his "right foot behind," though. Doug's brother trips over Holling's foot and flies like a missile through the air, crashing into the metal frame of the goal post. Everyone congratulates Holling for taking out Doug Swieteck's brother, even though Holling didn't trip him on purpose.

Another time Holling emerges triumphantly is when Doug Swieteck's brother tries to humiliate Holling by plastering the town's schools with the picture from the front page of the newspaper depicting Holling playing Ariel in The Tempest, dressed in his costume of bright yellow tights decorated with feathers on the backside. Within the same couple of days that the brother goes around taping the picture up all over the town's schools, Holling is also photographed being injured while rescuing his sister from a bus sliding out of control on the icy road. This picture is also featured on the front page of the newspaper, and Holling arrives at school the next day to find someone replaced all his humiliating pictures with his new heroic picture, making Holling triumphant over Doug Swieteck's brother once again.

Read the study guide:
The Wednesday Wars

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