What lessons does Holling learn that are directly related to Shakespeare and the stories he reads in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars?
Two important lessons that Holling learns are the ambiguity of interpretation and the importance of freedom. These lessons come through clearly in his reading of The Tempest, which becomes particularly intensive as he prepares to play the part of Ariel. On his first reading, Holling is sure that Caliban is the antagonist and that he deserves the harsh treatment he has received from Prospero. But Holling develops more sympathy for Ariel as he prepares to play the character. He distinguishes between the two characters in terms of their deserving freedom. Ultimately, he realizes that everyone has the right to freedom and that seeing Caliban only as a villain would require denying him that right. More generally, Hollis applies the idea of resolution to life in general, noting that in real life, a magician such as Prospero is not always available to resolve a crisis. Therefore, we must get used to things not ending happily.
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