What is the main conflict of the book Wednesday Wars?
The main conflict in the book Wednesday Wars is Holling Hoodhood's struggle to grow up. In order to do this, Holling must learn to view things from perspectives other than his own, and, most difficult of all, he must acquire the wisdom to discover his own identity and the courage to stand up to his father.
The book chronicles the development of Holling as he takes a giant step from childhood to maturity. In the beginning of the narrative, Holling is completely self-centered; he perceives everything in his life solely from his own point of view. Holling's growth in this area is evident in his relationship with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. At the beginning of his seventh grade year, Holling is convinced that Mrs. Baker is out to get him. He interprets her every action as part of her schemes to do him in, to the extent that, when it is announced that her husband is about to be deployed to Vietnam, he thinks that her impassiveness is proof of her manipulative nature, and does not even consider that it may be a reaction to her own stress and grief. By the end of the story, Holling is much more able to empathize with others. He has developed mutual, caring relationships with Meryl Lee, his sister Heather, and Mrs. Baker, and his progress is affirmed by his teacher, who recognizes that Holling has the potential to think for himself and "dare to know that (he) may choose a happy ending."
Holling's relationship with his father is characterized by contention. His father is a domineering man who is concerned only with success according to his own shallow value system, and who has his children's futures mapped out for them, brooking no dissent. Holling, who is being groomed to take over his father's business, finally develops the courage to stand up for him after Danny Hupfer's bar mitzvah. Holling's father scoffs at the ceremony they have just witnessed, but Holling stands up for Danny, saying he has become a man. When Holling's father tells him that becoming a man has to do only with getting a good job and learning to "play for keeps," Holling counters by telling him,
"It's not just about a job. It's more. It has to do with choosing for yourself ("June).