Who are some of the main characters in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars? What are the traits of the characters?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two of the central characters in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars are Holling Hoodhood and his father, Mr. Hoodhood. Holling is the protagonist of the story, the character who battles with the conflict of the story and grows as a result. Mr. Hoodhood is the antagonist of the story, the character the protagonist battles against and who tries to prevent the protagonist from reaching his/her goals.

At the start of the story, Holling is a very insecure seventh grader. He feels hated at school and neglected at home. He feels hated at school because he senses Mrs. Baker does not like the fact that Holling will be left alone in her class since he neither attends Temple Beth-El nor Saint Adelbert's on Wednesday afternoons, like all the rest of his classmates; in being unlike the other students, he is taking away what could be a free class period for her. Due to his fears, Holling starts out the story being an insecure coward. However, as the story progresses he becomes much braver. He demonstrates his bravery by playing Ariel in a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, by rescuing his sister, and by standing up to his father in insisting he has a right to choose whom he wants to become, among other acts of bravery. Hence, some of Holling's character traits are insecurity, cowardice, and later bravery.

Mr. Hoodhood serves as the antagonist because he is constantly attempting to thwart his children from experiencing personal growth. As a man obsessed with work, he puts the success of his architecture firm above all else and opposes his children any time he feels they are doing anything that could jeopardize the business. For example, he is determined that Holling should inherit Hoodhood and Associates, making Holling the "Son Who Is Going to Inherit Hoodhood and Associates"; therefore, Mr. Hoodhood's only reaction when Holling tells him Mrs. Baker hates him is to ask what he did wrong to make her hate him, since her hatred could limit Hoodhood and Associate's chances of winning the contract to redesign the Baker Sporting Emporium. In addition to putting his business above his son, Mr. Hoodhood neglects his son in many other ways such as by failing to fulfill his promise to take him to a baseball game, neglecting to go to the hospital when Holling needs him there, and neglecting to support Holling at his first cross-country race. Despite this neglect, Holling manages to grow as a person, even to the extent that he is able to stand up to his father. Hence, some of Mr. Hoodhood's character traits are being self-centered and being very controlling.

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The Wednesday Wars

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