Why did Holling feel responsible for the architecture incident in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt? How did he feel about Meryl Lee's behavior?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Holling Hoodhood and Meryl Lee Kowalski both have fathers who are architects in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, and both men have designed plans in hopes of winning the bid to design a new junior high school. When Holling and Meryl Lee go on a date for Valentine's Day, they talk a bit about Holling's father's plans for the new school building.

Holling had been impressed with his father's rather forward-thinking work when Mr. Hoodhood showed it to him, and now he sketches the design on a napkin. Meryl Lee is so impressed with it, too, that she goes home and shows her father. Neither of the kids thinks anything more of the incident until, on the day of the presentation, Holling discovers that Mr. Kowalski has copied the plans for the building as his own. When the school board sees the innovative and beautiful plan,

[t]he school board was astounded. Three of them applauded.

Mr. Hoodhood is furious and, of course, blames Holling; Holling, of course, is angry and blames both himself and Meryl Lee; Meryl Lee is, of course, upset at her father; and her father finally does the right thing and withdraws his plans from the bidding.

Mr. Hoodhood wins the bid for the new school building, and Holling finally understands that Meryl Lee, like him, did not do anything intentionally wrong. He forgives her. 

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