Why does Holling have to spend Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt?

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

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In The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, Holling is the only Presbyterian in his class. He used to be one of three, but the other two moved away; now Holling is the lone Protestant in class.

Half the class lives on the north side of town and are Jewish. Every Wednesday afternoon, the Jewish students in Holling's seventh-grade class leave school at exactly one forty-five to attend Hebrew School at their temple, Temple Beth-El.  

The other half of the class lives on the south side of town and they are Catholics. Every Wednesday afternoon precisely at one fifty-five, the Catholic students in Holling's class leave to attend Catechism at Saint Adelbert's Church.

Holling lives

"right smack in the middle of town. Not on the north side. Not on the south side, Just somewhere in between. "It's the Perfect House," [his father] said.

When everyone else leaves for their religious studies, Holling is left alone for the afternoon with Mrs. Baker, his seventh-grade teacher. The title of the novel suggests this will be an important aspect of the novel, but of course these times alone with his teacher begin inauspiciously for Holling. Soon, however, these Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker will change Holling's life. 


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