Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on John Updike's Should Wizard Hit Mommy?. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Introduction
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Plot Summary
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Themes
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Quotes
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Characters
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Symbols
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of John Updike
Historical Context of Should Wizard Hit Mommy?
Other Books Related to Should Wizard Hit Mommy?
- Full Title: Should Wizard Hit Mommy
- When Written: 1959
- Where Written: New York
- When Published: June 13, 1959
- Literary Period: Modern American Fiction
- Genre: Short story; semi-autobiographical fiction
- Setting: Jack and Clare’s family home
- Climax: Jo insists that the wizard should refuse to restore Roger Skunk’s terrible smell and should hit Roger’s mother instead
- Antagonist: Jack feels a deep resentment stemming from his obligations to his family. While his family members themselves are not antagonists, Jack’s sense of costly self-sacrifice and confinement in an unhappy home life antagonize him throughout the story.
- Point of View: Third person limited; Updike writes in third person through Jack’s eyes
Extra Credit for Should Wizard Hit Mommy?
Two-Time Winner. John Updike won two Pulitzer prizes for fiction for his Rabbit series. He is one of only three writers to do so, joining Willian Faulkner and Booth Tarkington.
The Feminist Problem. Though universally esteemed for his work, feminist scholars, writers and literary critics challenged Updike for his limited portrayals of female characters in his work and the overt and often violent misogyny of his central male characters. Updike referred to these critics as his “feminist detractors” and did not apologize for his perspectives.
His Greatest Critic. In addition to being a prolific writer of fiction, Updike was also a noted literary and art critic. In a published list of his personal rules for literary criticism, Updike cautions, “Try to understand what the author wishes to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.”