Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

by

John Updike

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Unseen until the final moments of the story, Clare’s presence is felt by Jack throughout the story, as he can hear her moving furniture in the living room under Jo’s bedroom. Clare is six-months pregnant, and is repainting and re-arranging the living room, a task that Jack should be helping with but which he is delaying as long as possible. Jack and Clare’s marriage is not a happy one, and although he does not express his feelings to her directly, Jack has grown increasingly resentful toward his wife, whom he feels continually contradicts and undermines him. Even when Clare is not physically present, Jack feels her derision and disdain reflected in their young daughter, Jo, who is growing to look increasingly like Clare and does things that remind Jack of Clare’s behavior. Ultimately, Jack is not only unwilling to help Clare move their furniture despite her pregnancy, but he is so angry at her that he refuses to even look at her or speak to her. He sees her as the symbol of his own unhappiness and unfulfilled desire.

Clare Quotes in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

The Should Wizard Hit Mommy? quotes below are all either spoken by Clare or refer to Clare. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Should Wizard Hit Mommy? published in 1962.
“Should Wizard Hit Mommy?” Quotes

Sitting on the bed beside her, Jack felt the covers tug as her legs switched tensely. He was pleased with this moment—he was telling her something true, something she must know—and had no wish to hurry on. But downstairs a chair scraped, and he realized he must get down to help Clare paint the living room woodwork.

Related Characters: Jack, Jo, Clare
Related Symbols: The House
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

The woodwork, a cage of moldings and rails and baseboards all around them, was half old tan and half new ivory and he felt caught in an ugly middle position, and though he as well felt his wife's presence in the cage with him, he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything.

Related Characters: Jack, Clare
Related Symbols: The House
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
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Clare Character Timeline in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

The timeline below shows where the character Clare appears in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“Should Wizard Hit Mommy?”
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...of furniture moving downstairs and remembers that he is supposed to be helping his wife, Clare, repaint the wood in their living room. (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...annoys Jack, since he is telling the story for his daughter’s benefit. Downstairs, Jack hears Clare moving more furniture. He notes that she should not be moving heavy things, as she... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Jack does not give Jo a definitive answer, and he goes downstairs to finally help Clare with the furniture. She is halfway through changing the paint color in the living room.... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
...woodwork—“moldings and rails an baseboards”—feels like a cage surrounding him, and that although he knows Clare is in the cage with him, he has no desire to make any kind of... (full context)