Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

by

John Updike

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The Wizard Character Analysis

The Wizard is the character in Jack’s stories who usually presents the solution to whatever problem Roger is facing. He does this by performing a magic spell that reverses Roger’s predicament, making Roger very happy. In the story of Roger Skunk, however, the wizard is the antagonist, changing Roger’s scent against the wishes of Roger’s mother, and therefore altering one of Roger’s innate biological traits. The wizard also proves a divisive character for Jack and Jo. Jo believes that the wizard’s actions were justified, and therefore he has every right to hit Roger’s mother and refuse to reverse his spell. Jack, on the other hand, sides with Roger’s mother and believes that the wizard should reverse the spell to make Roger’s mother happy. In this way, the Wizard represents a sense of freedom from obligation, as he enables Roger to do the things he wants to do without regard for the consequences or his family’s feelings. Too young to have her own sense of personal duty, Jo is unable to understand how the Wizard could be wrong, but Jack, who sees himself as having compromised many of his goals and much of his freedom out of a sense of duty, knows that the wizard cannot win.

The Wizard Quotes in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

The Should Wizard Hit Mommy? quotes below are all either spoken by The Wizard or refer to The Wizard. 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

“Are magic spells real?” This was a new phase, just this last month, a reality phase. When he told her spiders eat bugs, she turned to her mother and asked, “Do they really? and when Clare told her God was in the sky and all around them, she turned to her father, and insisted, with a sly yet eager smile, “Is He really?”

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Jack, The Wizard
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

The wizard's voice was one of Jack's own favorite effects; he did it by scrunching up his face and somehow whining through his eyes, which felt for the interval rheumy. He felt being an old man suited him.

Related Characters: Jack, Jo, The Wizard
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
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Should Wizard Hit Mommy? PDF

The Wizard Character Timeline in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

The timeline below shows where the character The Wizard 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
Growing Up and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...a problem. Roger goes to the wise owl, who in turn sends him to the wizard who performs a spell and fixes the problem and makes Roger very happy. Roger then... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...upset over Roger Skunk’s problem, and she begs Jack (and Roger) to go see the Owl for advice. Jack is pleased that the story is making Jo so anxious and he... (full context)
Growing Up and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...of his smell. Before Jack can continue, Jo interjects that Roger should go see the wizard. Jack scolds Jo for interrupting, and asks her if she would like to tell the... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Growing Up and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
Jack concedes to Jo, telling her that Roger does indeed pay a visit to the wizard. Jo is still unsatisfied, and she asks her father whether magic spells are real. Jack... (full context)
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
Jack continues the story, explaining that Roger Skunk journeyed through the woods to visit the wizard’s house. Jack does an impression of the old wizard, which is his favorite part of... (full context)
Growing Up and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
Roger explains to the wizard that all the other animals run away from him because he smells. The wizard invites... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Jack explains that Roger decided he wanted to smell like roses and that the wizard did a spell to make it possible. When he recites the spell for Jo, Jack... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
Jack explains that the wizard asks Roger for four pennies as payment for the spell. However, Jack misspeaks and says... (full context)
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...mother, she is repulsed by his scent and demands that he go back to the wizard and get changed back. Jo is horrified with the twist, since Roger’s old smell made... (full context)
Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In  Theme Icon
Jo does not accept this change in the story. She demands that the wizard refuse to change Roger back and instead hit his mother on the head himself. Sensing... (full context)
Marriage, Family, and Misogyny Theme Icon
Growing Up and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Storytelling and Control Theme Icon
...stops him and explains that she wants a story the next day in which the wizard hits Roger’s mother on the head instead of the other way around. Unsettled, Jack explains... (full context)