In Jack’s story, Roger Skunk is anxious to get rid of his smell so that the other animals will not run away from him and will allow him to play. Jack feels personally invested in Roger’s plight, having being bullied as a boy himself, but Roger’s smell comes to mean more to Jack as the story progresses. Jack tries to show Jo that Roger cannot change his smell because it is something that belongs to him—something innately his own—and that, without it, he is no longer recognizable to the people around him. As Jack continues his story, it becomes clear that he views his duty to his wife Clare, Jo and their family in the same way: that familial obligation stays with him like Roger’s unpleasant odor, something that he cannot shake, give up, or change without losing the people that he cares about. Therefore, when Jack tells Jo that Roger chooses to keep his skunk smell out of love for his mother, he is indicting that, like Roger, he remains committed to his family out of a similar sense of obligation, no matter how unhappy or ostracized they make him feel. This comparison casts familial duty in an inherently negative light—something that is as unpleasant, limiting, and alienating as a bad odor. Jo’s reaction to Roger Skunk’s smell shows that a sense of duty and self-sacrifice is something that comes with old age, since she is horrified that Roger is choosing to sacrifice being able to play with the other animals to please his mother. However, that Jack himself feels trapped in his life shows that even some adults never fully come to terms with the feeling of having made sacrifices out of a sense of duty to others.
Roger’s Smell Quotes in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?
“No,” Jo said, and put her hand out to touch his lips, yet even in her agitation did not quite dare to stop the source of truth.