Should Wizard Hit Mommy?


John Updike

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Marriage, Family, and Misogyny

One of the hallmarks of John Updike’s writing is his strong masculine protagonists and commitment to the male perspective. Throughout his career, Updike chose to write through the eyes of working class American men as a way of illuminating how they saw the world. However, because he prioritizes masculinity and maleness as a desired trait, many of Updike’s male protagonists are also latent—or sometimes overt—misogynists, who take their frustrations out on the women in their…

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Duty, Conformity, and Fitting In

“Should Wizard Hit Mommy?” deals with the question of what it means to fit in, and the price one pays for fulfilling one’s duties and conforming to others’ expectations. While Jo (and Roger Skunk) want desperately to fit in, Jack hates conforming to the expectations of domestic life, and wants desperately to escape them. However, while Jo believes Roger will be able to simply change his life with a wave of a wizard’s wand…

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Growing Up and Loss of Innocence

Updike’s story addresses the ways in which children lose their innocence as they grow up, trading an unquestioning sense of wonder for a desire to understand the world around them more fully—often by challenging what they have been told, or by breaking the rules. In “Should Wizard Hit Mommy,” Jack’s fundamental problem with Jo is that he is no longer able to control her and command her attention in the way he used to. As…

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Storytelling and Control

In “Should Wizard Hit Mommy?” the process of crafting a story is as important as the story itself. Indeed, Jack uses the Roger Skunk story to exercise control and decisiveness that he feels like he no longer possesses in his own life, and also to delay helping his pregnant wife, Clare, repaint the living room (and, in the process, delay confronting the fact that his family is about to get bigger). Far from merely…

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