The Wednesday Wars

by

Gary Schmidt

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Holling's dad, Mr. Hoodhood, is a self-important architect who is extremely concerned with reputations and appearances. According to his worldview, his family exists to make his architecture firm, Hoodhood and Associates, look good. Further, he expects Holling to take over the firm when he's old enough. His pride and joy is the Hoodhood home, called the Perfect House, which he keeps painted bright white and beautifully landscaped. He fills the home with expensive furniture (covered in plastic) and maintains the Perfect Sitting Room to impress visitors. Holling's dad thinks Holling is ridiculous and dumb, and as a conservative, he thinks Heather's liberal politics are also ridiculous. He cares more for his job, his reputation, or the television than any of his family members, including Holling’s mother, who is afraid of her husband. When Holling's sister runs away, Holling's dad refuses to help her, and he works instead of fulfilling his promise to take Holling to the Opening Day Yankees baseball game. Despite his cruelty, Holling's dad does seem to care about his family in some ways: he doesn't want Heather to attend Columbia University in part because it's the center of the student resistance to the Vietnam War, which in his mind means it's dangerous, and he wants her to stay safe. Holling also wonders if his dad actually wanted to be so cruel and callous, or if he only became what was expected of him.

Holling's Dad Quotes in The Wednesday Wars

The The Wednesday Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Holling's Dad or refer to Holling's Dad. 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:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Wednesday Wars published in 2007.
September Quotes

How do parents get to where they can say things like this? There must be some gene that switches on at the birth of the firstborn child, and suddenly stuff like that starts to come out of their mouths.

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Holling's Dad, Holling's Mother
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

"So, Holling, what did you do that might make Mrs. Baker hate your guts, which will make other Baker family members hate the name of Hoodhood, which will lead the Baker Sporting Emporium to choose another architect, which will kill the deal for Hoodhood and Associates […]”

Related Characters: Holling's Dad (speaker), Holling Hoodhood, Mrs. Baker
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
December Quotes

I guess it didn't matter to them that the Bing Crosby Christmas Special was on television tonight, the way it mattered to my parents, who would never, ever miss it. I guess the Hupfers thought that a Shakespeare debut was a whole lot more important than hearing "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" one more time—even though Mr. Hupfer was loosening his tie and holding his hand over a yawn.

Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
January Quotes

"It's not a ridiculous idea because of why Dad thinks it's a ridiculous idea. It's a ridiculous idea because it's military school, and because the next stop after military school is Saigon."

"So?"

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Heather Hoodhood (Holling's Sister) (speaker), Holling's Dad
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mrs. Baker came back, her face was set and hard. "Your father has spoken over the phone with the nurse at the front desk. He has given approval for any necessary procedure, and says that, since everything seems under control, he will be along as soon as may be convenient."

Related Characters: Mrs. Baker (speaker), Holling Hoodhood, Holling's Dad, Mr. Guareschi
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
February Quotes

[…] right then a whole series of low chords sounded from the piano in the Perfect Living Room below us, followed by a roar and crash as the entire newly plastered ceiling fell, smashing down on top of the baby grand piano, ripping the plastic seat cushions, flattening the fake tropical flowers, tearing the gleaming mirror from the wall, and spreading its glittering shards onto the floor, where they mixed with the dank, wet plaster that immediately began to settle into the carpet to stain it forever.

Related Symbols: The Perfect House
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

And that's when something changed. I suddenly wondered if my father was really like Shylock. Not because he loved ducats, but because maybe he had become the person that everyone expected him to become. I wondered if he ever had a choice, or if he had ever felt trapped. Or if he had ever imagined a different life.

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Holling's Dad
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
March Quotes

You know things are bad when the United States Marine Corps is using stethoscopes and divining rods.

Still, the White House announced that the enemy offensive was running out of steam, that casualties at Khesanh were light, that we would never give up the marine base there.

Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:

I was glad he was running for president.

And so maybe, after all, I had done something to make my father mad. Just not out loud.

Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
April Quotes

"The whole world is going crazy," my father said, "and no place is crazier than college. You'll stay at your job and be safe."

Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
May Quotes

For supper, my mother set only three places. She did not cook lima beans. She did not say anything while my father swore up and down […] Didn't she realize that this didn't help his business reputation or his chances for the Chamber of Commerce Businessman of 1968, which that creep Kowalski was trying to steal from him?

Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

"Would you mind not calling me 'Mr. Hoodhood'? It sounds like you're talking to my father."

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Mrs. Baker, Holling's Dad
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
June Quotes

"You think that's how you become a man, by chanting a few prayers?"

"You think you become a man by getting a job as an architect?"

Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wednesday Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wednesday Wars PDF

Holling's Dad Character Timeline in The Wednesday Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Holling's Dad appears in The Wednesday Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
September
Family Theme Icon
...in the south. Holling, however, lives in the exact middle of town in what his dad calls the Perfect House, and he's Presbyterian. This situation, he declares, is a disaster: his... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
After supper, Holling tells his dad that Mrs. Baker hates him. He shushes Holling, as he's in the middle of watching... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...and is dismissive when Holling tells her of his plight. She does sympathize about their dad's reaction, but she suggests he either escape to California or get some guts for Mrs.... (full context)
October
Family Theme Icon
...room but doesn't touch the box. He doesn't complain, especially since in early October, his dad becomes one of two candidates for the Baker Sporting Emporium remodel, and he reminds Holling... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...her mouth and refused to let herself cough, which landed her in the hospital. Holling's dad turns on Holling at dinner on Thursday night and begins asking if he did anything... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling's dad asks Holling's mother to tell Heather that she has a flower painted on her cheek.... (full context)
November
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
November arrives with gray skies and rain. Holling and his dad prep the Perfect House for winter, and Holling's mother discovers a leak in the ceiling... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...the second week of practicing, Holling feels he's perfected several curses. On Tuesday night, Holling's dad and mother knock on the door, but both leave when he say he's practicing a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...advance on his allowance. Holling feels he has a fighting chance when he learns his dad got the Baker Sporting Emporium contract. As his dad dances around the house, Holling asks—and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...to refuse the part, but Mr. Goldman insists. Later, when Holling tries to ask his dad for an advance on his allowance, his dad says that no son of his would... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The next day, when Holling complains to Meryl Lee that his dad is being a cheapskate, especially since he just got the Baker Sporting Emporium contract, she... (full context)
December
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...the feathers will be cute, and nobody from Camillo Junior High will be there. Holling's dad has much the same reaction, though he mentions that Mr. Goldman, of Goldman's Best Bakery,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
On Saturday night, Holling puts on his tights, grabs a new baseball, and his dad drops him off at the theater. Holling lurks backstage and scans the audience for faces... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...floral cape in the wings. Holling grabs it and races for the entrance, where his dad is supposed to pick him up. Holling waits for five minutes in the freezing cold.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...Hupfers drive Holling home. His parents are still watching Bing Cosby's Christmas special, and his dad comments that Holling is done early. He makes Holling assure him that Mr. Goldman was... (full context)
January
Family Theme Icon
...to the town in the last year. Most are people like Mr. Guareschi and Holling's dad, but Holling himself wakes up to find an action shot of him as Ariel on... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
Holling decides to suggest the military institute to his dad at supper. His dad announces that the town decided to build a new junior high... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Heather asks why military school is ridiculous, and their dad says that the Mets just decided to pay a player who can't hit a ball... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
That night, the power outage continues. Holling's mother chain-smokes out a window; his dad furiously sits at the phone fielding calls from people asking if the firm will be... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...parents and insists she'll need to speak to Holling's parents first. Mrs. Baker calls Holling's dad and returns with an angry look on her face. She informs Holling that his dad... (full context)
February
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...Businessman of 1967 award. Holling and Heather gripe about having to wear flowers, and Holling's dad sneers at Heather that this is her chance to be a flower child. When Holling... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...her flower, grinning triumphantly at Holling. Holling sits uncomfortably through dinner and then watches his dad accept the award, still red in the face with anger. When the Hoodhood family gets... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...his family where he can take a girl with only $3.78 to his name. His dad asks Holling who he's taking, and when he ascertains that Meryl Lee is Meryl Lee... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...sit and wait for Mr. Kowalski to pick Meryl Lee up, Meryl Lee imitates her dad's obsessiveness about making the model for the junior high school "classical." Holling explains that his... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
The next week, Holling's dad takes Holling to the meeting where the board will decide which architect will remodel the... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
When Mr. Kowalski is finished, Holling's dad turns to Holling, red in the face with anger, and asks what he did. Holling... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...its bid for the junior high school, and Hoodhood and Associates receives the contract. Holling's dad calls them "chumps," and Holling wonders if his dad is like Shylock and just became... (full context)
March
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...the American effort is going well, and the enemy is running out of steam. Holling's dad just shakes his head, while Heather is silent. Holling keeps an eye out for news... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling runs over the weekend to stay out of the house, as his dad is extremely mad at Heather. His dad wanted to hire an afternoon and weekend receptionist... (full context)
April
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...announces that he's not going to seek another term in office. Holling listens to his dad and his sister argue over who will win, Bobby Kennedy or Richard Nixon. After the... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Before Holling goes to bed, he reminds his dad the next day is Opening Day at the Yankee Stadium, and that he promised to... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling asks how long until Heather goes to college, and his dad states that she won't be going to college. She insists she'll be going to Columbia... (full context)
May
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
On May 3, Holling's dad opens up the Home Town Chronicle to discover that Kowalski and Associates is going to... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling's dad buys a new Ford Mustang the next day. Holling thinks he bought it to comfort... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
The Perfect House becomes quiet, and Holling's dad stops watering the azaleas. His mother stops cooking lima beans, and they all stop talking.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...call him "Holling" rather than "Mr. Hoodhood," as it sounds like she's talking to his dad. Mrs. Baker sits down at Danny's desk, and Holling explains that he doesn't want to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...rest of the afternoon hiding around town, thinking about his sister and hiding from his dad and Mrs. Baker. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...Holling gets a call from his Heather saying she's on her way. He tells his dad and his mother at breakfast on Saturday morning that his sister will arrive in New... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...when they take the train back home, their mother makes burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. Holling's dad asks Heather if she found herself, and Holling answers that she found him. (full context)
June
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...watches Danny step up in front of the full synagogue at his bar mitzvah. Holling's dad even came, as did Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Bigio, and Mrs. Sidman. Danny pulls his prayer... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...not to stay for the party. Holling walks them out to the car, and his dad says that Holling must be glad to not have to do something like a bar... (full context)