The Wednesday Wars

by

Gary Schmidt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Wednesday Wars can help.
Mai Thi is Holling’s Vietnamese classmate. She came to America the summer before seventh grade thanks to sponsorship from the Catholic Relief Agency. Because of this, on Wednesday afternoons, Mai Thi attends Catechism, even though she's not Catholic. Though Mai Thi struggles to communicate as she learns English, she still manages to make friends with Danny, Meryl Lee, and Holling, and she gives disturbing "advice" to Holling on several occasions. After Mrs. Bigio's husband dies, Mrs. Bigio treats Mai Thi very cruelly, telling her that she doesn't deserve to live in the United States while American soldiers die in Vietnam. Over the next several months, Mai Thi remains very quiet and withdrawn until Mrs. Bigio apologizes and begins cooking Vietnamese food and treats. During Mrs. Baker's end of the year camping trip, Mrs. Bigio invites Mai Thi to come live with her. Mai Thi happily and gratefully accepts.

Mai Thi Quotes in The Wednesday Wars

The The Wednesday Wars quotes below are all either spoken by Mai Thi or refer to Mai Thi. 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.
November Quotes

Everyone—except for Caliban—is happy, and everyone is forgiven, and everyone is fine, and they all sail away on calm seas. Happy endings.

That's how it is in Shakespeare.

But Shakespeare was wrong.

Sometimes there isn't a Prospero to make everything fine again.

And sometimes the quality of mercy is strained.

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Bigio, Mai Thi
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
December Quotes

"Pick it up and be glad you're getting it. You shouldn't even be here, sitting like a queen in a refugee home while American boys are sitting in swamps on Christmas Day. They're the ones who should be here. Not you."

Mai Thi took her Something. She looked down, and kept going.

She probably didn't see that Mrs. Bigio was pulling her hairnet down lower over her face, because she was almost crying.

Related Characters: Holling Hoodhood (speaker), Mrs. Bigio, Mai Thi
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Wednesday Wars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wednesday Wars PDF

Mai Thi Character Timeline in The Wednesday Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Mai Thi appears in The Wednesday Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
October
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...chore—possibly for one more cream puff. When Mrs. Baker walks away, Meryl Lee, Danny, and Mai Thi descend on Holling to find out if he truly got a cream puff. They don't... (full context)
November
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...curses, and the rats race into the radiators and back into the walls. Meryl Lee, Mai Thi , and Danny tell Holling he has ten days to get more cream puffs, and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...and two days later, the paper runs a photo of the Catholic Relief Agency, where Mai Thi lives, with "GO HOME VIET CONG" spray-painted on it. (full context)
December
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
After lunch, Meryl Lee, Mai Thi , and Danny corner Holling to ask about the part in The Tempest. When Holling... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...Holling walks onstage. He looks out at the audience and notices Danny, Meryl Lee, and Mai Thi in the front row—crying. Holling watches a look come over Danny's face and knows that... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...who stop to inspect their meals. On the last day before break, Mrs. Bigio tells Mai Thi to be glad she's even getting food, since the American soldiers should be in America... (full context)
January
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...hot chocolate. Mrs. Bigio walks through the desks allowing the students to each take one. Mai Thi doesn't take one or even look at Mrs. Bigio, and Mrs. Bigio doesn't pause. Mrs.... (full context)
February
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
At school the next day, Holling learns that Danny is taking Mai Thi to Milleridge Inn and then to see Camelot for Valentine's Day. This is an expensive... (full context)
March
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Mrs. Baker continues to conduct class with a business-as-usual attitude, and the class thrives. Mai Thi even becomes the best at diagramming sentences. One Wednesday afternoon, while Holling reads Julius Caesar... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...Mrs. Sidman's lap. Everyone, including the school board, clamber onto desks—except for Mrs. Sidman and Mai Thi , who takes off a shoe and brandishes it at the rats. Mrs. Sidman grabs... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...and Mrs. Sidman becomes a school hero. Students draw pictures of her holding the rats. Mai Thi , on the other hand, fares horribly after standing her ground. Students begin to whisper... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...Vietnamese dessert of fried bananas. When Mrs. Bigio puts a plate down in front of Mai Thi , she apologizes for her cruelty. Mai Thi teaches the class a Vietnamese song about... (full context)
April
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...the front page of the Home Town Chronicle. When spring break rolls around, Holling, Danny, Mai Thi , and Meryl Lee hang out every afternoon at Woolworth's. Heather hangs out with a... (full context)
May
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...that his family will shun him if he messes up even one word. Meryl Lee, Mai Thi , and Holling decide to help Danny by spending every lunch recess listening to him... (full context)
June
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...looks ready to pass out with exhaustion, and Danny declares he's staying up all night. Mai Thi , Meryl Lee, and Holling help stoke the fire and sit with Mrs. Baker well... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...the pots and bring back flat stones. When Holling returns from this task, he sees Mai Thi staring at Mrs. Bigio's ingredients. She asks if Mrs. Bigio is making thit bo kho,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...Lee again wash the pots, and they're still at the river when Mrs. Bigio and Mai Thi arrive to wash the knives. Mrs. Bigio tells Mai Thi that she's late arriving at... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling doesn't sleep that night. He watches the stars and thinks about Mai Thi , Mrs. Bigio, Lieutenant Baker, Danny, and how in five years, he'll have to register... (full context)