The Wednesday Wars

by

Gary Schmidt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Wednesday Wars can help.

Sycorax and Caliban Character Analysis

Sycorax and Caliban are Mrs. Baker's pet rats, given to her by Lieutenant Baker back when the rats were babies and still cute. In the present, they're huge, scabby, and have yellow teeth. Holling thinks they look possessed, and everyone is terrified to go near them. The rats escape in October and spend much of the school year living in the walls and the ceiling of Mrs. Baker's classroom. After several months, the exterminator is called to get rid of the rats, but even he is afraid of them. Finally, after chasing Holling across the tennis courts, the rats are hit by a bus.
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Sycorax and Caliban Character Timeline in The Wednesday Wars

The timeline below shows where the character Sycorax and Caliban 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
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...invoke Shakespeare to torture students. Before they can start, however, she asks Holling to clean Sycorax and Caliban's cage. Sycorax and Caliban are pet rats. They were cute babies when Lieutenant... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
Mrs. Baker tells Holling to dig out a small cage, transfer Sycorax and Caliban to it using food as a lure, and then clean out their large... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...they look demonic, and he tries to shove the cages back together. Mrs. Baker shrieks, Sycorax leaps at Holling's thumb, and Holling jumps away. Mrs. Baker jumps onto a desk as... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...The rats prove uncatchable: they snarl and howl and retreat into the radiators, right after Sycorax abandons her found cream puff. Before long, Mr. Vendleri, Mrs. Baker, and Holling hear the... (full context)
November
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...the afternoon, Mrs. Baker gives Holling a 150-question test on The Tempest. Holling listens to Sycorax and Caliban in the ceiling as he works and hands his test in with five... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...everyone heads back inside. When they get to the door of the classroom, they stop: Sycorax and Caliban are in the cream puff box, covered in powdered sugar and vanilla filling.... (full context)
January
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...so the students huddle in their coats using the light from the windows. Holling hears Sycorax and Caliban in the walls and wonders if they're going to attack. Mrs. Baker and... (full context)
February
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...problems as well: it now sags and bulges in places as a result of housing Sycorax and Caliban, who are still at large. (full context)
March
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Sycorax and Caliban don't show up, and Mr. Vendleri successfully replaces all the ceiling tiles. Holling,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
...scene from Julius Caesar near the end of the hour. At the most dramatic part, Sycorax and Caliban drop out of the ceiling tiles and right onto Mrs. Sidman's lap. Everyone,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Reading and Learning Theme Icon
By the time cross-country tryouts roll around that afternoon, the entire school has heard about Sycorax and Caliban. Instead of canceling tryouts, Coach Quatrini insists that the students' fear of the... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...hears a scream and the sound of the cage dropping. He looks back and sees Sycorax and Caliban, murder in their eyes, racing towards him. Holling runs faster as the rats... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
Holling's mad dash from Sycorax and Caliban sets a record, and he makes the varsity team. The story of the... (full context)