The Wednesday Wars

by

Gary Schmidt

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The Perfect House Symbol Analysis

The Perfect House Symbol Icon

The Perfect House, the pure white Colonial-style house where Holling lives, symbolizes the Hoodhood family’s dysfunctional dynamic. Holling’s father, who nicknamed the house, does everything in his power to make the home appear perfect—even going so far as to keep the furniture, especially in the formal “Perfect Living Room," covered in plastic. However, the Perfect House, like the Hoodhood family itself, only appears perfect to outsiders. Although the Hoodhood family seems ideal, Holling's dad is cruel and selfish, while Holling’s mother is scared and unwilling to stand up to her husband. As the novel progresses, the house gradually changes to reflect this dysfunction. For example, on the night that Mr. Hoodhood is going to be named Chamber of Commerce Businessman of 1967, the ceiling of the Perfect Living Room collapses, exposing mold and disgusting, permanent damage that had been invisible from the outside.

The Perfect House Quotes in The Wednesday Wars

The The Wednesday Wars quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Perfect House. 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.
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:
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The Perfect House Symbol Timeline in The Wednesday Wars

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Perfect House appears in The Wednesday Wars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
September
Family Theme Icon
...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 two Presbyterian friends... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...as usual, that the sidewalk squares become perfectly white and uncracked as he approaches the Perfect House . The azalea bushes outside are perfect, and the symmetrical windows make the house look... (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 of the Perfect Living... (full context)
January
Family Theme Icon
...Holling is settled, Mrs. Baker heads for the hospital. She drops Heather off at the Perfect House to inform Holling's parents of what happened, and she ushers Holling into the emergency room... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Vietnam War and Political Unrest Theme Icon
...X-rays Holling's hips and proclaims him fine but bruised. Mrs. Baker drives Holling to the Perfect House , where Holling's mother thanks her for bringing him home. Holling finds the late edition... (full context)
May
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,... (full context)