Should Wizard Hit Mommy Summary and Analysis

Should Wizard Hit Mommy Short Summary

The story, ‘Should Wizard Hit Mommy?’ is based upon a character named Jack who is shown to be the father of two little children and is expecting a third one with his wife Clare. Joanne or as lovingly called Jo, along with her baby brother Bobby always gets a treat in the form of a story from their father. They snuggle on the bed in the evenings or just before afternoon naps for some magical tale which would be weaved from their father’s imagination. The four-year-old Joanne always looked forward to these stories and would listen attentively. The only problem was that Jo was becoming increasingly inquisitive with the stories and Jack was running out of new ideas.

On one such occasion, Jack decided to continue the saga of ‘Robert’ and this time the name of his favourite character was bestowed upon a skunk. As the tale enfolds, the readers are acquainted with Robert Skunk who had a huge crisis in his life because all the other little animals run away from him and none of them wanted to be his friend. This behaviour of theirs was attributed to the foul smell which emanated from his body. The attentive little Jo interrupts her father to ask him if the characters are real or made up. Jack promptly retorts that in the stories they are real. He then continues with his story and describes how Robert Skunk felt awfully lonely and sad because of the stinky smell which drove the other little animals away. He decided to ask the owl what to do and the wise owl advises him to go visit the wizard as only he could find some solution to his problems.

Then Robert Skunk rushes to the wizard who asks him the purpose of his visit and also points out that he smells bad. The little skunk accepts that he smells bad with dismay and begs the wizard to make him smell better with the use of magic. The wizard at once agreed to do so and told the skunk that he would make him smell like roses if he could give him some pennies as payment first. So off the little skunk went to collect the extra pennies for the wizard following his instructions. Afterwards, the wizard fulfils his promise and the skunk is made to smell like roses. He plays with his friends and becomes very happy. The story could have ended here but Jack wanted to add more twist in his tale so he continued. When Robert goes back home to his mommy just before dark, he gets a good scolding from her. She is not happy about her son smelling like roses when he ought to be smelling only like a skunk because he is a skunk. The angry mother takes her son back to the wizard and hits him on the head and makes him reverse his spell. Then Robert Skunk starts smelling bad like a skunk again and they go back home. Jo is upset about this bit as it does not fit in her criteria of a satisfactory happy ending. She demands that the wizard should hit the mommy back and let the poor little skunk smell like roses so that the other little animals continue to play with him. Jack sternly refuses to entertain her demand and goes on with the story. He finishes the tale with an account of Roger’s father coming back home from Boston and they enjoy a delectable meal as a family together. He wishes Jo to understand that the love of family comes over social pressure and that one should never change who they are to please others.

However, little Jo is still concerned about the fate of the skunk and asks her father if the other animals start avoiding him once again. Her father replies kindly that they don’t as they understand that Roger is a skunk who naturally stinks and they should accept him as he is. He tries to quell her restless spirit by bidding her to sleep in her bed. Jack then proceeds to go down the stairs to where his wife was working. Clare comments that it must have been a long story because it took him a while. Gazing upon his pregnant wife hard at work he felt tired and drained and had no wish to join in her efforts. In fact he felt trapped around her and his thoughts betrayed the fact that he believed the marriage was not working out. Perhaps like Roger Skunk he too was overwhelmed by what was expected of him and wanted to escape his problems rather than facing them.

Should Wizard Hit Mommy Analysis

Jack had invented many stories for his daughter Jo but all of them involved a similar plotline. There was always a Roger something – (Roger Fish, Roger Squirrel, Roger Chipmunk) who was always stuck in some kind of a problem. He would be helped out by a Wizard who had magical powers, but would perform it only if the due amount of pennies was paid to him. The Wizard would also give clues to the troubled Roger on where he could find the pennies. Hence, the basic plotline remained unchanged until the problem was solved and Jo got a happy ending. This time was different. Jack hoped to give his daughter a twist in the story which can be interpreted by many critics as a way of escape from the monotony. He had helped create this monotonous ordeal as he knew it was part of his duties towards his family and yet he felt trapped by it. The same could be seen for his marital relationship with his wife. The story ends on a sharp note giving us an insight into Jack’s mind and his surprising thoughts about Clare.

Should Wizard Hit Mommy Explanation: Literary Devices

The author of the story Should Wizard Hit Mommy, John Hoyer Updike writes it from the viewpoint of an omnipotent narrator who is Jack. Although it falls under the category of children’s literature it has adult undertones. The setting and the context of the poem is a regular household where most of the action takes place in the children’s bedroom.

The use of imagery and paradox makes the stories inside the story more colourful and vibrant. It shows Jack’s effort in the creation of these stories and how hard he tries to keep his little daughter entertained. The imageries sprout from an imagination that is repetitive and replete with personification as the animals all have voices and identities similar to human beings. There is an element of curiosity and paradox as the main theme of the story revolves around the question; should wizard hit mommy?

Should Wizard Hit Mommy Character Sketch

The characters in the story are evolved and complicated except for Roger Skunk. Jo as a child of four tests her beliefs against her father’s explanation on why Roger Skunk should not continue to smell like roses. She is a bold child who demands things to be in accordance with society, as at her age gaining friends for play is the most important thing to do. Even as a young one she has the mind of a critical thinker and interrupts her father with questions during his storytelling.


The short story, ‘Should Wizard Hit Mommy?’ was written and published in the year 1950 right after the World War ended. The story raises questions about the moral beliefs in society and what should be accepted as a norm and shouldn’t be. In fact, acceptance of the self is a major factor in the story and it teaches the readers a lesson or two about valuing ourselves just as we are. Human beings have a tendency to act like a flock despite our highly evolved intellects. We should stop to think logically about right and wrong instead of simply following the trend. Just like Roger Skunk, if we remain true to our selves, the others will gradually come around with time and learn to accept us as we are. The story also highlights the importance of family above shallow friends and how we should not get swayed by other people’s perception of us.