Jack and Claire's home, suburbs of Boston, mid-twentieth century
Narrator and Point of View
Close-third person narration, Jack's point of view
Tone and Mood
Through the character of Jack, Updike develops a fatigued and bitter tone to the story, with moments of humor. The story evokes a mood of desperation and stagnancy.
Protagonist and Antagonist
Jack is the protagonist of the story. There is no clear antagonist, but rather antagonistic forces, like the unstoppable passage of time and the stagnancy he feels in his marriage.
The major conflict is that Jack feels exhausted with his domestic life, and his bedtime story sessions, which once acted as a refuge from this life, have been encroached upon by the habits his daughter has learned from the adults around her.
The climax of the story occurs when Jack reveals that Mommy Skunk forces Wizard to return Roger Skunk's odor to him, and Jo insists that Wizard hit Mommy Skunk on the head with his wand.
Updike informs the reader that Claire is pregnant with their third child. He also begins the story by describing Jack's head as being "empty" of any new stories to tell. These details foreshadow an exhausting, repetitive future for Jack and Claire.
Updike uses spare, domestic imagery to render the home of Jack and Claire.
Jack constructs his bedtime stories with a clear parallelism to what he views as an "ideal" nuclear family with clearly defined gender roles.
Metonymy and Synecdoche
Throughout the story, animals are given human qualities or posed in positions that make them resemble human characters.
Should Wizard Hit Mommy? Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Should Wizard Hit Mommy? is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.