Samah Syed
Miles Tittle
February 15, 2017
Should Wizard Hit Mommy Essay #1

The controversy between nature and nurture has been an on-going debate for several years. Nature provides with inborn abilities, traits as well as genetic material. What is predetermined by our nature cannot be altered by nurture. On the other hand, nurture takes these genetic tendencies and brings them out as a learning process through maturity. Nurture is a combination of schooling, environmental factors and the influence of authority such as parents. Through the controversial debate of nature vs. nurture, Joanne feels pressurized to be under the influence of authority of her father Jack since he felt these stories were meant to teach his children morality.
Both children and parents need to learn to be inclusive, appreciating diversity and creativity, and not imposing ideas on each other and building up a culture of mutual respect, and tolerance. In the short story written by John Updike, Should Wizard Hit Mommy, the story delivers a specific message to the daughter, namely that parents know what is best for their children because parents love their children the most. One of the important moral issues in the lesson stems from the fact that while Jo is not able to appreciate Jack's point of view and Jack is not able to appreciate Jo's perspective.
Jack needs to appreciate the fact that his daughter is growing up and that she is bound to have her own individual ideas, and thus he shouldn't impose his worldview on her. A lot happens during the story that makes Jo feel terrified; this happens when she sees the story taking up a turn in the wrong direction. She interrupts Jack frequently and he scolds her with words like, "Now, Jo. Daddy's telling the story. Do you want to tell Daddy the story?" (Updike, 50) Jack apparently "didn't like women when they took anything for granted; he liked them apprehensive, hanging on to his words" (Updike, 53). Jack would have been able to impress upon his daughter the moral validity of his story if he had been more tactful and flexible while telling his story. He could have listened to Joanne's perspective and then could have explained to her the moral basis of his ending the story with Mommy hitting the Wizard rather the other way round.
Joanne's belief that it is all right for the Wizard to change the smell of Roger Skunk to that of roses while Jack believes that changing the skunk's smell to that of roses was not right. It was not right for Roger Skunk to smell of roses, because that was not how nature wanted him to be he would lose the identity that he had as a skunk, his mother would not recognize him as her own son, and of course his friends wouldn't be with him all the time (Updike, 53).  What mattered most was to have friends and at the same time retain the love and affection of his mother (without losing the identity that nature had given him). Although Joanne wants Jack to tell her a story which justifies altering the way, nature has made roger Skunk to be, Jack reminds her how, even after Roger Skunk continued to smell awful, the other children became used to it and became his friends, and Roger's mother told him that he "smelled like her little baby skunk again and she loved him very much" (Updike, 54). What Jack wanted his daughter to understand was that, "the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals and she knew what was right" (Updike, 54). He wants to tell her that it is not right for the Wizard to hit Mommy. Roger's mother knew what was best for him and that Roger did love his mother more than he loved his friends. Her wisdom prevailed in the end and Roger Skunk stayed a skunk.
The core issue here is whether it is morally right for a child to think so badly about one's mother, one's elder that she wants wizard to hit her. Jack could have listened to Joanne's perspective and then could have explained to her the moral basis of his ending the