|The Strict Teacher|
|Occupation||Headmaster/teacher at Rose Garden Orphanage|
|Voice actor||Ian Thompson|
|“|| You dirty wretch... Why are you always trying to get out of work? Can't you do your job like all the other children?
He constantly frowns upon the children's mischievous activities, but does not give a second thought to whether or not he should help the children who are being picked on. He seems oblivious to the existence of the Red Crayon Aristocrat Club.
He also notably dislikes Jennifer, blaming her for the children getting out of control, despite that it wasn't really Jennifer's fault and the orphanage children were inherently dark inside. He also thinks poorly of her because she was often late and didn't care about being scolded for not doing her assigned chores. Jennifer admits this is true and she was lazy to a degree, as she just didn't care and see the value in trying to make the orphanage as clean as possible - the exception being laundry as she likes clean clothes.
Hoffman is theorized to be a "pedophile", which generally refers to pre-pubescent children. However, he is probably a hebephile or ephebophile instead which refers to teenage children, due to his suggestive behavior toward two of the teenage girls at the orphanage (Diana and Clara). It is never actually confirmed that Hoffman sexually abused the girls, and it is still possible that Hoffman never laid a finger on the girls in such a way, but the implications are still strong.
He disappeared along with Martha Carol and Clara. It is unknown what happened to him when he left the orphanage in November as he wrote in his diary. He wrote, "I'm leaving the orphanage. Clara's here to look after things, and the children are quickly growing up. I've done right and fulfilled my duty. Bloody hell! All the trouble started when that wretched child arrived... I've done nothing to deserve this!"
It is most likely that he abandoned the children at the orphanage, however, there is a slim chance that the Red Crayon Aristocrat Club may have murdered him, as well as Martha. It is also possible Hoffman became too scared of the Red Crayon Aristocrat Club, who were becoming increasingly sadistic, and left. Hoffman was absent when Gregory M. Wilson (Stray Dog) murdered the orphans the following month.
In the Once Upon a Time chapter, Jennifer comments Hoffman used to be a "kind and admirable teacher," though he supposedly made a transition into a cranky and perverted man in the time that Jennifer was at the orphanage. Because of the chapter's reflective atmosphere, it is possible that Jennifer is trying to remember the positive side of him.
Jennifer comments, "That day, Mr. Hoffman disappeared, like he was running away from something. He had tried too hard to be someone he wasn't. The expectations were too much for him... and he wanted to escape those restrictions. However, children and adults live in the same world, and we must both play by society's rules."
It can be theorized that Hoffman truly wanted to be an admirable teacher and assistor/helper of unfortunate children, but his possible fetishes got in the way of it, and it was too difficult to "keep up the hero act" due to his possible feelings of shame and guilt, so he left.
Rule of Rose
During the game, when the opportunities to talk to him arrive, he either insults Jennifer or complains about her, constantly telling her she has to stop playing truant when it comes to chores.
In the "Sir Peter" chapter, he is seen bound to a chair by Imps and walking in a abnormal way. Later on, he then becomes a boss battle. His boss battle is notorious as it is quite difficult (some players even ragequit), mainly because he is very unpredictable, often retaliates when attacked, has a surprisingly wide range, hits Jennifer hard in rapid succession, etc. Even attacking him from behind is dangerous. Hoffman will try to leap on Jennifer and attack her with his stick.
As for the strategy, there really isn't a fool-proof one. There are some tips:
- If you're playing on an emulator, consider using a widescreen hack. The extra field-of-view on the left and right side of the screen can help immensely when figuring out where Hoffman is. Also, consider using save states.
- Stocking up on health items before the boss helps a lot, so explore the chapter for as many as possible with Brown. The Shortbread and White Chocolate are most important to find.
- Rusty Scissors > Ribbon > Sock > Scone (not able to find soon before fight) > Clothespin > Candy (3 can be found soon before fight, other 4 are not) > Marble > Shortbread (approx 2 can be found soon before fight, 1 can not and is found on the middle elevator floor when accessible) and White Chocolate (one can be found in Smoking Room soon before fight)
- Unfortunately, Jennifer can not go to the Gift Box immediately before the boss fight as the way is closed off. However, when possible, Jennifer can donate 4 Ribbons for a Minced Pie, 8 Clothespin for a Shortbread, 12 Marbles for a Shortbread
- There is a Lollipop in Amanda's Sewing Room
- It is recommended the Steel Pipe be used against him. It takes approximately 20 hits with the pipe, and only successful hits are indicated by blood splatters. Be warned that Jennifer must be facing him directly before swinging; if Jennifer is angled even slightly away from him, the swing will miss. The pipe's range is longer than his stick, so it's possible to attack him while his misses if Jennifer stands in the sweet spot - not too close, not too far.
- Jennifer can order Brown to bite Hoffman's leg up to 3 times in this boss. This only stuns him, but allows a few hits. To do this, order Brown "go!" when no item is on "find target".
- Know that the trigger buttons change the camera angle.
- If he leaps on Jennifer, mashing the buttons and wiggling the analog stick will get him off faster.
- If his leap misses, he will begin to stand up. Don't attack him while he is in the process of standing up as he is invincible - instead, attack him when he is fully up.
- Video strategies are here and here.
Once defeated or "killed", the Imps are seen sweeping up his blood. However, he (along with Martha) are inexplicably seen in later chapters alive and do not mention these previous events. After Hoffman's defeat, Jennifer must take the Warm Bag to the Gift Box. Even if Jennifer's health is low or if she is limping, it is recommended the player do not heal, as the chapter ends when the Warm Bag is donated and Jennifer's health is restored after each chapter, so it would be a waste of a health item since all enemies have disappeared.
In the "Mermaid Princess" chapter, Hoffman's koi goes missing. It is implied Eleanor and Meg took Hoffman's koi, sliced it in half, combined it with a doll to make the "Mermaid Doll" as mermaids do not really exist, and donated it as the Monthly Gift. Diana was in charge of caring for Hoffman's koi, so she was blamed by Hoffman. Diana searches for it, but her absence makes him suspect her of taking it. Hoffman is seen in the chapter leading Clara around. After the defeat of the Mermaid Princess, Hoffman interrogated Diana about his koi to no avail.
In "The Funeral" chapter, Hoffman orders Jennifer to clean the orphanage. Clara can be found in the Sick Room, scrubbing one of the cots. When Jennifer turns to leave the room, Hoffman enters the Sick Room and calls to Clara who reluctantly leaves with him into the adjoining room.
In the "Once Upon a Time" chapter, Jennifer comments Hoffman used to be a "kind and admirable teacher," though he supposedly made a transition into a cranky and perverted man in the time that Jennifer was at the orphanage. Because of the chapter's reflective atmosphere, it is possible that Jennifer is trying to remember the positive side of him. She also comments that on the day Hoffman disappeared, it seemed like he was running away from something and he tried too hard to be someone he wasn't, and that the expectations were too much for him and he wanted to escape those restrictions.
Relationship with Clara and Diana
Hoffman may have sexual interest in Clara and Diana because of the way he acts towards them.
In the Mermaid Princess chapter, he is seen escorting Clara into a bedroom. When Jennifer looks through a gap in the door, she can see Hoffman suggestively stroking someone. Clara is later revealed to be the person in the bed.
There are many possible hints on Hoffman and Clara's relationship. In her boss form as a mermaid, Clara has gills on her wrists, stitching on her stomach and gills at the sides of her stomach and rib area. Most of the events in the game are from young Jennifer's point of view, and she likely didn't understand any sexual things Hoffman may have done to Clara, and therefore, interpreted Clara as a mermaid.
In The Funeral chapter, Clara is lead from the Sick Room by Hoffman into another room, which he then locks. When Jennifer looks through the keyhole, she can see Clara scrubbing the floor, her movements unnatural and sexually suggestive while Hoffman stands near her face, pointing to the ground. He then says to her in a low, menacing and seductive tone, "Look, there's some... dust over here... give it a wipe." There is also an unused audio file in the game's data files that consists of nothing but the sound of Hoffman's voice in what can only be interpreted as him in the middle of a sexual act. (Although his voice is the only one on the audio file that we hear)
In the Sick Bay, it can be noted that there are raised pads on the cot, suggesting Hoffman gynecologically examining Clara. Clara is also seen scrubbing a spot towards the end of the bed. Clara is also seen shuffling her feet whenever she is required to move. This suggests she is experiencing pain in some form around her abdomen. Apart from the implied sexual interaction, it has also been suggested Clara at one point became pregnant which also would account for the raised pads on the cot in the sick bay, and her scrubbing of the mattress. It is also thought Clara might have had an abortion at the hands of Hoffman, himself.
There is even unused audio of Clara crying for help in the game's data files in which she constantly asks to be forgiven for something, promising never to do it again. She also cries and laughs hysterically as she repeats that something hurts and how she is alone. In the audio file Clara speaks with in a broken stutter, although this is probably more to do with her mental state as she speaks and is not indicative of her normal speech pattern. It does however, suggest she is extremely emotional in the scene the audio was meant for.
The bed and nightstand in the Mermaid Princess room are the same as the ones in Hoffman's bedroom in the orphanage. This hints that Hoffman would take Clara into his bedroom at night and possibly molest her while she laid in his bed; it also hints that Jennifer followed them one night, peeked through the keyhole, and saw something she didn't understand as a child.
Diana is Hoffman's favorite orphan, but the reason why is unknown. Diana also has a bandaged thigh which can only be seen when she lifts her skirt to curtsy, suggesting some sort of injury or bruise, but could also hint at some sexual injury.
It is mentioned Diana would spend a long time in the basement thinking about growing up. Jennifer comments, "She wanted so much to be an adult... and yet she was also afraid of growing up too fast." Diana apparently wanted to be beautiful and pure but was self-conscious in believing that every day she separated from her ideal self. Most likely, her fears about losing her ideal self and not growing up into the adult she wanted to stemmed from Hoffman's possible growing sexual interest in her and her revulsion at this.
Once the mermaid boss has been defeated Jennifer observes a scene where Hoffman is interrogating Diana about making a mess in the room. He appears to be caressing Diana throughout this conversation in a suggestive way, and could be perceived as crossing the line on how much an adult should touch a child. When he leaves the room, Diana is clearly disgusted by his touch, calling it 'disgusting'.
The surname "Hoffman" refers to the word, "steward" of which there are many meanings to. However, Hoffman seems to fit nearly every meaning in one way or another. A steward (from Old English stíweard, stiȝweard, from stiȝ "hall, household" + weard ", keeper." The general meaning of "steward" is someone who manages property or other affairs for someone else. This could refer to how he managed the children at the orphanage. Another meaning of the word "steward" refers to a farmer who owns land rather than rents it. This could refer to how he thought he "owned" the children at the orphanage (Clara, for example), rather than that he was merely the one in charge of caring for them. Another meaning of the word is "custodian": one in charge or buildings, grounds, or animals, of which all were Hoffman's duty.
Steward also means "an attendant on an airplane," which is similar to what Jennifer was in the airship crash that killed her parents.
- "I'm such a clever teacher." (in his diary)
- "What in blazes! Just who did this?! Who made this mess?! Was it you? Go on, tell me. Answer me, Diana... No new mommy or daddy will ever want you if you look like that. Now, now, I won't be angry. Just answer me... It was you, wasn't it? You were in charge, after all." (while caressing a tearful Diana)
- "So, young lady... You decided to play hooky again? Come to my office later. Don't you forget." (to Jennifer)
- "Boys and girls, cleaning time is over. Wastepaper should go into the rubbish bin and washing should go into the filth room. Are the rooms all spick and span? Are the halls all sparking clean? It's almost time for bed, Diana, Eleanor, Xavier, Meg, Susan, Nicholas, Thomas, Clara, Olivia. Be thankful for this wonderful day, and let us pray for an even better day tomorrow! Get ready for bed and may you have a good night's rest."
- In "The Unlucky Clover Field" chapter, if Jennifer peeks through one of the keyholes, she can see Hoffman surrounded by Imps. He seems to have the ability to communicate with them.
- During cleaning, he likes to play a certain song on the intercom. Many players hate it and view it as annoying because it is repetitive and gets grating to them after a few minutes.
- There is a theory that Hoffman may have deliberately done this to cover up any troubling noise (i.e. sounds of him and Clara possibly engaged in sexual acts).
- Hoffman calls the children to bed in the order of his favorites: Diana, Eleanor, Xavier, Meg, Susan, Nicholas, Thomas, Clara, Olivia. He does not call Jennifer or Amanda. Jennifer always felt the whole idea was silly.
- Clara's name is one of the last. He presumably does this in order to make Clara feel worthless, and make her feel like she's never good enough for him, trying to instill a desire in her to "please" him. By diminishing her self esteem and making her feel useless and worthless, Hoffman is presumably making Clara easier to control and manipulate.
- He has a pet koi in his office which swims in a fishtank with a model of the orphanage.
- In deleted audio, Hoffman told Clara that she would become a beautiful mermaid.