Big Mouth and Ugly Girl Joyce Carol Oates The following are questions related to each chapter. It is your responsibility to keep up with the readings, as well as answering ALL assigned chapter questions for that day.
If Ms. Kucinic notices (and she will), that you are not completing the questions, you may find yourself sitting in a pop quiz situation the next day.
Please answer all questions on a separate piece of paper. Most of all have fun and enjoy the novel!
But she thinks that her sister is intimidated by her because of her six foot stature – rather then that she looks up to her
What is the one good things, as identified by Ursula that has come from the news coverage regarding the bomb from Rocky River?
The focus at Rocky River High won’t be on losing the basketball game that Ursula believes they should have won.
What made Ursula change her mind about eating dinner with her family?
She is a vegetarian and she could not eat dinner with her family because meat disgusted her.
She decided to eat with her family when her dad said he was hurt because he doesn’t eat dinner at home a lot of nights, and when he does Ursula is in her room eating.
What secret does Ursula share with Bonnie LeMoyne?
Bonnie LeMoyne attempted suicide by overdosing on pills when her father left the family. (barbiturates – sedatives – tending to calm or sooth)
Ursula was afraid that their father would leave them as well.
How does Ursula know that the bomb allegations are only rumor?
She knows because she was in the cafeteria and she heard what Matt said.
How does Ursula contact Matt? How long does it take Matt to get back to her?
She tries to find his phone number but has no luck – nobody answers
Then she calls all his friends and Denis Wheeler gives her Matt’s email address.
She left an email for Matt at 10:23, and the phone rang at 10:47.
Chapter Seven *mention of Edgar Allan Poe on pg. 58
What method of discipline does Mr. Parrish choose to use with Matt?
Mr. Parrish suspended Matt for three days
What is Matt’s first reaction to Ursula’s contact with him?
He thinks that his friends are playing a prank on him.
He thinks that its Skeets way of answering to Matt’s email because none of the guys had answered him yet – because Skeet has a weird sense of humour.
Why does Matt resent the fact that Skeet was not in trouble too?
Skeet was in the cafeteria that day too and urged Matt on.
Matt believes that if Skeet had not urged him on none of this would have happened.
What does Matt compare this situation to?
He compares it to an incident when he was 12 years old and jumped off a diving board into the pool just to make the guys laugh, even though he had no idea what he was doing.
He hit the water with a slap that left his stomach and chest red and his nose was bleeding because he hit his head on his knee.
What family member offers Matt much support and comfort in his time of need?
Matt’s dog Pumpkin seems to be the only one that understands him.
He likes to just bury his face in her fur and she would snuggled against Matt and reassure him that he’s not a psycho and that she believes in him.
What is Matt’s father’s reaction when he speaks to Matt on the phone after hearing about the allegations?
Matt’s father tries to be supportive but all he is thinking about is the family’s reputation.
His company seems to be downsizing and he is worried that he might lose his job – not really trying to be supportive about Matt’s feelings.
Why do both Matt and Ursula choose email as their method of communication?
They both preferred email because talking on the phone made them nervous and uneasy.
Why does Ursula place so many phrases starting with capital letters?
“One of Ugly Girl’s principles (beliefs) was: Do Not Quarrel With the Enemy Unless Cornered” (68)
She believed that she should not argue with anybody unless she has no other choice.
The phrases begin with a capital letter because it demonstrates the importance of this belief as well as how serious she actually is about it.
How do Ursula’s parents respond to the idea that she may get involved with investigation? What does this suggest about their values and priorities?
They try to convince Ursula not to get involved.
They are afraid that she might be accused as a conspirator and her reputation might be destroyed.
They are afraid that she would not get accepted into an Ivy League school because of this. (Ivy League Schools: private institutions of higher education. The term also carries with it a reputation of social elitism. Some schools include: Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Brown)
What was one of Ugly Girl’s principles? What does this mean?
Principle: “Do Not Quarrel With the Enemy Unless Cornered” (68)
Do not argue or fight with your enemy unless absolutely necessary.
Describe Mr. Parrish’s leadership skills. What does this suggest about the role of adults in the school system?
What does Ursula wear when she approaches Mr. Parrish with her information? Why does she describe this to the audience?
Ursula looks very different on the morning when she goes to speak to Mr. Parrish – she was wearing her glittery earings (not a row of studs), her maroon satin school jacket (not a flannel man’s shirt), khakis and boots.
She describes this to the audience to show that she is serious and determined to help Matt Donaghy.
She had to look presentable in order for Mr. Parrish to take her seriously.
Why does Ursula describe Mr. Parrish as her “opponent”. What does this add to the atmosphere of the novel?
Adults vs. students.
She assumes that Mr. Parrish will be against her just because he is an adult and the principal of the school.
The atmosphere is intense because we expect to see an argument.
Does Ursula respect Mr. Parrish? Why or why not?
No she does not – she really tries to put him in his place.
She blames Mr. Parrish for taking this situation too far – she says that it was not handled right.
She feels that he has overreacted.
She even walks out of Mr. Parrish’s office without acknowledging him.
What is the role of the media in this chapter?
The media is ruining Matt’s reputation.
News channels are saying that Matt’s been arrested and questioned by the police.
They present it as a police investigation after a crime – but Matt hasn’t done anything wrong.
How did Ursula get Eveann’s mom to agree with her position regarding telling the truth about the bomb threat? What does this tell the reader about Ursula’s personality and her abilities?
Ursula knows the Eveann’s mom is a devout Catholic so she plays on her morals.
She tells Eveann’s mom that anyone who doesn’t speak up for Matt will be morally guilty of ruining his life.
She tells Eveann’s mother that its our Christian duty to bear witness for one another.
This shows us that Ursula has a persuasive personality.
What does Matt keep comparing his situation to?
He compares it to a dark play – something that Edgar Allan Poe would write
“a dark, nasty comedy where people’s misery was held up to ridicule” (77)
What was the only good thing that Matt’s father identifies about the situation and the media’s coverage of it? What does this suggest about Matt’s father?
That the name Donaghy hasn’t been printed in the paper yet
How does Matt feel in this chapter?
He thinks about running away – even death
He talks about how easy life would be if he just died – he’d fall unto a rock and crack his head – so easy (78)
How is the relationship with Matt and his “friends” different than before the allegations?
His friends are not allowed to communicate with him
They only sent him short emails explaining that they can’t communicate with him because they had been advised not to.
Describe the type of words used by his “friends”.
To “keep clear”
Their lawyers “advise” them to keep clear
They can’t “communicate” with him
Basically – they are not allowed to get in touch with Matt at all.
Why doesn’t Mr. Weinberg reply to Matt’s message signed “Matt ‘Terrorist’ Donaghy”?
He probably didn’t know how to respond to it.
Plus all emails sent are being monitored by the police so Ms. Weinberg did not want to get involved.
How does Matt end his email to Ursula? Why is this significant?
He signs it “Your friend Matt”
Its significant because two people that never spoke to each other are now friends because of this ordeal.
What happens that suddenly makes Ugly Girl shy and nervous?