Jane Smiley's Moo: Handout 2 ~ Activities
Mary Helen Nesbitt
Matthew D. Pistilli
April 5, 2005
Activity One for Jane Smiley’s Moo
The girls living in Dubuque House all submitted self portraits, and these portraits were distributed amongst the other residents of the House (p. 10-11). Consider the manner in which these portraits were written (information shared, not shared, etc.) and write profiles for one of the following students:
The profiles should be written as though you knew this character around the first or second time we were introduced to them in the book. Feel free to create information about the students in order to provide a robust portrait to share with the class.
Activity Two for Jane Smiley’s Moo
Responding to the Memo
On page 119 (ch. 22), a memo is released from the Provost’s office detailing the need to trim almost $10 million from the University budget. Immediately below this is the memo written by the Chair of the English Department.
You and a group of faculty from the department must write a memo back to the Chair indicating how the cuts in the department will affect your teaching style, the classroom environment, and your ability to do your job in an effective manner.
Activity Three for Jane Smiley’s Moo
Another Point of View
In chapter 36 (pg 190), Professor Monahan assigns his students the task of rewriting one of their stories from the point of view of someone else in the story. Your task, then, is to take one of the following passages and rewrite it from another character’s point of view. Since the stories are written in third person, assume that that is the proverbial “risky… fly on the wall.” Choose one of the characters in the scene and provide insight into his/her thoughts on the matter. If dialogue needs to be written to complete the scene, feel free to add to Smiley’s original text.
Dr. Lionel Gift presents a lecture entitled Costa Rica: The Lessons of Development in chapter 13 (p. 67). Assume the role of Chairman X, Cecilia, or another person in the room and expand upon Jane Smiley’s characterizations of what these characters are/might be doing/thinking.
Several characters witnessed/were involved in Earl Butz’ escape from the destruction of Old Meats (p. 390). Pick one (or more) of the characters/non-mentioned onlooker and expand on what has already been provided. While Professor Monahan discourages using animals as a point of view, Earl Butz, himself, may be considered in your story.
In Chapter 47 (p. 265), Joe Doaks exhibits himself as being racist and ignorant in hurling a racial epithet at Mary. The girls retaliate in a rather comeuppance-like manner. Rewrite the scene from a non-mentioned character’s point of view who was able to hear and see the foray.
In Chapter 18 (p. 88), the eccentric inventor Loren Stroop meets with Dean of Extension Nils Harstad to discuss his invention (and, this topic notwithstanding, his paranoia). Assume that much to the dismay of Loren Stroop, Dean Harstad has a secretary present in the room to record notes from the meeting. Assume the role of the secretary and present the scene from her point of view.