Analyze the characters of Moo and Harry in Moo by Sally Clark in terms of what motivates them, how they feel for each other, and whether they are equally matched or mismatched.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although seemingly mismatched, Moo and Harry in Sally Clark's Moo may actually be perfect for each other—in a star-crossed way.

Moo comes from a dysfunctional family that provides her with no support and little understanding of the world. We may excuse Moo in that she has no role models. What she likes to do is shoot—tin cans, really—and she flippantly tells her sister she will marry the first man she meets who can outshoot her: that would be Harry. Moo is indulged and irresponsible, running off with Harry without knowing much more than what a fine marksman he is.

Harry, on the other hand, is better equipped to face the world...or so it would seem until Moo comes along. In her...

...he [gets] more than he bargained for.

Moo says that what appealed to her about Harry was...

...he had a certain look in his eyes. A depth and a wildness.

This may at first appear flighty on Moo's part, but compared to her family that is as close to original thinkers as grapefruit, this unknown quantity within him strikes a chord within her.

He spoke rarely but he always led you to believe that he possessed information that went far beyond what he said.

Again, these are characteristics that fascinate Moo like a snake with its prey—for they are things she has never seen (we can infer) in any member of her immediate family. And then, if nothing else can be said of Moo, she is determined.

From Harry's standpoint, this family is asking to be duped. None is particularly intelligent or intuitive—except for Moo. They lack imagination. Moo's sisters claim to always have seen Harry for the rotter he was, but Moo is the only one who comprehends that there is more to this man than meets the eye. 

True to the character of a rotter, his treatment of Moo is self-serving and nasty. He shoots Moo in the head, has her institutionalized (for five years), is an unfaithful husband, disappears for years at a time, and ultimately marries two other women. But when it seems that he sends Moo postcards to drive her to the edge, deeper consideration may reveal that whatever tenuous thread connects them, as hard as Harry tries to distance himself, he can never bring himself to sever what keeps them connected.

And his other women never make him happy—he throws Maude down the stairs! After years with Patsy, he is sarcastic and derisive—for these women have no more to speak for them than did Moo's family: they are dull-witted, boring and lack any personal depth. And worst of all, they don't really see him. 


I was a heartbreaker in my youth.




Don't act so surprised.

It is ironic that Harry should want that depth or want anyone close enough to know him. And while Moo does border on the obsessive, she has an inner-fire and insight that Harry cannot resist. At one point he "wearily" admits to her that he does love her. When she catches up with him, it may not last long, but he cannot resist her.

At the end, after the passage of many years, Harry accidentally finds Moo in a nursing home, almost totally senile. Though literally telling him she would not give up her lighter to the nurses, it was Harry she referred to.

I held on and I wouldn't let go.

She hasn't forgotten him, and she still sees him:

Do you have a postcard for me, Harry?

Perhaps seeing the fire dwindle in Moo mirrors one passing away within himself; and that may be—by mutual consent—what draws them together once more to end Moo's life before she becomes invisible to him.

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