In Act One, scene 18 of Moo by Sally Clark, Moo says that her "wanting to see Harry is a disease." How can Moo's obsession be explained?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the play Moo by Sally Clark, Moo does not fit the acceptable pattern for a woman. For instance, Moo's sister, Sarah, is planning to marry Charles—not because she loves him, but because he adores her. She figures she will grow to love him because of his feelings for her: an illogical statement and weak reason to marry. Moo is not interested in this kind of arrangement and Sarah is curious as to why Moo doesn't like men.


I don't dislike men, Sarah. I simply dislike...Charles.

Sarah informs Moo that Charles will be successful one day, giving another reason it is a good match for her, but it seems Moo likes to be entertained. She says Charles is boring. In fact, the only person Moo doesn't think is boring is her brother:

When George gets back you'll see what a bore Charlie is.

One of the first things the author tells us about Moo (before she meets Harry) is that she is out shooting and she's pretty good: she throws up a can and shoots it. She does this over and again. It is safe to infer that she finds it challenging, and it may feed a need to be uniquely different from the rest of the family. The family is boring. And further, according to Sarah:

...if you're going to be good at something, you should find an occupation. Shooting is useless.

We can infer that no one else shoots. (In scene fifteen with Ditty, Harry and Boo, Ditty says she has never learned.)

The off-handed comment Moo makes to Sarah about marrying someone who is a better marksman than her is telling: since she has no immediate interest in marrying, she sets what probably seems to her an impossible (and thereby safe) requirement of a husband because she certainly doesn't know anyone else who can shoot better than she can. 

I'll tell you what, Sarah. I'll marry the first man who can outshoot me.

When Moo first sees Harry, she's not much impressed. She admits later: "I didn't find him handsome." In fact, she is barely civil. However, he shoots a gun like no one else, including herself. This is exciting—this impresses her.


You just keep hitting [the tin can] so it stays up there. (throws the can up, shoots, keeps the can up for a long time)

MOO stares, dumbfounded. HARRY stops, hands rifle back to her...Moo stares after him. She throws the can up, tries to shoot it, misses. She stares back after HARRY.


In Harry, Moo finds someone unlike those she lives with—perhaps different than anyone she knows. He does things that make her crazy, but she never gives up on him. At one point Harry tells her to be a "typical" wife, but she has no idea what that is—and in truth, it proves not to be what he wants anyway. When together, he cannot resist her. He wearily tells her he loves her. And he continually stays connected to Moo with the thoroughly aggravating post cards he sends from the world which she packs up and takes off after him. She is never boring as his other two wives are. 

Rochester in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre describes how he is connected to Jane, and it seems fitting with Moo and Harry:

It feels as though I had a string tied here under my left rib where my heart is, tightly knotted to you in a similar fashion.

Moo's niece says that Moo is "obsessed." Moo's choice of the term "disease" infers that she is held by something she cannot control that is not good for her. But Harry gives her life meaning. And based on Harry's response when he sees her almost completely senile at the end, it is this fire within her he loves.

Karyth Cara eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moo's obsession with Harry Parker, a "rotter," is ostensibly triggered by his suave charm. Yet Clark's script, though Clark undoubtedly intended it to evoke sympathy and empathy for Parker's character, leaves Parker so devoid of affect and so entirely self-absorbed, that this captivating charm that obsesses Moo is not evident to the audience through the repellent qualities (Russ Hunt).

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