“Big Mouth and Ugly Girl” – Character Analysis of Matthew Donaghy

Matthew Donaghy’s lows:
On page 5, Matt is surrounded by two strangers. “The man with the glasses and a small fixed smile introduced himself and his companion to Matt as detectives with the Rocky River Police Department and asked Matt to

step outside the corridor” (page 5). There were many thoughts going through Matt’s head at the moment. He thought that something happened to his father or mother. This part of the novel was given a -4, because Matt had no idea why he was asked to step out of the classroom and the detectives would not tell him the reason for it.

On page 29, Matt asked the detectives if something happened at home or if something had happened at home. “It was then Matt Donaghy began to panic. Something was wrong with his breathing. His lungs seemed to shut down. A wide-winged black-feathered bird bigger than any eagle rose up behind him and brought his wings down over him, shutting out his vision, stopping his heart” (page 30). This part of the novel was given a -10, because Matt really thought that something really had happened to his mother or at home and the detectives still will not tell him why he is there.

On page 97, Matt was advised by Mr. Steiner, his teacher, that part in the school newspaper that he always writes will not be published. Mr. Steiner told Matt that it is too accusing and not funny. “This strange, angry edge to Matt Donaghy! His smile had grown ironic, suspicious. He looked taller, leaner, like a knife blade. Even his freckles looked bleached out. His faded-red hair was longer; he had a habit of brushing it impatiently out of his eyes. His skin looked roughened, as if he’d been rubbing it with sandpaper. He’d overheard his mother saying to his father, ‘he isn’t a boy any longer. He’s changed.’” This part of the novel was given a -8, because Matt has always had that part in the newspaper the staff always liked his weird sense of humor. Also, he thought that Mr. Steiner was truly his friend and unpredictably, he tells him that what he wrote wasn’t good enough.

Matthew Donaghy’s highs:
On page 65, Matt calls Ursula and she tells him that she heard what he was saying when she passed by his table during lunch. Ursula also tells Matt that she will be a witness for him and tell Mr. Parrish or the police. Matt tried to absorb what she was saying. He couldn’t believe that Ursula Riggs was willing to stand by his side and defend him. “Look Matt. I heard what you said in the cafeteria today. I was walking past your table, and I heard. I know you were joking, and there’s no way any intelligent person could misconstrue your words or gestures” (page 65). This part of the novel was given a +7, because Matt felt as if there was a chance that he was going to get of the mess that he was in. Also, he a bit shocked that Ursula was the only one who contacted him and said that she would vouch for him.

On page 266, Matt and Ursula have their first kiss. Matt and Ursula were talking about how The New York Times is going to publish his column in the op-ed page. He also tells Ursula that his play will be in the Spring Festival and that she would be making her theatrical debut in about five weeks. Then, they hugged and Matt toughened up, and kissed her. “It was then that Matt told me the good news: ‘Ursula, The New York Times is going to publish my column in the op-ed page. Thanks to you. And what’s even more exciting: William Wilson will be in the Spring Festival. Which means that Ursula Riggs will make her theatrical debut in about five weeks’” (page 266). This part of the novel was given a +10, because Matt really liked Ursula and she liked him back.

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