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The Characters

Characterization of Ursula Riggs (Feelings)

In the novel “Big Mouth & Ugly Girl” written by Joyce Carol Oates one of the two protagonists is Ursula Riggs. She is a split personality. On the one hand there is ‘Ursula Riggs’ a tall, athletic girl at Rocky River High School that is quite lonely because of her unpopularity among her class mates. This becomes apparent, e.g. when she leaves the gym after the basketball match and nobody says goodbye to her (p.20 ll.10-14). That’s when she is about to lose her way because of feeling depressed or unconfident. For self-protection and forgetting about her doubts, she built up the other part of her personality which Ursula calls Ugly Girl. Ugly Girl is the total opposite of Ursula. She is mentally strong (p.8 ll.1-4) and doesn’t give a damn about others’ opinion. Ursula Riggs loves playing basketball and is the captain of the basketball team at her school. Due to her fantastic basketball skills that Ugly girl is aware of, she is very self-confident when she plays basketball (p.8 ll.9-14). Because of the difference in characteristics there are two different moods that come up at times and show various features of Ursula. The Fiery Red mood is useful for playing basketball, because that’s when she’s energetic, dynamic and in good humor, and likely to be at her best on the court. But there is also the Inky Black mood that consists of all the depression and scruple provoking a really bad temper.
But no matter the vulnerable girl inside, Ursula Riggs is seen as the indifferent Ugly Girl by her school mates and she is segregated by almost everybody.

Jenny, Anna, Christina, Philip, Merle
Merle am 18.12.08 16:46

Characterisation of Ursula Riggs (Actions)

Ursula Riggs is the protagonist of the novel “Big Mouth & Ugly Girl” by Joyce Carol Oates, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2003.
She is a split personality. On one side there is Ursula Riggs, a shy and unconfident girl. Yet on the other hand she is competitive (p.9/ l. 9) and unyielding (p.8/ ll. 1-4; p.11/ll. 17-20).
This side of her personality is the Ugly Girl’s side, which loves playing basketball and is willing to take a risk, just to win a game.
Ugly Girl is very moody (p.12/ll. 15,16) and that’s why she's an a loner girl. She has not much friends and her mom and little sister are already into “friends” (p.9/ l.22; p.12/ l.10; p.15/l. 25). In her opinion you could be hurt if you like people (p.10/ l.22).
But she doesn’t have an interest in this fact and doesn’t care about that people might not like her, so she is also indifferent (p.9/ l.22; p.12/ l.10; p.10/ l. 27).
All in all Ugly Girl only depends on herself and isn’t intimidated by someone.

Cedric, Camille, Daniel, Judith, Tinka
Tinka am 18.12.08 14:41

Characterization of Ursula

Ursula first appears as a girl who is pretty critic against the rest of the world and who seems to be turned away from her schoolmates and a normal student’s life.
But after a while the reader also gets to know Ursula as a girl who just has a lot of thoughts about the world and in a way seems to really observe the actions of other people around her.
She often speaks about other people in a sarcastic way and if necessary she also is brave enough to speak honest to them and to tell them about her opinion.
In her offensive manner she often makes people dislike her and make her being cut off or even verbally attacked by other students.
Ursula mostly speaks in a colloquial language but she is also intelligent enough to be able to speak in a very serious way of necessary.
As already mentioned, Ursula likes to think about things happening around her, in a way she is even philosophic in the way she works her thoughts out.
When she thinks about other people and the way they act Ursula is always really precise in her ideas. Ursula is a character who is very distinctive from the start off and who has a lot of character features making the reader being able to imagine her easily. Thus she becomes a very lively character.

Tati am 12.12.08 18:34

Characterization of Ursula Riggs (Thoughts)

Ursula Riggs is introduced as a loner. It seems as if she accepts this and even as if she has chosen this for herself. On page 22 she says "Ugly Girl stands alone" and on page 9 she states that she hasn't got many friends in her high school Rocky River High.
But maybe the fact that she is a loner also strenghtens her independence she emphasizes on page 69 by saying "Right. It's my life, Mom. Not yours or Dad's." But it could also be the other way round.
Additionally she says on page 9: "I wasn't what you'd call a team player."
Ursula knows that she is physically strong (see page 8: "But Ugly Girl was one of the best athletes at Rocky River High."), but also that she is unattractive ("Ugly Girl's body wasn't built for the diving board, or for water. Or for critical eyes."(page 9); "I knew I wasn't an ugly girl. I was Ugly Girl." (page 9).
After losing the basketball match she reproaches herself: "Yes, but you know: it is your fault."

by Max, Anna S.-T., Birte & Markus
Markus am 18.12.08 18:19

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