A Conflict Between Personal Belief Systems And Workplace Practices

1165 Words Nov 3rd, 2016 5 Pages
In the novel Moo, Jane Smiley uses Dean Nils Harstad, Marly Hellmich, Dr. Gift, and Chairman X to emphasize how, when there is a conflict between personal belief systems and workplace practices, individuals will sacrifice their morals to reduce the amount of time or effort required to achieve their professional or personal goals. The belief systems discussed can be either religiously, politically, or economically centered. Using religious symbolism, Smiley utilizes the sacrificed beliefs of the above characters to symbolize how when administrators and educators take shortcuts to line their pockets, the American education system suffers. Dean Nils Harstad is the prime example of a character who takes harmful shortcuts, as his interactions with Marly were pre-planned to have a specific outcome, one completely unrelated to the love he claimed to have for her. Dean Harstad’s true passion in life was to spread Christianity after the, “fall of Godless Communism in Europe” and Marly was simply a means to an end (Smiley 214). Dean Harstad’s belief that the spread of Christianity was God’s mission for him suggests one of two options; Dean Harstad experienced a religious awakening the likes of which have not been seen since St. Paul or, the more likely of the two, Harstad is simply using religion as a shield to achieve his goals by any means necessary without having to explain himself. Harstad sees Marly not as the love of his life or as an independent being, but as simply a…

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