Reflection on the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

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Appearance. How one is viewed by others. Appearance is of utmost importance in the teenage years, or at least that’s what mainstream media leads people to believe. The character in the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld started out caring about appearance, but later on the overarching theme was revealed to be that appearance doesn’t matter, it’s who you are on the inside that counts. In the very beginning of the book, there is a clear dichotomy between the so called “pretties,” and the “uglies.” The uglies live in uglyville and must attend school, whereas the pretties live in New Pretty Town and can basically party all day. One can tell that appearance is a heavy factor in this society, as Tally must sneak over to New Pretty Town and must wear a mask to hide her “ugly” face. The concept of appearance began to evolve when Tally met Shay, a rebel who doesn’t want to become “pretty”, because she already believes she is. Shay says, “They all look the same” and also “We’re not freaks, Tally. We’re normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we’re not hyped-up Barbie dolls.” (Westerfeld 82) I interpreted this to mean that due to all of the pretties looking the same, none of them seem beautiful anymore. As the book progresses, the idea of appearance evolves further, with Shay realizing that a society that doesn’t distinguish people based on appearances is better, and leaves. Also, on page 181 and 182, the rangers who picked up Tally explained how the White Tiger Orchid was a monoculture, as in everything is the same. I took the Orchid to be a symbol for New Pretty Town, saying that the pretty form of life is unsustainable and that we need diversity to survive. Finally, as she begins to assimilate into the Smoke way of life, without all of the fancy technology of her old life, she begins to realize the natural beauty of the world. As Tally says, “Nature… at least didn’t

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