Chelsea Dowding-Hopkins Year 9 – Mrs Graham INS essay Uglies by Scott Westerfield One of the main themes in Scott Westerfield’s text Uglies is the conflict teenagers have with where they stand in society and learning to respect and value themselves. Using examples from the text compare them with today’s world for teenagers. Word count: Date Due: Uglies illustrates many issues that young teenagers will go through in life. The reader has an insight of three main characters and their struggles to fit in to certain societies and others.
They are Tally, Shay and David. “Is it not good to make a society full of beautiful people? ” (p. 1), the first line of the text Uglies foreshadows exactly what the main theme of the book is; basing a whole society on a system similar to the caste system. The characters are born Littlies, grow into Uglies, operated on to become Pretties, operated on again to become Middle Pretties and then die as Crumblies.
The operation came about to put everyone in place, to have no anger or hate towards anyone. They used the operations to make the prefect Utopia.
Tally, a young, impressionable Ugly is led to believe she is exactly what her title is, ugly. Her whole life she has been brainwashed into thinking she is ugly by computer technology, lack of affection and taunting name calling such as ‘squint’, ‘skinny’ or ‘nose’. She has grown up with nothing but beautiful faces surrounding her. Her feelings towards herself and the way she looks, resembles how most adolescent teenagers perceive themselves. Trapped in a world full of unrealistic beauty portrayed by televisions and magazines, young girls and boys have no idea how to feel about the way they look, much like Tally.
Alike any other Ugly she is waiting for the day she turns sixteen so she can become a Pretty. Unable to do anything but sit through life waiting for that one day she decides to play tricks and hoaxes to satisfy her in terms of entertainment which shows exactly how young adolescents tend to feel, they see do not see themselves as an important part of their society as they do not have powers such as voting and are not yet old enough to go out at night and enjoy themselves. Westerfield perfectly portrays how we, as a society, see beauty.
We see beauty as perfection, not a line out of place, and this judgement came about due to our desire for perfection. When picking up any magazine the front page is bound to be altered to show us how we should look. Gone are the days where voluptuous, well rounded women are considered to be goddesses. People in today’s society see models and movie stars starve themselves until they believe they are beautiful and Westerfield plays on this throughout the entire text. Tally sees herself as ugly because she does not notice anything good about her, until she meets David.
When anyone compliments Tally she refuses to believe it as the truth, and it is unlikely that she has ever felt attractive in her whole life. Westerfield only describes Tally the way she sees herself and although it is in the third person the reader is given certain knowledge about what goes on through Tally’s mind which the reader does not have for any other character. At the beginning of the text the reader is led to believe that Pretties have the idealistic life; beautiful with not a care in the world but the reader may feel discomfort with how superficial it all seems.
Nothing is wrong with the way Tally looks and the reader can presume that she is quite naturally attractive after receiving several compliments from two characters that do not only see visible beauty. Tally plays a game that modifies the way she looks and makes her feel bad about who she really is. The programme seems to be an exact replica of one called ‘Photoshop’. ‘Photoshop’ is a programme where any person can change and modify the way they look. They can change their: hair, body shape, eye colour, skin tone and can wipe away any imperfection.
Teenagers in today’s society look at these perfect and yet unrealistic faces and compare them to how they look; in all reality we are all full of imperfections. This lowers self confidence and portrays the image of beauty to a standard that no one can achieve, and people wonder why there is such bad body image. Nothing will change until our minds adapt to different perceptions of beauty. Tally seems confused as to why her new, rebellious friend Shay, does not find the game fun. Among other things Shay sees through the game.
She understands that there is something morally wrong with the operation and although she does not understand it completely she does not wish to conform and turn herself into unnatural perfection. She is the first character shown to have these thoughts on the operation and is the first insight we get into what is so wrong with it. Shay shows signs of naivety when she runs away. She does not know what kind of danger it may bring and is so eager to please David after not running away with her friends the first time and causes trouble with Tally over such a fickle romance. This is not finished. oops.
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