Pretties with Ugly Thoughts - Thérèse Remus - E-Book

Pretties with Ugly Thoughts E-Book

Thérèse Remus

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Beschreibung

Seminar paper from the year 2013 in the subject Didactics - English - Literature, Works, grade: 1,0, Humboldt-University of Berlin (Institut für Anglistik), course: Figurations of Survival in Dystopian (Young Adult) Fiction, language: English, abstract: Scott Westerfeld`s trilogy Uglies – Pretties – Specials tells us about the 15-year-old girl Tally who lives in a society whose citizens (have to) undergo an operation in order to be made pretty as soon as they get 16 years old. The books could easily be taken for prominently criticizing callomania, i.e. the excessive love of and craving for beauty and the respective extreme efforts people make to appear beautiful and thus correspond to a certain ideal. It is widely acknowledged that Western countries have developed into societies whose citizens spend remarkable amounts of time and money in the “improvement” or “maintenance” of their fitness and body appearance. Since the 1980s, an increasing number of so-called body image disorders is reported. More and more and even younger people suffer from a systematic depreciation of their bodies as they compare them to ideal and imaginative body images (Menninghaus, Winfried: Das Versprechen der Schönheit. Frankfurt a. Main: Suhrkamp, 2007: 250-251). It therefore seems a first and logical approach to see Westerfeld`s books as a major criticism of today`s (Western)societies and media which make people perceive their bodies as negative and inferior. As they are considered to be dystopian fictions, we anticipate Westerfeld`s novels to carry a warning reference to the reader`s present society. In this sense, Westerfeld`s books offer a most sinister view on how far we could get if we are advancing technologies like aesthetic surgery and genetic engineering without reconsidering how, why and to what extent we use them. We assume this critical warning to be embodied in the protagonist Tally who tries to succeed in disengaging from the ideology indoctrinated by her city. This paper wants to “track” the critical approaches we find in the novels and examine whether the narrations really live up to the criticism apparently promised. It will look at the concepts of beauty the protagonist Tally is confronted with and refer to current scientific and popular discourses about these respective concepts. Finally, a connection shall be drawn between the issues raised in the novels and the genre chosen to work on them. Why are “beauty” and “body” relevant topics to be treated in Young Adult fiction? And how does the genre Young Adult literature change the portrayal and reception of the issues? Questions like these shall be dealt with in order to review the books` message in the context of their intended readership.

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