The Dangers of Conformity
Westerfield presents many arguments that encourage his young adult readers to resist the urge to give in to peer pressure and conformity. Instead, people should be true to themselves. Tally’s desire to get cosmetic surgery requires a sacrifice of her individuality. By changing herself to meet the same ideal standard of beauty as everyone else in society, Tally conforms to her society’s superficial ideas of beauty.
Westerfield uses several symbols to reinforce his critique of conformity. Dr. Cable provides Tally with food and other supplies for her journey to Smoke, but the only thing that she is given to eat is SpagBol, or Spaghetti Bolognese. After eating this same meal for breakfast, lunch, and supper every day throughout her journey, SpagBol is forever tainted for Tally. Too much of a good thing becomes odious, and variety would have been better.
Later, Tally encounters the white tiger orchids, another symbol of the danger of conformity. Once among the most rare flowers on the planet, the orchids are now an invasive species. A scientist hoping to grow and sell these vulnerable flowers altered their genetics and transformed the precious orchid into a super weed. Worse, the orchid now destroys the planet, taking out all of its competitors and creating a monoculture—an ecosystem without biological diversity. Although rangers burn these flowers to prevent them from spreading, what is left behind is a desert barren of nutrients. Because the monoculture destroyed all other forms of life, there is nothing left when the flowers are destroyed. Again, the loss of diversity ruins society.
Tally’s ultimate rejection of conformity arrives too late. When she first arrives in Smoke, Tally finds everyone hideously ugly because none of them conform to an ideal standard of beauty. However, Tally comes to appreciate the diversity of human features when she becomes attracted to David. By the time she realizes this, she has already inadvertently revealed the location of Smoke to Special Circumstances.
The Rejection of a Utopian Society
A common element of dystopian fiction is the rejection of utopia, or the...
(The entire section is 904 words.)
902 WordsMar 16th, 20104 Pages
Year 9 – Mrs Graham
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.
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…show more content…
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