Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Uglies By Scott Westerfeld

The Uglies is a novel that takes place in a supposed utopia. Everybody looks forward to their sixteenth birthday, not because it is when they are allowed to drive, but because it means the beginning of a whole different life style. A person's sixteenth birthday in this novel, brings a life changing surgery making them a "pretty". "Pretties" lead a perfect life, never doing any work, partying all the time, and most importantly being flawlessly beautiful. Until this day however, people in this world are considered ugly and have to live apart from the pretties. Tally Youngblood is the protagonist of this novel and like any other ugly, is looking forward to this life style. It is all she has ever dreamed of until she meets a new friend named Shay. Shay has a different attitude towards this surgery and possibly a little more insight into what it does to a person. On the eve of Shay's birthday, she runs away leaving officers suspicious of Tally. Tally is not allowed to get her surgery until she finds Shay and brings her back, and leads the officials (also known as specials) to a place called the smoke full of people who ran away from the life of a pretty and instead choose to live a life of honest work in uncivilized conditions. Tally learns many things from the people she meets in the smoke such as what it means to like people for more than their appearance or even despite their appearance. She also learns things about what becoming a pretty does to your brain. People who get the surgery no longer have the freedom to think for themselves and are programed to think a certain way and never question the way in which they think. After learning this, Tally is then faced with a decision. She could 1) Betray the people of the smoke and get the operation to turn her into a pretty, or 2) Stay with the people of the smoke and never become a pretty.

1) If you were Tally which choice would you make and why?
2) Why do you think the surgeons choose to do this to a persons brain when undergoing the pretty operation?
3) Could something as superficial as everyone being pretty really bring peace to the world? Why or why not?


Lisa T. 1-2 said...

1. If I were Tally, I wouldn't get the operation. Being a pretty doesn't sound all that great; there's nothing really attractive about being beautiful when everyone around you is beautiful, and it doesn't matter anyway when you can't even think for yourself.
2. I'm not sure, but the surgery seems to be the surgeons' way of controlling society.
3. Yes, peace can definitely be achieved by this lifestyle lacking the freedom to think, because being passionate about our opinions is both what makes us human and triggers disagreements; therefore, without the ability to believe in anything, no one would fight. However, the goal of the human race isn't to completely give up on any sense of intelligence, so we're probably better off without world peace.

Sarah N. 7-8 said...

3. I do not think that it would bring peace to the world. Right now there are conflicts, because of differences (even if it is not just on appearances). I think that if everyone was the same, or pretty, the people would find something else to fight about (even though they seem to be carefree). That life style could only last for a certain time. Instead they would find something wrong with someone else.

Laura P 7-8 said...

3.) I do not think that everyone being pretty would bring peace to the world, however since the surgeons alter the brain in the operation I think they thought it would bring less conflict. I agree with Sarah, if everyone was pretty they would focus on something else wrong with the world.

Lindsay S. 7-8 said...

I agree with everyone. I would not choose this "pretty" lifestyle because everybody would be the same. And although everyone would turn into a pretty, does not mean that all of the controversal differences would vanish, people would find a way to make everyone different.

Madi Y 7-8 said...

3. I don't think that everyone being pretty could bring peace. There is more problems in the world that have a much greater impact on our world. However, If the people all were pretty it would take away the pressures of getting ready, fancy, and the women spending hours and hours on there makeup.

Rafiq O. 1-2 said...

1.) No,of course not. If you and everyone around you is [are] beautiful,what then, defines beauty? Everyone would be just the same, bound by societal pressures to conform.

2.)Probably so they don't clearly see what's happening to their society. Take "The Matrix" for example. Everyone is trapped in a haze, having no idea that their world is fake, until someone "unplugs" them and they are awaken to see their society in ruins.

Monica J. 1-2 said...

I read this book!
1. If i was Tally i would stay with the smoke. i wouldnt be able to leav emy friends and the people i cared for for anything.
2. I think they do this to the brain during the operation so none of the pretties will have an opinion or be any kind of threat to the goverment. but also without an opininon there will be no fighting like what tore the world before theres.
3. I think it could bring peace to the world just because there would be no racist and no prejudice for anyone who is different. It is superficial but people judge so much on religion and looks and how people are that if we all were preeties it would be peacful. There wouldnt be complete peace but a lot of the worlds problems will be solved.

Hannah K. 1-2 said...

1) I would choose to stay with the people in the smoke- freedom of thought is much more important than being considered attractive.
2) It would keep society happy and cooperative if no one had their own opinions.
3) Yes, it could, because of the way they change the people's brains. Without the ability to disagree with something, everyone could be kept happy.

Natesa W. 7-8 said...

1. I would choose to stay with the people of the smoke. I wouldn't want to lose the ability to think and disagree with others.
3. I agree with Hannah. If the people do not have the ability to disagree with each other, than there is not reason for people to fight. Everyone would get along.

Sevgim A.1-2 said...

1. I would stay at the smoke because I knew that being a "pretty" wouldn't be as fun as it sounded before.

Morgan O 7-8 said...

Knowing what I know about the books it is easy for me to say I would not betray the people of the smoke, but i think it would be more difficult for me to make this decision if my entire life, the idea that being a pretty brings perfection, were shoved into my brain.
Questions two and three go together in a way. I believe that the surgeons do this to a persons brain because they know that being beautiful ultimately means nothing in a society and it is more a persons personality that will affect a peaceful society. By altering the way people think (essentially making them all the same person) it eases human conflict. This leads into question three. This would mean that just making people beautiful would not make a society peaceful. Peace comes from more than just appearance.

Morgan O 7-8 said...

If anyone else reads this at this point in the week, for further insights into the comments, if peace does not come from appearance, but peoples personalities, what is a good way to bring peace to society? Would an operation altering people's brains be a reasonable solution? If not what could be an alternative?

Millie W. 7/8 said...

2) They do it because everyone has there own opinions when their smart. And those opinions can clash and cause conflict. Which it turn creates trouble for the city.