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How do the themes (beauty, self-doubt, and self-acceptance) relate the short...

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cupcake12 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2010 at 7:02 AM via web

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How do the themes (beauty, self-doubt, and self-acceptance) relate the short story"Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self"?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 21, 2010 at 9:01 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that the themes mentioned play a prominent role throughout the short story.  The notion of beauty is one that drives the entire narrative.  Walker goes through three distinct periods in the short story . The first is one of socially accepted notions of beauty.  This is the period of her life where she is deemed as "the prettiest" or the one with the most beauty.  The second phase is one where she is disfigured and the social experience of what it is like to be unwanted or ugly.  The last phase is one where she strives to make peace with both of these experiences.  It is here where we see the elements of self doubt enter the narrative (The magazine cover discussion as well as the fears of her child examining Walker's eye would be points of reference here.)  At the same time, the ending where Walker dreams, listening to the Stevie Wonder song, of the dance with "the other," and where the collision between both experiences finally ceases would be an instance where one can see self acceptance present.

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