What critical thinking question would you ask regarding Walker's "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is Self"?


Alice Walker

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akannan's profile pic

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I tend to think that one of the most reflective questions that the short story brings out is the construction of beauty.  How do we as human beings go about in defining what is beauty?  How do we appropriate reality in the pursuit of beauty?  At what level is this pursuit something that exists in the realm of the subjective as well as the objective?  I tend to think that these become some of the critical thinking questions that emerge from the short story.  The reason they are critical thinking questions is because there is no easy answer to them.  Walker gives a strong portrait of how beauty impacts the individual and how what it means to be beautiful operates a source of both isolation and solidarity.  When the "entire world" is evident in her eye, Walker begins to reflect on how there is a solidarity which can emerge from beauty, that being with her child.  I think that this is where the questions about beauty, its physical experience and the impact it leaves on the psyche, becomes a topic for critical exploration.  Precisely because there are no simple answers to something that defines our fundamental state of being, it becomes topic for critical thinking out of the story.


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