Describe the setting of the novel Uglies. How is it different from our society today?

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emilyknight7 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The novel Uglies is a dystopian novel, which means that it is set in a future where society has undergone significant changes from the society we know today. The story is supposed to take place 300 years from now, after some unnamed disaster has destroyed our civilization.

Setting a novel in the future like the author does here allows him to comment on issues we face today in a more extreme, urgent way. The focus of the novel is an obsession with superficial beauty and people's willingness to sacrifice intelligence and free will for that beauty and the acceptance and admiration it brings. Though a preoccupation and dissatisfaction with how we look is certainly a problem today, Westerfield blows that problem up in the world of Uglies, where the normal people and those who have been artificially made Pretty are physically, mentally, and emotionally separated. Therefore, the most important difference is how he took one aspect of our society and made it a much more critical focus of the setting of the story.

There are plenty of other differences too, which make Tally's life completely different from our own. Tally is taken care of by technology, rather than parents. She brushes her teeth with a pill and applies sunscreen with a patch. Instead of going to college, young adults all get plastic surgery and go party in the city, 24/7. 

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