What is the central conflict in the play "Beauty" by Jane Martin?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The central conflict of the play “Beauty” is that each character wants something the other has. 

A conflict is a problem.  In this case, it is an internal conflict because each character is jealous of the other but does not necessarily have a problem with the other.

Carla is beautiful and Bethany is studious.  Carla wishes she was smarter and could do better in school, and Bethany wishes that boys paid more attention to her.  The irony is that neither girl appreciates what she does have, and both wish to have what the other has.

Carla has so many dates that she can’t even remember all of the boys she dates.

In love with me?  You’re in love with me?  Could you describe yourself again?  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  And you spoke to me?

She is clearly in love with no one, even though there are several who are in love with her.

When Bethany returns from the beach with money and a story of a genie, Carla can hardly believe it.  Bethany tells her she cured her uncle from a terrible car accident, so she can get whatever she wants.

Each character has to decide what they should get if they could get whatever they want.   Bethany wants to be like Carla, but Carla is not happy because she is surrounded by stupid guys who only want  one thing from her and can't have conversations with her.

Carla tells Bethany not to wish to be like her, because she will regret it.  The girls realize:

We both have the one thing, the one and only thing everybody wants.

What is it?  “Different problems.”

In the end, both girls learn the lesson about jealousy.  We all have problems.  We can admire someone else’s, but that does not mean that person has the prefect life?


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