Analysis of Alice Walker's "Beauty"

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A person’s perception of anything is always influenced by their experiences. Alice Walker is no different in regards to her perception of beauty. “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is The Self” is an autobiographical story written by Walker that recounts and compares her life before and after her "accident". When she was eight years old, she was shot in the eye by one of her brothers while playing cowboys and Indians with a BB gun. The incident leaves a once cute and outgoing girl with a destroyed sense of self beauty. Walker traces her experiences throughout life as it was changed by her "deformity". Walker uses various elements throughout her writing to convey her ever-changing outlook toward her own beauty. She also makes use of various symbolic strategies in order to deliver a clear and luring story that keeps the reader engaged as she describes her life as a flashback. Alice does a good job making the reader feel like he or she is part of the story. She is able to bring to mind memories that may be long forgotten due to her detailed storytelling.

Walker uses the accident that happens during her childhood to prove that one’s mindset can be altered because of a profound experience and how her attitude completely transforms from a conceited and arrogant child into a newly reborn woman who sees a new kind of beauty within her life. She uses different points of her life to build on this idea in separate clear stages. She begins the story with a very conceited outlook on life where she knows she’s beautiful. “I’m the prettiest!”, a young Walker decrees, as she abuses her beauty for her father’s consent. This attitude is further encouraged by the society of which she is a product. She is always used to hearing praise from people such as “Oh, isn’t she the cutest thing!”. In a culture like this, Walker begins shaping into a commodity more than an actual person. Walker herself even views her younger form with disdain because of this snobbish attitude, because she...
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