Capitalizing on Beauty in Daniel Woodrell’s “Tomato Red”
True, inherent beauty puts you one step ahead of everyone else. One can poke and prod themselves to appear beautiful, but it will never have the same effect as genuine beauty. Today’s judgmental and vain society values beauty above almost everything else. A person could be the smartest, most witty person you have met, but without beauty; they lack charm and allure. Beauty is not set aside for the rich and fortunate; it is present in every walk of life. It is ingrained in the glamorous world of celebrity, but also present in Jason and Bev Merridew in the scum of Venus Holler. Whether you are blessed with opportunity, or have to search for it; if you are truly, and perpetually beautiful, you will always have your looks to fall back on. The pretty ones, who are few and far between in Venus Holler, in Daniel Woodrell’s “Tomato Red” capitalize on their beauty.
Men in the Ozarks are rough and rugged and by no means pretty, except for Jason Merridew. Rod, the owner of the house Jason and Jamalee squat in, quoted his ex-wife, describing Jason as: “the prettiest boy in the total Ozarks, and the prettiest person, period, in town, here” (64). His beauty is evident to everyone in the Ozarks, even the most contemptuous residents cannot deny it. It seems as though Jason has no competition, and thus everyone is after his beauty: “This is my first glimpse of Jason’s magic; there were three girls waiting for him to be free” (43). The whole town was in love with Jason; they all wanted even the smallest interaction with him. Jamalee, Sammy, and the crucial Jason concocted a plan to not only serve the public’s demand, but also to benefit themselves, “There are all these women calling and everything, offering Jason to practice on them on Mondays, when Romela’s is closed. I need him to woo those ladies so we can get, like, dues from them to raise our getaway dough” (51). The three are desperate for an...
Cited: Woodrell, Daniel. Tomato Red. New York: Back Bay Books, 1998. Print.
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