You're Ugly too
February 24, 2014
Professor Belletto You’re Ugly, Too
Lorrie Moore’s “You’re Ugly, Too”, examines the inner thoughts and day-to-day life of a single history professor, Zoë Hendricks. Zoë is characterized as being eccentric and wildly different from those around her, and in turn, socially inept. Through her train of thought, we are able to see that Zoë is preoccupied with her own shortcomings, both in her appearance and in her social relationships. Moore’s choice to set her story in the conventional and homogenous American Midwest serves to show the stark contrast between Zoë and those around her. This contrast leads to Zoë’s alienation, which is only exacerbated by her relationships with men. In all of Zoë’s experiences with men she is put down and is made to feel inferior about her appearance and personality. Through Zoë’s memories and thoughts we are shown the effect that these experiences have had on her psyche. Through the reactions of her students and her failed relationships with men, we see Zoë is so constantly criticized about her actions and appearance that it makes her untrusting and unable to communicate with others. By showing us Zoë’s thoughts and stream of consciousness, Moore shows us the extent to which society’s critiques and expectations of us can bring us down.
Zoë teaches in a private liberal arts college in the Midwest. This location serves to emphasize Zoë’s eccentricities. The Midwest is known for its lack of diversity, conformity and conservative values. This homogenous area is so drastically different from Zoë’s features and personality that she is constantly at odds with it. “Everyone was so blonde there that brunette’s were often presumed to be from foreign countries”(Moore, 69). People who look different are viewed as foreign and judged. Everyone was expected to look the same and conform to the area’s standards. Apart from just her appearance Zoë stands out from the general population in her