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Beauty When the Other Dancer is the Self- Alice Walker.docx

Beauty When the Other Dancer is the Self- Alice Walker.docx

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Literature 2
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Published by: Jennybabe Peta on Jul 02, 2013
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BEAUTY: When the Other Dancer is the Self


SUMMARY In this essay, Walker narrates in retrospect, with an acquired enlightenment, some of the small events that changed her life. The miscellaneous childhood events that she illustrates are used to emphasize the lesson she learned about life perspective. She recalls how her daughter’s innocent remark changed her outlook on life. Walker uses the story to emphasize the lesson she learned; that even after years of living with a fixed attitude and outlook on life, it could be dramatically transformed by the innocent remark of a child. Walker underscores this theme with the story of how a beautiful child’s world was turned upside down by a miniscule BB pellet. Alice Walker uses this story to present her attitude on how fragile life really is, regardless of age, disposition, and vulnerability. Walkers right eye is shot out by her brothers BB gun. Her brothers then coerce her not to tell their parents for fear of getting in trouble. Having two brothers, and being on both sides of the conflict, this is an overly familiar situation. Also a familiar situation is not going to the emergency room or doctor until years after an accident. This adds a sentimental and sympathetic element to Walkers essay. Walker also presents a second theme of a beautiful thing resulting from a very unpleasant experience. After the unpleasant years of struggling with a scarred eye and the risk of going blind, it has made her value sight with an appreciation she lacked before. She shows her appreciation in the poetry she writes after seeing the beauty of the desert for the first time. Walker’s second theme is easier to associate with, being a teenager and spending a lot of time wondering when the beautiful result is going to show up. Alice Walker's essay, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self," is an account of how the author's life has been affected by a childhood accident that left her disfigured and blind in one eye. This is an autobiographical story. In her story, Alice Walker recounts and compares her life before and after her "accident". When Alice is eight years old, she is 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. Alice traces her experiences throughout life as it was changed by her "deformity": 1. She dresses in her Sunday best so that her father will think she’s “the prettiest” and take her to the fair. 2. She gains confidence to give her speech on Easter because everyone sees her as “the cutest thing”. 3. She hides in her bedroom “when relatives come to visit…”. 4. She worries that her own child will not see her as beautiful and “be embarrassed”.


This event causes this once pretty.yet universal .” (Samuels 526) In her autobiographical story “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self. social class.While in her teens. As an adult. We define ourselves by what we see in the mirror rather than what we know is on the inside. such as race.Her peers make her feel ashamed. She brings the scene to life when she tells us how she manipulates her daddy into taking her to the county fair by swirling around." The author shows us how each of these factors can affect an individual's sense of self-worth throughout life. there’s a world in your eye’”.search for selfacceptance and love. Her daughter’s acceptance makes her feel “joyous” and “happier than she’s ever been in her life”. and family dynamics. “These include a Pulitzer Prize (the first by and African American for fiction) and the American Book Award…. outgoing girl to lose faith in her beauty. and she becomes the “girl who does not raise her head”. and shows us how her life changed because of her deformity.” she tells us the story of how she lost and then regained her self esteem. When Alice was eight years old one of her brothers shoots her in the eye with a BB gun while they are playing a game of Cowboys and Indians. 2.” (Walker 95) This makes us believe that she is satisfied with her looks and shows us that she is confident with the outer beauty in herself. whole. At school the children ask. and free”. Ultimately. 2. “’Mommy. 4. RHETORICAL ANALYSIS We put so much emphasis on beauty in our society today. Before the accident she did well in school.” and “I’m the prettiest. “What’s wrong with your eye?”. She walks us through the experiences she has before and after the accident.and several others. Her brother has a doctor remove the “’glob’” in her eye. She “prays for beauty". as well as cultural ideas about "beauty. which finally makes her feel “beautiful. 3. Flaws in our appearance can influence our view of ourselves and our self-worth. Her essay is a snapshot of a life affected by many powerful forces outside the teller's control. the essay lets us in on the author's profoundly personal . Our perceptions of beauty can change and the way we see ourselves can sometimes be altered by events that happen in life and our self image and self esteem can be altered by these events. 3. the narrator finds an inner beauty: 1. happy. but after the accident she does “poorly in school”. She finds “the other dancer” within herself. the narrator turns to her peers for the definition of beauty: 1. in her pretty dress and biscuit polished patent leather shoes and says “Take me. Daddy.Even as a successful adult. Alice Walker is an African American writer who has won many awards for her writing. 5. 4. with her hands on her hips. she struggles with the definition of beauty. but the surgery does not resolve all of her anger. The narrator’s feelings about herself change when her daughter says. We feel the sadness in her words when she states “It was great fun being WORLD LITERATURE .

because of her raw portrayal of African American struggles and the injustices towards black women. emotions. because “As a womanist. Through Celie’s experiences in The Color Purple. the African American community as a whole.. Alice Walker labels herself as a “womanist. She was the first African American female novelist to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Walker conveys her support for womanism and the female-self. THEME Alice Walker's Themes of Womanism.” not a feminist. and character” (Wilson 1586). and the new black woman who re-creates herself. and the regeneration as an individual. But then. one day. which is different from a feminist. By allowing Celie to find liberation and freedom from the men in her life.cute. Alice Walker stresses the importance of womanism.” (Bloom 52-53 1998).. She concentrates on the hardships and struggles of African American women which she separates into three categories: “the physically and psychologically abused black woman. Celie. Community. it ended. Her work is appealing and powerful because “Walker's novels can be read as an ongoing narrative of an African American woman's energence from the voiceless obscurity of poverty and racial and sexual victimization to become a reshaper of culture and tradition” (Gray 527). and Regeneration Alice Walker is considered one of the most influential African American writers of the 20th century. she sees herself as someone who appreciates women's culture.” (Walker 96) She continues to make us feel her pain as she goes on to describe the day of the accident that changed her life forever. a black woman who is torn by contrary. the main character of The Color WORLD LITERATURE .

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