Alice Walker Beauty

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Consumed with Vanity In the essay “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self” (1983) by Alice Walker exhibits the effects vanity had on her from a young age until she became partially blind due to one of her brothers accidently shooting her eye with a BB gun. Because of this incident, Walker was forced to confront her fears—not being beautiful and never looking up—regarding her physical appearance using rhetorical strategies to help contribute to her struggles of becoming comfortable in her own skin once again. Throughout Walker’s narrative she adopts the use of chronological order to show the effects vanity had on her in different times of her life. Walker begins the narrative by demonstrating to the readers how even at the age of “two and…show more content…
Walker refers to her scar as a “glob of whitish scar tissue” (48) rather than just a scar in order to give a concrete image to the readers. This description aids the reader’s understanding of how her physical appearance was her way of defining her beauty and the “glob” (49) was a constant reminder that she was not beautiful enough. The author also exploits descriptive language to demonstrate the pride she took in the materialistic items that made her pretty (“[N]ew t-strap patent leather” 47). These descriptions add to the rhetor’s purpose because the phrases define the denotative meanings behind the imagery created; Walker is able to create a very specific image of each scene in the narrative to help show her priorities were directed by her vanity (“[L]ooking at my recent school picture, which I did not want taken, and on which the ‘glob’, as I think of it is clearly visible”49; “I do not pray for sight. I pray for beauty”49). The fact that Walker goes in depth as to why she does not want a school…show more content…
The repetition of these short phrases helps emphasize the anger Walker felt after the accident because she thought she would not be able to ever look up again; Walker puts “you did not change” (49) after every paragraph that is provided with reasons as to her resentment towards her scar. This addition of these smoothly stitched in quotes into the paragraphs of her narrative administers the readers with the constant reminder her family had on her as she struggled to accept her scar (“you did not change” 49). Once Walker shares the story of her scar getting removed the “you did not change”(49) is repeated only once more; this break in repetition shows that once her view of physical beauty is restored she no longer has to ask her family if she changed because she feel as if she “become[s] a different person” (49) because she is now comfortable enough with her appearance that she lifts her head (“ Now that I raise my head I win the boyfriend of my dreams. Now that I’ve raised my head I have plenty of friends.”49). This repetition aids the audience get an idea of the author’s motives for not looking up when she was
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