Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister Analysis

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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister examines the battle of good vs. evil and the deception of appearances. The novel contains the intertwined plots of a struggling mother fighting against poverty and her mission to find a husband for her most eligible daughter, and a struggling painter attempting to make a name for himself in the art world. Both plots are unified by their focus on beauty. The tale begins when Margarethe and her two daughters return to Holland after her husband is murdered by their neighbors for faulty agriculture practices. They are poor, hungry, and homeless after realizing the only family they had left in Holland is dead. Margarethe finds herself on a mission to make a prosperous life for herself and her daughters. Readers are introduced to “Cinderella” before Margarethe becomes her stepmother. Margarethe and her daughters…show more content…
She clutches at a toy society claims she should have already outgrown. Her eyes are described as “cautious… depthless, as if they’ve been torn from the inside out by tiny needles and pins.” As goes the expression, the eyes are the windows to the soul. This passage indicates that Clara has lived through a lot, and her innocence is lost. The reader is left to guess at what could cause a reclusive child such pain until the end of the novel when her kidnapping is detailed. Later when Maguire exposes the complexity of this Cinderella, we see that she does not conform to the fairy tale image of the beautiful maiden. It’s interesting that Clara asks if Ruth is a changeling when she first sees her through the window because Clara also believes herself to be one. They appear to recognize each other as kindred souls. “A changeling is said to be deficient of something essential, either memory, or sense, or mercy.” A changeling cannot be categorized into good or bad, black or white. Physical beauty does not confine Clara to the realm of good nor does ugliness confine Ruth to the realm of
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