Lorrie Moore's Short Story 'You' Re Ugly Too

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You’re Ugly Too In the Lorrie Moore short story “You’re Ugly Too” the main character, Zoe Hendricks struggles with a cynical attitude about life. Zoe Hendricks, lives in the mid-west, teaches at a small liberal arts college and is misunderstood by both her students and fellow faculty. Zoe’s eccentric behavior such as singing aloud to her students or skipping down the hallway leads to loneliness and depression. The only happiness in Zoe life is the occasional visits to her sister in New York. Zoe employs sarcasm, humor, and irony as a defense in handling the emotional havoc in her life. This emotional defense has contributed to Zoe’s attitude toward love and death. Sarcasm becomes a necessary function in Zoe’s everyday life to…show more content…
In which Zoe responds “I’m not married?’ “Oh, my God… I forgot to get married (655).” Zoe uses sarcasm to conceal her feeling of fear that her sister may marry first and that she may never find love. Zoe never confides in Evan about the ultrasound but only hints about dying. Arriving at the ultrasound Zoe jokes with the technician and says “Does that sound like a really great stereo system or what (659)?” The joke eases Zoe’s fears as the technician prepares her for the ultrasound by putting cold gel on her bare stomach. As the Technician continues his work, Zoe realizes that no one has touched or fretted over her stomach since her boyfriend in graduate school. He would press down on her stomach and wave his arms around whenever she was ill and say “Heal! Heal for thy Baby Jesus’ sake (659)!” They were so in love and were secretly hoping they would have a child together. He would put his cheek against her stomach hoping that Zoe was pregnant, but after two years of quarreling, no pregnancy they drifted away. As Zoe enters the tube she chatters away at the technician about “…that rise in infertility among so many couples in the country is due to completely different species trying to produce?” Zoe uses the sarcastic jokes as a shield to protect her from feeling the hurt of a lost love and the loss of a child she was not able to conceive. Driving home after the ultrasound Zoe, looks in the rear mirror and observes a sickly looking person and thinks of her favorite patient, doctor joke “Well I’m sorry to say, you’ve got six weeks to live.” “You want a second opinion? O.K.,” says the doctor “You’re ugly too (660).” In the mirror Zoe observes her reflection and sees the pain and loneliness that has left her feeling ugly and unloved due to her illness, Evan’s pending marriage, and past loves. These events have affected Zoe’s attitudes toward both love and death while using sarcasm as her
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