Appearances can be deceiving – but they can also be revealing. What they reveal, however, can be more about the observer than the observed. Beauty is really about attractiveness, which is about desire – what one person wants from another. The characters who receive compliments from others on their appearances are often those who have something the others desire to have or share.
While the ostensible message of the novel is that physical appearance is not a clear marker of character, the novel does often link the way a character looks with who he or she is.
Anne gets prettier as she gets happier, suggesting that physical appearance is more than just superficial.