by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
She took it, running her fingers over the flesh. It was as rough as the wood grain of the table in the dining hall, the skin along his thumb as hard and dry as leather cracking with age. No wonder he could work all day and not complain. "Wow. How long does it take to get calluses like that?"
"About eighteen years." (26.50-1)
Hands are meaningful in this book (see "Symbols" for more about that); and David's rough hands here tell us all that he's not a runaway, he's a native from the Smoke. In Uglies, hands are totally windows into people's identities. (Take that, eyes—you always thought you were special with that whole "window into the soul" thing. But not here.)
She thought of the orchids spreading across the plains below, choking the life out of other plants, out of the soil itself, selfish and unstoppable. Tally Youngblood was a weed. And, unlike the orchids, she wasn't even a pretty one. (29.7)
We tend to think of identity as a good thing; at least, if you know who you are, you know where your stuff is. But what if your ID card said,"Poison"? This is Tally's situation: she knows who she is, but she's a terrible person.
"But hang on," Tally said. "You used to live in a city full of pretties. When you became doctors, your lesions went away. Didn't you notice that you were changing?" (32.20)
One of the enduring mysteries of identity is that people don't always know for sure what they are. (Except for Tally, who knows that she's a terrible person. Oh, we joke—a little.) Here, Tally asks a reasonable question about the doctors' idea of their own identity: if their brains were healed, couldn't they feel the difference? Surprisingly, the answer is—not exactly.