by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Shay didn't look, just shrugged. "That's not me. It's some committee's idea of me." (5.73)
This is the central problem of identity in Uglies: what's really you vs. what other people want to make you. And we kind of want Shay's line on a t-shirt.
"Listen, Tally, these two months are our last chance to do anything really cool. To be ourselves. Once we turn, it's new pretty, middle pretty, late pretty." Shay dropped her arms, and her board stopped drifting. "Then dead pretty." (6.42)
For Shay, being herself means being tricky and not listening to the rules. (And we mean all the rules—this girl treats the law of gravity more like a suggestion.) Note that Shay both objects to being turned pretty and objects to how the rest of her life is planned out by the city, what with different surgeries for the different stages. According to her view, there's no freedom once you're pretty.
"Maybe just being ugly is why uglies always fight and pick on one another, because they aren't happy with who they are. Well, I want to be happy, and looking like a real person is the first step." (10.80)
In Uglies, having an identity doesn't always mean you're happy about it. In fact, it's almost the opposite: the uglies aren't happy with who they are (mostly) and the pretties are very happy but don't have their own identities. (Why do books always make it sound like you can't be happy and be yourself at the same time? That's why we stick with pop songs.)