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by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Seeing them now, at night, the ruins felt much more real to Tally. On school trips, the teachers always made the Rusties out to be so stupid. You almost couldn't believe people lived like this, burning trees to clear land, burning oil for heat and power, setting the atmosphere on fire with their weapons. (8.7)

Tally's school teaches that the Rusties were dumb and ugly and couldn't dance. (Maybe not that last part.) This is a clear example of how the city where Tally lives uses the historical ruins to make a point. As Tally later notes, her city turns everything into "a bribe, a warning, or a lesson"—and that includes history (41.17).

Quote #5

"Probably a long time. You pass along stuff. You know, one person figures out how to trick their board, the next finds the rapids, the next makes it to the ruins." (8.60)

Here Shay tells Tally how the uglies have figured out the secret of the roller coaster (go fast, don't eat too much before). As Shay explains, this sort of knowledge gets built up by a bunch of uglies, with each generation passing on their memory to the next. (We see this in the book when Tally teaches the young uglies all her tricks.)

Quote #6

Apparently without magnets, it beat the air into submission with a half-invisible disk shimmering in the sun. (20.3)

This is our favorite example of Tally not knowing the history that we know: she thinks this vehicle has some sort of disk, when this vehicle (a helicopter) really has a set of fast-moving blades, like here. (It would be like Tally being mystified by some royalty named "Lady Gaga.") But of course we know that because it's our present, which is easier to know than the past.

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