by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"They aren't freaks," Shay said. "The weird thing is, these are famous people."
"Famous for what? Being hideous?"
"No. They're sports stars, actors, artists. The men with stringy hair are musicians, I think. The really ugly ones are politicians, and someone told me the fatties are mostly comedians."
"That's funny, as in strange," Tally said. "So this is what people looked like before the first pretty? How could anyone stand to open their eyes?" (24.22-5)
Again, we know more about Tally's history because we have MTV. (It's pretty funny how Shay thinks of these famous people: stringy hair = musicians; ugly = politicians, etc.) But one reason why history is so important in Uglies is because they do things differently back then. In Tally's day, there's only one way to be after 16—pretty. But in the past, there were lots of ways to be ugly.
"They don't want people to know what it was like before the operation. They want to keep you hating yourselves. Otherwise, it's too easy to get used to ugly faces, normal faces." (38.52)
And here's David, supporting our thought from the last quote. (Thanks, Dave, you're okay… for an ugly.) As he points out, Tally's city has to keep people from knowing too much about history; all the people need to know is that it was bad in the past because people were hideously freakish and now it's good because of the pretty surgery. Just don't look over there where the secret police are experimenting on people.
"Well, the Rusties did live in a house of cards, but someone gave it a pretty big shove. No one ever found out who. Maybe it was a Rusty weapon that got out of control. Maybe it was people in some poor country who didn't like the way the Rusties ran things. Maybe it was just an accident, like the flowers, or some lone scientist who wanted to mess things up." (40.45)
David may know more than Tally about the real history of the Rusties, but history can be very hard to pin down. Like a hyperactive butterfly. We may know a lot about the Rusties (they relied on oil, they had helicopters), but there's a lot of history that we might never know.