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Quotes

Quote #1

Even when she and Peris used to spy on them from the shadows, giggling at all the stupid things the pretties said and did, they couldn't resist staring. There was something magic in their large and perfect eyes, something that made you want to pay attention to whatever they said, to protect them from any danger, to make them happy. They were so... pretty. (1.29)

Here's one stable social situation: the people on the bottom (uglies) look up to and want to please the people on the top (pretties). Notice that this feeling in unexplainable—it's "magic," it's "something," it's because they're "so… pretty." We love those ellipses—we love all ellipses really—because it's what you would do if you were searching for a word but can't find it. And that's the narrator's position here: the only possible word is "pretty."

Quote #2

"So what if people look more alike now? It's the only way to make people equal." (5.66)

Of course, what Tally means is that the surgery is the only way to make people within the class equal. So the pretties are all equal, but they are super-double unequal with the uglies. (For extra fun, note that Tally has no idea about the Specials, the secret police of this state. Good job, secret police—stay secret.)

Quote #3

But nobody ever seemed to get punished, and Tally's promise to Peris seemed ages ago. Once she was pretty, nothing she'd done in this last month would matter. (10.29)

The issue of tricks comes up a few times: Cable says the city lets uglies do tricks to develop their creativity (13.52); Tally later thinks that the tricks are just a way for uglies to "blow off steam" (42.14). (That's the technical term.) Whichever it is, the city society is definitely organized so that uglies can pull tricks without being punished.

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