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by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies Theme of Society and Class

The world of Uglies is separated into the haves and have-nots—those who have had the surgery vs. those who have not (yet). The city even has different areas for the different classes of people, like Uglyville, New Pretty Town, and Crumblyville. (Is it the brain damage that made them give the areas such obvious names?) This is a real extreme form of having a cool table where the cool kids sit in the cafeteria at school. And like different groups in the cafeteria, it can be hard for people of the different classes to interact—so hard that pretty Peris can't even be friend with ugly Tally.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Besides living in different places and looking different, what are the main differences between the classes in the city? How do they live? How do they interact with each other? How do they make a living or spend their days? 
  2. Is there any way to live outside the class system of the city while living in the city? Is there a class system in the Smoke? Is there a class system in the wilderness? 
  3. Can you imagine a story among the littlies or the young uglies? What would those characters care about? Would they be as interested in the pretty surgery if they were so far from it? How would they interact with the other classes—for instance, how do littlies (kids) interact with their crumbly parents?
  4. Are there any roles in this book for other forms of class/social difference? Are people in the city affected by racial or gender differences? What about wealth disparities? Are there any of those in the city? What about in the Smoke?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

InUglies, class is so much more important than individuality that any interaction between one ugly and one pretty is much like all the other interactions between an ugly and a pretty.

Uglies shows that society is totally artificial, with no relation to the natural world.

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