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by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies Technology and Modernization Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

"Not books. They're called 'magazines,'" Shay said. She opened one and pointed. Its strangely glossy pages were covered with pictures. Of people.

Uglies. (24.19-20)

We don't usually think of books and magazines when we think technology; usually we think of hoverboards and genetically engineered octopus-monsters. But notice how effectively this technology shocks Tally out of her old way of thinking. Magazines with pictures from the past help Tally realize that not everyone needs to be pretty. (This is almost like the reverse of the quote above: Cable shows Tally a giant picture of her as an ugly; Shay shows her lots of other ugly faces that are totally fine.)

Quote #8

"Having the lesions is normal now," Maddy said. "We're all used to the effects." (32.24)

A lot of technology in the book (and in real life) is dedicated towards making people "normal." (This is a terrible example, but since we still have nightmares about it, we'll use braces as an example: all that machinery—and pain—just to make teeth straight.) As Maddy points out, one of the side effects of saying "surgery is normal" is that it's hard to make comparisons to other people because everyone is pretty. (Which is, again, why those old magazines are so useful for Tally: the past has a different idea of normal.)

Quote #9

Shay laughed. "It took exactly one hot shower to change my mind." (45.35)

Again, there are some big pieces of tech in this book—pretty surgery, hoverboards, kissing—but there's also some simple technology that a lot of us take for granted. For instance, hot showers. Simple enough, but they really do affect your quality of life. (Quick: if you had to give up smartphones or hot showers for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Yeah, us too.)

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