The Westing Game
How we cite our quotes:
'All mothers think their children are beautiful. Rosalie was an exceptional child, they said, but she was the lovingest person that ever was.'
'My mother doesn't think I'm beautiful.'
'Of course she does.' (11.6-8)
This is the contrast between what a mother should be and what a mother is; it's also a profound question about the nature of beauty, and what that can really be. Flora thinks it's a requirement of motherhood to believe that your child is beautiful, and she sees beauty through the lens of parental love. When Turtle says that her mother doesn't think she's beautiful, the reader knows from other moments in the text that her statement is, sadly, all too true.
Theo nodded, awed by the beautiful Angela, three years older than he, so fair-skinned and blonde, so unattainable. Here he was sitting at the very same table with her, just the two of them, and he couldn't think of a single thing to say that wasn't stupid or childish or childishly stupid. (13.19)
Like some of the other male characters, Theo has a big crush on Angela, but it never comes to anything. But whereas some of the others focus exclusively on her beauty, Theo worries about appearing intelligent and adult in front of her. That means he thinks of her as both grown-up and smart, which is so different from how she sees herself. While he's still judging her based on appearances, at least he's including positive qualities in his analysis.
Why bother with driving lessons, her mother said, anyone as pretty as you can always find a handsome young man to chauffeur you. She should have insisted. She should have said no just once to her mother, just once. It was too late now. (14.48)
Poor Angela. Between her beauty and her mother, she can't win. Here, we see how deeply both those things have damaged her. Her mother's used Angela's beauty as an excuse to keep her completely innocent, to the point of helplessness. She's tried to teach Angela to depend on her appearance, to the point where Angela can't even drive a car. Because of her beauty, she's actually become trapped and dependent.