Study Guide

Beauty Queens Foolishness and Folly

By Libba Bray

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Foolishness and Folly

Some satires are more mocking than funny. Beauty Queens does not fall into that category. It's never cruel to its main characters, and yet there are so many amazing lines poking humor at the situation or pop culture that they could fill a not-much-smaller sized book.

Pull the humor out of Beauty Queens and you'd just have inspirational stories about teenage girls finding themselves. It wouldn't be quite as much fun, and there would be way fewer opportunities to think critically about our own, real, current world.

Questions About Foolishness and Folly

  1. What role do the commercials play in Beauty Queens?
  2. Which characters have a real-life counterpart? Why?
  3. What do the names and descriptions of reality TV shows on Beauty Queens say about modern reality television?
  4. How does Bray use the naming of products in the world of Beauty Queens to evoke humor?

Chew on This

In The Corporation scenes, Bray uses humor that deals with the gap between actual aspects of modern corporate culture (like Casual Friday), and the killing people that is those characters' actual job, to make a point about real-life white-collar crime.

The four beauty queens who don't have their own storylines (Miss New Mexico, Miss Montana, Miss Ohio, and Miss Arkansas) serve as a Greek chorus that shows how the stereotypical beauty queen would act, which is not very intelligently.

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