Study Guide

Pure Pressia's Doll Hand

By Julianna Baggott

Pressia's Doll Hand

Memories, All Alone With My Memories!

It's not everyday that you see a girl walking around with a doll instead of a hand. In fact, it's something you see approximately never.

But Pressia's doll hand isn't just bizarre. It's also loaded with significance. Mainly, it's her permanent scar from the past. We find out that she once tried to cut her doll hand off, but it started to bleed profusely… so she stopped. She can't erase her past, just as Bradwell explains:

"We have to remember what we don't want to," he tells them. (5.27)

Our Good Mother even echoes Bradwell's opinion later on:

"Our stories are what we have," Our Good Mother says. "Our stories preserve us. We give them to one another. Our stories have value. Do you understand?" (37.19).

It takes Pressia a while to understand how she should be proud of her doll hand and not despise it for its ugliness, but Our Good Mother and Bradwell help instill that idea in her. The doll hand isn't just any fusing: it's a scar. And scars, even though they can be ugly, have a beautiful intrinsic value. They remind us of who we are; they remind us of where we've been and what we've seen. By hiding her doll hand, Pressia is hiding her true identity, but by embracing its intrinsic beauty, Pressia can find a newfound strength.