Study Guide

The Interestings Appearances

By Meg Wolitzer

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Appearance is a major player in The Interestings, operating in a couple of useful and interesting ways. With so many characters, there's a level of description that has to happen in order to properly introduce someone, but we get it over and over again for most of the people we meet. This is because, in this book, appearance is a way of locating someone in the loopy time jumps of the novel, as well as a way of revealing personality quirks without explaining everything outright. Think of appearance as a bit of a guide through the varied and, um, interesting terrain of this book.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Is there some way that Ethan's ugliness contributes to his later success? Why does his ugliness matter? Or, put another way, does his ugliness matter?
  2. Jules is always talking about her mediocre looks, especially compared to Ash, but can we trust her judgment, given that she's always obsessed with other people/things being better?
  3. What is it about Goodman's appearance that ends up being a drawback in his life? At what point do his looks start working against him, if at any?

Chew on This

In The Interestings, the most beautiful people are the ones that end up being kind of lackluster or overshadowed.

There's a lot of time spent on Ash's appearance, but we'd guess that the narrator thinks Dennis's appearance is best—it's the most lovingly described, and indicates a first-rate personality.

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