Response to the Story “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self”
“Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self” written by Alice Walker, is a gentle and easy to understand story. It is not that the story is a boring and no highlight. When reading the book, it’s like I am hearing my friend’s story. Alice’s emotion changed totally different before and after the “accident”. Before the accident, she described herself as if she was the most beautiful and intelligent girl in the world. When Alice was only two and a half years old, when her father was chosen which kids to take with him to the fair, she knew that it would definitely be her, because she was the “prettiest”.
When she six years old, she learned by heart the longest Easter speech. In her beautiful dress, Alice rose to give a speech in a “great wave of love and pride and expectation”. People praised her to be the cutest things and she was proud about that. The way Alice described herself and how other people applauded and admired her show a very confident and sometime a bit of haughty in her. Two years later, Alice was an eight years old tomboy. Like almost other kids, she was trying to follow whatever her older brothers do. But because she is a girl, so instead of getting a gun, she could only play with her bow and arrow.
This is the turning point of the story, when the “accident” happed and completely changed Alice’s life. She was shot in the eye by the BB gun of her brothers. The doctor said that Alice would likely to be blind, not only one but both eyes. She was terrified but what she care the most is not about whether she could see or not. It is her beautiful that she cared about. She scared how people would look at “the glop of whitish scar” on her eyes. She was no longer the prettiest and the cutest girl. For six years, Alice did not raise her head and stare at anyone.
The scare took everything from her: her beauty, her pride and her person from inside. Alice asked her mother and sister whether she changed. What does she really mean by the word “change”? Her beauty or her personality? The answer was “no” but this was because Alice’s mother and sister did not want to hurt her or because they really thought that she had never changed? What they saw in her is her personality not her appearance. However, Alice at that time was only a little girl. I do not expect she will care or think deeper about things and people around her.
The eight years old girl only cared that people would never admire or applauded her again. To the little Alice, beauty was too important. She hated her eyes, she abused it every night and she “praised for beauty”. Six years later, Alice was lucky enough to find a good doctor and got her glop removed. This event, on more time, change her life or in another word, her attitude toward life. Alice moved from a closed person who only saw the world with black color into a positive and active person. She won the boyfriend of her dream, made plenty of friends and got extremely good result in study.
The appearance was no longer important to Alice. She talked about her beautiful classmate with a sarcastic voice “Ironically, the girl who was voted the most beautiful in our class (and was) was later shot twice through the chest by a male companion, using a “real” gun, while she was pregnant” Nineteen years later since the “accident”, Alice was no more a little girl; she had a little daughter named Rebecca. Still, deep inside her, the scare that her different eyes would make her little baby felt ashamed and she prepared herself for that.
But no, Rebecca did not scare of her mom. Instead, the baby saw a whole world in that eye. She saw her mother eye as the most wonderful thing on earth. This totally pulled Alice out of the past. She was no more afraid of her difference. She understand that the most cherish thing of a person is not the out-side appearance but it is the beautiful personal inside. Again, Alice saw herself as a beautiful, whole and free person. The story ended with a happy ending that Alice finally found herself and gained back her confident.
However, I question myself that what if, Alice was never found such a good doctor, and the scare would never be removed. Will she change? Will she realizes that the inner personality is the most important? Apparently from the story that Alice only changed when she got some part of her beauty back. Maybe because at that time she was just a small girl who did not understand much about life and what is the true value of it. If the scar still there, maybe she would change someday when she grew up and maybe she would never change.