Welcome to Day 2 or Day B of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. A big THANK YOU again to Arlee Bird and the group at Blogging from A to Z . My theme for this month involves sharing details I've seen in world building and establishment of setting.
Beauty: Contrary to popular belief, beauty isn't always an asset to its owner, especially if your good looks put you in the minority within a group. In The Twilight Zone's "Eye of the Beholder," a beautiful woman undergoes plastic surgery to become less attractive, but the surgery is unsuccessful, and she remains beautiful. So she suffers from being ostracized and treated with repulsion by a community of people with deformed facial features. Call it reverse discrimination if you will.
Sometimes beauty is merely a commodity; in Suzanne Collins' MOCKINGJAY, the handsome Finnick reveals that he had to work as a prostitute for the Capitol. Beauty can also be seen as a nuisance; Helen of Troy is known for having the "face that launched a thousand ships" and instigating the Trojan War. In Arthur Golden's MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, the young geishas are not allowed to enjoy their own beauty; the house mother slaps Hatsumomo when she learns that the geisha has a secret boyfriend.
(Here's a FUN FACT about myself: Years ago, I worked as an extra on the movie set for Memoirs of a Geisha. The film was shot at a couple of the tea gardens here in the Bay Area. I played a resort guest.)
Beasts: Hollywood brings us many loveable beasts- Sloth from The Goonies and Shrek, for example. But not all beasts are closet teddy bears. Take Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN for example. To be fair, the beast in the story starts off being all rainbows and unicorns, but the world isn't kind to him, and before long, the beast mirrors how the world treats him, and he becomes as monstrous as he is on the inside as he is on the outside.
The scariest kinds of beasts live inside physical bodies that appear normal. In William Golden's THE LORD OF THE FLIES, the young boys stranded on the island, left without supervision, become as savage and beast-like as the unseen "beasts" they fear. The wolf in sheep's clothing often pops up in murder mysteries. Sometimes the identity of a cold-blooded murderer could be the last person anyone would suspect.
Can you think of any more examples of how beauty and beasts are perceived and presented in different books?