Beauty Isn't Always Pretty

Bianca Gonzalez

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Did you ever idolized a fictional character as a kid?  Whether it was superheroes, villains, evil scientists, cartoon characters, or even princesses, did you wish you could be just as cool, attractive, or intelligent as them? They are, of course, subject to change as often as the weather is in northern Illinois; however some of these characters stick with us and leave an impact on our outlook on life. They shape our morals and our personal view of right from wrong. We cannot, unfortunately, be them; although, we can take their actions and words as inspiration to form better versions of ourselves.

I’m sure you have at least heard the name Cinderella, right? What about the Stepsisters? What’s the first thing that pops in our heads after thinking about Cinderella’s stepsisters?

Not something pretty, I assume.

Often people associate them with words ugly or evil.  But who or what determines someone’s beauty or has the right to deem someone worthy of these titles? Well, in the novel StepSister, Jennifer Donnelly has her character Isabelle, locally known as part of the ugly stepsister duo, progressively embody these aforementioned titles through her tale.

If you’re searching for a cliché fantasy, keep looking because Ms. Donnelly has included anything but the platitudes of a typical fairy tale novel. In 342 pages, she is able to narrate the search for true beauty through a character who desires to finally be seen. All Isabelle wants is to be “pretty,” to be all that Cinderella is and ever could be, to mold herself into a false persona to seek the public’s approval. She would even go as far as cutting off her toes to attain this image of herself, of course with the constant pressure of her desperate mother.  Reading StepSister, is not only for your entertainment–which is an understatement, as the moment I checked it out, reading it was all I did in the span of a couple days–but, shows a grandiose lesson to be learned about the importance of self-acceptance and being your own person through a girl who idolized a false idea of beauty.