A research essay for my Topics in American Literature class based on the book “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld. Super long and it doesn’t bug me if you don’t want to read it all - just thought I would post it because I got to do something sort of fandom-y for class. :)
Science Fiction as a genre acts as a way to examine the people who write it and all the complicated aspects of human life that sometimes can’t be explained within the realm of “real life.” In an essay about Humanistic Themes in Science fiction, William Herman says that “science fiction allows us to explore what it means to be human in a technological and scientifically oriented society” (Herman). When you strip away all the laser beams and technology from Sci-Fi, the story that remains is a story of discovery, trying to answer the question: What does it mean to be human? In the novel “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld, a YA Science Fiction novel, this question is amplified and in the course of the trilogy and a subsequent fourth novel, Westerfeld poses the question, like so many other writers: what does it mean to be human? This is answered through the creation of a world where a surgery exists and everyone at the age of 16 undergoes to become “Pretty,” both inside and out. Through the characters and the world at large, Westerfeld uses what is known as “Uglies” and these Pretties to contrast human and a new kind of cyborg to illustrate what being human means, and what people go through to numb humanity by synthetic means.