In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

Self-Acceptance in “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self” College

The narrative "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self", from Alice Walker's autobiographical writings, traces the evolution of her personality from childhood to adulthood, describing the debilitating effects of an eye injury on her self-confidence. Walker uses phases of her life to express her outlook on beauty, shifting as time passes. As I read the essay, Walker reveals the insecurities one feels when struggling with any kind of physical impairment and how this self-perception is enforced by one’s interactions in society. Walker describes the moment of insight, brought to her by her daughter’s innocent and honest acceptance of her physical flaw. It changed her concept of beauty, freed her from her harrowing past and brought her inner peace and self-acceptance.

In the opening paragraphs, the readers can notice how Walker identified herself as pretty and cute and always felt confident of her looks. Phrases like, “Whirling happily in my starchy frock, showing off my biscuit-polished patent-leather shoes” and “l say with assurance; "I'm the prettiest!”(Walker 38), reveal her smugness about her beauty. A sense of happiness and pride is dripping off these lines but from where did she gain this confidence and assurance? “Oh,...

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