Uglies (The Uglies)

Uglies (The Uglies) Literary Elements


Young-Adult Science Fiction

Setting and Context

A post-scarcity future dystopia in which individuals are forced to undergo mandatory cosmetic surgery so that their appearance matches the culture's beauty ideal

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is written in third-person limited and follows the experiences of Tally Youngblood.

Tone and Mood

The tone is matter-of-fact, with a disapproving undertone concerning modern technology and beauty standards. The mood is suspenseful, emotional, and action-packed.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Tally Youngblood. The Antagonist is the society at large, concretized in the character of Dr. Cable.

Major Conflict

Tally Youngblood must masquerade as a runaway to infiltrate and betray the location of a rebellious settlement called the Smoke. If she fails, she will never undergo the surgery to turn her pretty—Tally's deepest wish. However, when she arrives at the Smoke, she grows attached to the people there and their way of life, forcing her to make a life-changing decision.


After the Smoke is invaded by Special Circumstances, Tally and David attempt to rescue the other Smokies from Special Circumstances headquarters, where they are imprisoned.


The first description of the old bridge that leads into New Pretty Town characterizes it as more solid and trustworthy than the technology that props up the architecture of New Pretty Town. This description foreshadows the fatal weakness of Tally's civilization. If its technology fails, it will all come crashing down.






Metonymy and Synecdoche