[Solved] autobiography of a face lucy grealy 2 302

The psychology of beauty is complex not just because the concept of beauty is as yet undefined, but also because it is largely true that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder or how individuals perceive other people or things. The importance of beauty has been taught since the first civilizations. It is known that the cave people of the Mesolithic period (around 10,000 B. C.) softened their skin with castor oil and grease, and also used plant dyes to tattoo their skin. Lipsticks first appeared in the ancient city of Ur, near Babylon, 5000 years ago.

Ancient Greek women painted their cheeks with herbal pastes made from crushed berries and seeds. A dangerous development of beauty treatments was the use of white lead and mercury on faces to achieve a chalky complexion. These heavy metals were absorbed through the skin and resulted in many deaths. This so-called beauty treatment remained in vogue down the ages. The user may be trusted to further itself, for many products it and no one can do without it; but the beautiful must be especially encouraged, for few can present it, while yet all have need of it.

Beauty does not lie in the face. It lies in the harmony between a person and his or her industry. Beauty is an expression. Lucy Grealy’s book Autobiography of a Face takes a deep look at the societal stereotypes and perceptions. At the end of her book, she writes “Society is no help. It tells us again and again that we can most be ourselves by acting and looking like someone else, only to leave our original faces behinds to turn in ghosts that will inevitably resent and haunt us” (pg. 22). This passage is in the conclusions; because through her experience, she was faced with the social and cultural expectation of Grealy’s life after her cancer was filled taunts and stares from strangers. These judgments made Grealy very concerned with the perception of how others saw her. Lucy Grealy’s “Autobiography of a Face” has been widely adopted in high school and college curriculums. Lucy Grealy lives in three worlds: the hospital, her home, and the outside world.

I spent five years of her life being treated for cancer, but since then spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from feeling ugly that she always viewed as the great tragedy of her life. The fact that she had cancer seemed minor in comparison. At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with terminal cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma that had a 5 percent survival rate. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates.

They would say, “that is the ugliest girl I have ever seen. ’ I knew in my heart that their comments had nothing to do with me, that it was all about them appearing tough and cool to their friends” (page 124-125). Leaving her to find refuge in the hospital where her face was considered an illness just like any other patient. It is there where she got her first kiss from Derek, her partner in crime on Ward 10. Her life at the hospital is, ironically, where she feels the best about herself.

Although she maintains a few friends who she had before the surgery and lives among her four siblings, Lucy is alone. She is torn between wanting to be loved for who she is and wishing desperately and secretly to have a perfect face. Her memoir is not a story about the fear of death. Instead, Grealy tells a story about not fitting in, about the unbearable pain that takes up residence in one’s head as loneliness and confusion, about questioning what things mean, about being scared and lost in your family, about enduring intense physical, emotional, and mental pain, about figuring out who you are.

Throughout the book, Grealy demonstrates how innocent she was of her illness, even while going through more than two and a half years of radiology and chemotherapy and fifteen years of reconstructive surgeries. When her schoolmates begin to tease her unmercifully about her altered appearance, Grealy realizes she is set apart from the rest of the world based on looks alone. She states “Being different was my cross to bear, but being aware of it was my compensation.

When I was younger, before I’d gotten sick, I’d wanted to be special, to be different. Did this the make me the creator of my own situation” (pg101)? It is her appearance, not her illness that changes her view of herself. Her entire identity becomes her face, and she tells herself over and over, when my face is fixed, I’ll start living. She found happiness and acceptance through her love of horses, working at a stable and spending time with the animals and the people there, who treated her like anybody else.

But throughout adolescence and into young adulthood Lucy pinned her hopes on each new surgery as the one that would fix her face and make her beautiful and thus worthy of love. Anyone who ever felt different or had any kind of physical characteristic or flaw that they were self-conscious about while growing up will relate to Lucy and what she went through. If you were too tall or too small, had a facial birthmark or a big nose, crooked teeth, or frizzy hair or acne, if you were not beautiful in the traditional sense or were different in any way- you will understand Lucy.

Her profound insight into the beauty, and what is beautiful, will hit home with you. It did with me. At 18 she accepted a scholarship at Sarah Lawrence College where Lucy feels she finally develops true friendships with people who accept her although she is still in search of what she feels will complete her. While there she falls in love with poetry and changes her degree to writing after graduation she further her studies at Iowa University MFA program becoming a talented writer: that her skill is not overwhelmed by the bare facts of her story proves as much.

One of the questions Grealy asks early on is “how do we go about turning into the people we are meant to be? ” For her, for years, the answer didn’t come because of what she saw, or what she didn’t see, or couldn’t look at in the mirror. Years of vicious school taunting and reconstructive surgeries took their toll. “Sooner or later,” she tells us, “we all have to learn the words with which to name our own private losses. During years of reconstructive surgery, Lucy evolved complex rationalizations to give meaning to her suffering.

Two anchors had stabilized her existence throughout the misery: a passionate adolescent love of horses, and an adult love of poetry. Eventually, outward appearance and inner life became harmonious. “The journey back to my face was a long one. ” This often poetic account of catastrophic childhood illness and disfigurement provides powerful insights into the nature of suffering. It illustrates the incongruities in how we see ourselves and how others see us, and how the development of identity is influenced by often superficial social signals.

The impact of illness on complicated family relationships is well drawn. Lucy gives a good sense of a child’s experience of chronic illness and hospitalization and of the defense mechanisms that one with strong inner resources may bring to bear on what is seemingly unbearable. The struggle between truth and beauty is prevalent throughout her memoir Lucy wrote how she sought out sex to prove she was not ugly and learned that “beauty is only an easy label for a complex set of emotions: a feeling of safety, grace, and well-being. ” She said, “I had put a great deal of effort into accepting that my life would be without love and beauty in order to be comforted by love and beauty. Did my eager wiliness grasp the idea of “fixing” my face somehow invalidate all those years of toil? ” (page 157-158). In society, women are especially pressured to wear their beauty on the surface. While never showing what they have to offer the world, therefore, conforming to society standards. Beauty in today’s society can be attributed to everything that appeals to our senses and all objects that are compatible with our personal preferences.

Beauty as we perceive it is largely a projection of our needs and beautiful objects or persons simply cater to our idealization or fancies and reflect our natural need to relate to all that is appealing. Human beings are controlled by the senses and we tend to repeat processes or experiences that appeal to the senses that are harmonious and have structure and form. Beauty appeals to our sense of sight so there is a preference for repeating the experience of beauty today popular icons of beauty are found in many videos and on commercial television.

In her own ending, Grealy says that she realizes that “most truths are inherently unretainable, that we have to work hard all our lives to remember the most basic things. ” The most basic things hope, connections to other people, becoming the person you are supposed to be were apparently what Grealy could not keep in mind. She died of a heroin overdose at 39.

Works Cited

  1. 15 July 2009. Grealy, Lucy. Autobiography of a Face. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
  2. “The Psychology of Beauty. ” Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. 20 July 2009.

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