Summary Of ' Beautiful ' By Barbara Wels Essay examples

Summary Of ' Beautiful ' By Barbara Wels Essay examples

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Barbara Wels’ short story “Gorgeous” is a satire of an obsessive-compulsive woman who seeks a lifestyle mirrored by beauty and perfection. Wels’ writing style composed of carefully arranged lists of words, experimental narrative structure and third person voice, emulates the persona “Gorgeous” and her crazed nature for control and organised stillness in all aspects of her life. By focusing on the treatment of surface and superficially, through Wels’ use of cyclic narrative and the portrayal of the detailed-orientated “Gorgeous” this will link Wels’ story to the broader social context of a materialist culture and the importance of humour in the generating a response to the story.
The character of “Gorgeous” is focused purely on the superficial and ironically remains a vague persona in the story despite her compulsion with details and beauty. Thus, as a character Gorgeous lacks psychological depth and is rather depicted through her momentary choices and her fixture on categorisation. Just as the story begins with “Gorgeous permits not one ugly thing in her bedroom…” immediately the language is assertive and controlling.” The third person narrative voice mimics Gorgeous’ persona in terms of her inner thoughts and desires. Gorgeous correlates beauty and perfection together as the narration also initially states “She hopes, in time, to resemble this perfect outline”. Therefore early in the story, Gorgeous’ intentions are revealed – to construct a beautiful and organised image of herself.
Gorgeous’ conception of the nature of beauty is directly correlated to organisation and detail. She continually lists items throughout the story, measuring out her life in a compulsive manner. As in “4/ bathroom cabinet” the alphabetical listing of ev...


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... plot inseparable, rather acting as a generalisation of a woman in a materialist and beauty-obsessed culture.
Overall, ‘Gorgeous’ is a satirical short story that experiments with the conventions of narrative voice and plot structure. Wels’ simplistic and at times mediocre language paradoxically creates a poetic tone where paragraphs feel more like stanzas and the reader is left with a series of afterthoughts. By focusing on ‘surface’ Wels highlights a materialist mindset where beauty is a fabricated concept. Gorgeous with her fixation on detail and mindset littered with words like “beauty”, “perfection” “Bee-ay-yoo-ti-fill” and “pretty” merges a humorous stereotypical character sketch with the tragedy of a cyclic life where plot and character are inseparable. Wels’ generalisation thus satirically comments on the superficial lifestyles one believes they can encounter.

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