August Fantasy Thread - SPOILERS - Beauty

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August Fantasy Thread - SPOILERS - Beauty

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1Morphidae
Ago 4, 2012, 12:38pm

Post spoiler-y type discussion here.

2streamsong
Editado: Ago 6, 2012, 12:42pm

Here's what I wrote in my thread:

This is a sweet retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. It's very, very similar to the Disney movie version although I believe this book came out several years before the movie. Neverthless, I found myself humming all the Disney songs in all the appropriate place. DD was about 5 when the Disney version was released in theaters and we must have watched it four hundred and leventy-seven times.

So, I was a little disappointed that there was 'nothing new' here. This one probably appeals more to people who don't have the big screen version memorized backwards and forwards.

About 20 years after writing this, the author wrote another version called Rose Daughter which I am reading now. This second version seems so far to be less cannonical.

3foggidawn
Editado: Ago 6, 2012, 2:37pm

The book did come out years before the Disney movie, and there are lots of similarities (enough to make one wonder if the screenwriters ever read Beauty). I love both the book and the movie. I seem to recall reading somewhere (possibly on McKinley's blog) that McKinley is not a fan of the Disney version.

In grad school, I wrote a paper on fairy tale retellings for young adults. It's a popular sub-genre these days, with more being published every year. However, in 1978 (when Beauty was published) it was much less common. I actually think that McKinley paved the way for the popularity of future YA fairy tale retellings. It also may say something about why she stayed so close to the original, when many newer stories have more twists and diversions from their source material.

Here's an essay McKinley wrote (shortly after the publication of Rose Daughter) about why she retold the same tale two times.

4justjukka
Ago 6, 2012, 8:08pm

Ooooh...this read should be crossed with Fairytales Retold.

52wonderY
Ago 7, 2012, 7:18am

*scurrying to find my copy*

6streamsong
Ago 7, 2012, 9:07am

Thanks, foggiedawn. Your comments helped me put the book in its historical perspective and I appreciate it.

Thanks also for the essay that you linked to. It's similar, but not identical to an essay in the back of the copy of Rose Daughter I'm reading.


7Sakerfalcon
Ago 7, 2012, 9:13am

I read Beauty before the Disney movie was made, so when I saw the film I immediately thought the makers must have read McKinley's book. I do prefer the book, of course :-)

I have seen criticism of the fact that Beauty really becomes beautiful by the end of the novel; some people seem to feel it undermines the message of appearances not being important. It's never bothered me, as I felt that the way McKinley handled it the change was just a natural part of growing up physically. I was an incredibly plain teen, who didn't really become attractive till I was about 18, so to me Beauty was like myself. What do others think?

82wonderY
Ago 7, 2012, 9:28am

Love colors how we perceive the attractiveness of someone. When I'm in the right frame of mind, I can see beauty in anyone.

9bluesalamanders
Editado: Ago 7, 2012, 11:34am

2wonderY - I agree with you, but that doesn't have anything to do with it. It's not anyone's perception of her that changes, she actually changes.

I wish there were fewer super-attractive skinny white main characters in general, because the world is more diverse than that and diversity is interesting. I do generally find it frustrating when a character who doesn't fit that mold at the beginning of the book does by the end.

It doesn't bother me in this particular case, but probably only because I first read the book when I was about 12. I wouldn't defend it as the best possible choice McKinley could have made.

10catzteach
Ago 8, 2012, 2:44pm

I enjoyed this book. I also noticed the similarities to Disney and thought of the songs during the correct places. :) I didn't look at the copyright of the book so I had no idea it came out so long ago. And the Disney version is the only experience I've had with the tale.

I thought it was appropriate in this book for her physical appearance to change as I also took it as naturally growing up.

11RowanTribe
Ago 8, 2012, 9:46pm

I'm another late bloomer, and looking objectively at photographs, I didn't "grow into" my features until I was in my early 20s. All of my female cousins were similar (and they were all older than me) so I sort of knew to expect it through watching them, and from commentary from aunts and uncles.

Still, when I read Beauty, it was so nice to see a character that didn't start as beautiful at age 14 - I was so gawky and awkward and unfinished at 14.

I always thought it was simply her growing up to look like her mother, unlike her sisters, who were pretty, but didn't bear that specific resemblance.

Since I'm here, I'm going to be totally rude and change the subject to Greatheart. I think my favorite bit with him was how she agonized over him getting plow-spots from his harness.

12Helcura
Ago 9, 2012, 2:39am

I really thought Beauty grew into her attractiveness, too - she had acne (spots) and often one grows out of that, and then she worked really hard on the farm and taking Greatheart out to plow people's fields and so on - all of that would make her stronger and more shapely. Add in a pretty dress and I read it as people suddenly noticing the sum of a lot of little changes as she grew up.

13Sakerfalcon
Ago 9, 2012, 4:37am

Ooh, yes Greatheart! McKinley writes such wonderful animals!

14Britt84
Ago 11, 2012, 2:57pm

I just read it in one go, and totally loved it, and now I really want to read Rose Daughter but I don't have it and neither does the library, so that'll have to wait...

I do like the fact that that McKinley has expanded the story into more than just a fairy tale, with the hardship of the family when they loose their fortune and Robbie being lost. I think it really adds to the story and gives it more depth. I also like the fact that she kept to the 'original' story in the father picking the rose before going home, something that was entirely changed in the Disney story. I do really see the similarities with the Disney movie, but I wasn't bothered by it, but that's probably also because I was obsessed with that movie when I was a child and still watch it 4 or 5 times a year and enjoy it soooo much, so I don't mind the book being similar. I think the idea of the servants being actual human beings, only invisible, makes the story a lot nicer, gives it a nice touch; in many versions it's just an unpersonal kind of magic that takes care of things, and I like this better.
Also, I do like the fact that Beauty changes. I think many girls are not very beautiful yet in their teens, most adolescents have this sort of awkward phase they have to get through, and I really like the fact that Beauty thinks she isn't beautiful right up to the very end. I think it's also sort of the transformation that turns her from child into adult; she starts out as ugly and awkward, and determined to never marry the beast, but over the months she is transformed, she grows, she becomes beautiful and realizes that she actually loves the beast. At the same time, she realizes that her father and sisters are no longer the most important thing for her, but that the beast has become the most important.

Oh, and I do love Greatheart... And I love it when he goes off with the young mare, the sneaky fellow! :)

15streamsong
Editado: Ago 12, 2012, 5:04pm

Just finished reading Rose Daughter.

The characters in this version are even more fleshed out, more fully realized than in the first version There is much more depth to Beauty and her sisters, the Beast and even the townspeople. The castle is even more magical than the one in Beauty and more secretive. Again, there is a wonderful animal character, a cat named Fourpaws.

The first part of the book is pretty similar, but the climax and ending are completely different. We don't learn the story of the ensorcellment (see, even my vocabulary grew a bit while reading this book) until the end and it's a much darker, more complicated story complete with a very sad simulacrum who gave up her human life because she wanted the Beast to love her. And at the end, there is a wonderful, terrible choice for Beauty. Would I have made the choice she did? No. Drat--I'd love to discuss it, but unless we get into spoilers for this book, I guess I'll leave it at that.

The original Beauty is lightness and happy endings as smooth as silk. This version is more gritty, more nobbley with a more complicated ending and bit to muse on after it is over. In some ways I think this version holds truer to the old Grimm's fariy tales which always had a dark side and were not merely tales to amuse children.

I gave Beauty 3.5 stars and this one 4.

16Britt84
Ago 12, 2012, 3:30pm

Nooooo... No spoilers for Rose daughter yet... Though I think I might actually know that version... Hmmm... I really should try to get my hands on a copy. *sigh* so many books, so little money and time...

17Silverlily26
Ago 13, 2012, 4:55am

I have just finished my copy, and for me it was the first time of reading Beauty. I agree with what everyone else has said about the Disney similarities.
For me the only issue in this story and other re-tellings of beauty and the beast is the beast is never really very beastly. By the time Beauty gets to the cast, he is already walking, talking and civilized, would of prefer him to be a bit more beastly.
i was also a little disappointed that Beauty became attractive in the end, and though i agree that some people grow into their looks, i just felt it would of been better is she came to terms with her more plainness and knew she was loved for being her.

18Morphidae
Ago 13, 2012, 6:43am

I gave it 7 out of 10 stars in my "review."

The first half of the book got a 9 and the second half sort of petered out to a 5 or 6. The story was appealing, gentle and interesting but it didn't go anywhere. There was build up but it didn't really ever hit a peak. I might not be explaining it well. It was sort of "that's it?" Don't get me wrong. I liked it and am glad I read it. But it was missing something in the end that would have made it a great story.

19streamsong
Ago 13, 2012, 8:54am

Does anyone else see this as an allegory for arranged marriages?

Somewhere in the back of my head I can't shake the image of an older woman saying to a frightened bride: "Ah, honey, of course you're scared. And he will roar like a beast and scare you but your gentleness will win him over. He will love you and you will love him and you'll have a fine life together."

20Sakerfalcon
Ago 13, 2012, 11:25am

>19 streamsong:: I'm sure that was the purpose of the original tale. Jack Zipes' collection Beauties, beasts and enchantments has lots of French variations on the tale, many of which were told by women to each other at court; they would certainly have had experience of arranged marriages.

21Britt84
Ago 14, 2012, 4:43am

19 I hadn't thought of that... But it really does make sense, the father giving her away to someone she doesn't like but who happens to be rich, the idea that if you do your duty as a daughter all will turn out alright in the end... That really is a good idea, thanks for mentioning it! :)

22artistsn
Ago 14, 2012, 4:56am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

23streamsong
Editado: Ago 14, 2012, 10:38am

Yes, and the arranged marriage aspect of the fairy tale makes me very sad--because the message is sadly not always true.

Beauty and the Beast **was** a favorite of my daughter's while she was growing up.

But now I am cynical and worry about the lies we tell our daughters.

Sakerfalcon, Jack Zipes looks like he has some amazing books out there! Thank you for mentioning him.

Welcome, Artistsn! I'm glad to see your post. I think we are on opposite poles about the message of this book. I would love to hear more of your view!

24RowanTribe
Ago 14, 2012, 1:18pm

23 - Streamsong, I think that messages which aren't appropriate for your preferred culture don't necessarily doom a book.

When I was a child, I loved Beauty and the Beast. I never thought about the background information, or the underlying subtle themes, or how it was possibly instructing me to be kind to my awful beast of an arranged husband - because I never in a million years ever thought about being IN an arranged marriage. It was totally foreign to my experience, so I never thought about it.

Now that I'm older, it's an interesting concept, and I can certainly see where those influences are still there in a lot of our old fairy tales (You want to talk a bad message about arranged marriages, look at Bluebeard!! How about obeying your parents - Red Riding Hood got eaten and NOT saved in the original fairy tale!)

However, on the flip-side, now that I'm old enough to notice and explore these backgrounds and underlying ideas, I'm also old enough to reason about them and talk about how they may or may not be good influences on real-life decisions.

25Britt84
Ago 14, 2012, 11:54pm

24 I agree... I didn't get much of a message out of it when I was a child either, I just liked the idea of a normal girl having an adventure and then finding the love of her life, and reading lots of books while at it :)

I know I am sometimes annoyed with 'messages' like this, but I do feel like I shouldn't be too judgemental. I mean, it was a different time and in those days this was 'normal'. I think most people never even considered that things could be different, they just lived their lives the way everybody did. And in such a context, if you can't change things, it might not be so bad to teach girls to accept their fate and try to make the best of it. If you can't change the way things are, it might be better to teach girls to make the most of their marriage and be content with it, than to teach them to be unhappy about it, I guess...

26Helcura
Ago 15, 2012, 1:55am

>25 Britt84:

Not a bad point - at least for the individual. Consider the cases of girls in fanatical Islamic countries who commit suicide after they are exposed to western media. Why? Because they find out that girls in other parts of the world have freedoms they will never have and suicide is the only way they can think of to escape the prison they were born into. If you're truly trapped, then it's good to have been exposed to the idea that you can find a way to live in your cage.

From the perspective of society as a whole, though, I'd say it's better to offer the information that things can change. Those suicides may force people to speak out and demand change in their communities.

I love Beauty, and I loved the fairy tale as a child - looking at it with a child's eyes and not seeing the implications either. I will say that I perceived the transformation of the Beast to be about having the discipline to adapt and break long held habits in order to please the one you love. Everyone in a relationship has to be pliable and willing to compromise if the relationship is to survive. The Beast's struggle to control his anger and arrogance struck me as a good lesson in developing self-discipline.

Ultimately, I love this book because it is a gentle retelling of the story, and I read it as a comfort book when I need to believe that a girl can find true love in the most trying of circumstances.

On a side note - I know someone who had an arranged marriage and she said she and her husband grew to love each other very much - she felt that arranged marriages were a good thing, because the partners were chosen to be from compatible backgrounds. She's a psychiatrist and says that she thinks that one reason some marriages break up is because the individuals are from different economic and social strata. I don't know if I agree, but it's an interesting perspective.

27Sakerfalcon
Ago 15, 2012, 8:18am

>26 Helcura:: You make some very good points; I like that you highlight the fact that the Beast has to change and compromise in order to become an acceptable husband. He was cursed for selfishness and arrogance, and has had to learn to overcome that over the 200 years before he meets Beauty. And your friend's theory as to why some marriages break up was certainly true in my case.

28MerryMary
Ago 16, 2012, 7:10pm

The message I got was that Beauty came to love the man inside and to disregard the outer appearance. And Beast came to love the girl who loved him for himself, and brought out the best in him.

Sometimes I think we read into stories the worries and fears we already have.

29Kastru55
Editado: Ago 16, 2012, 9:18pm

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30Sakerfalcon
Ago 17, 2012, 5:34am

>28 MerryMary:: Yes, I've always thought that the theme of appreciating the beauty within was one of the strongest in the fairy tale and the novel.

31Silverlily26
Ago 17, 2012, 9:09am

>28 MerryMary: and 30

I agree the theme of appreciating whats inside is a good message to send, my issue is that both Beauty and Beast became beautiful at the end to fully achieve this and that spoils the message somewhat.

32MerryMary
Ago 17, 2012, 10:02am

I definitely see your point about the external beauty, Silverlily. I was more troubled by the theory concerning the forced marriage. That explanation would absolutely never have occurred to me.

33streamsong
Ago 17, 2012, 10:27am

MerryMary, I think your post in number 28 about reading into a story is very true. I know I'm feeling awfully cynical right now... and so.. feel free to take my comments with a bit of cynical salt.

The story of loving a person for what they truly are is beautiful. No arguments with that.

If the theme of arranged marriage is part of the picture, in this story, at least, Beauty had choice all the way through. She chose to go to the Beast, she chose to stay and to go back when whe had the option of leaving. Helcura, I am guessing that the your friend also had some choice about her marriage.

Silverlily, have you read Rose Daughter? The ending is quite different regarding them both becominig beautiful and perhaps was one of the things that McKinely wanted to do over.

34Silverlily26
Ago 17, 2012, 11:01am

Its sitting on my bedside cabinet streamsong, with deerskin to read so that will be next thanks.

35Ennas
Ago 19, 2012, 6:21am

I've just finished it. :)

I liked it, but I didn't really find anything surprising or special in it. Just a nice retelling of B&B. Yet lots of people here seem to lovelovelove it. Am I missing something?

36Sakerfalcon
Ago 20, 2012, 8:42am

>35 Ennas:: I think it helps to have read it first as a teen, especially a gawky one with low self-esteem. That's how it was for me, anyway.

37foggidawn
Ago 20, 2012, 9:09am

#35/36 -- I also read it as a young teen, and I think that's why I love it as much as I do.

38RowanTribe
Ago 20, 2012, 5:21pm

@35 - I think coming across it while young is a big part of it, and another is that there are LOTS of variations and expansions on fairy tales, but not so many that just take the straight story and make it novel-length without adding extra frills and flourishes. It's nice to have a good long story that just FEELS exactly like the short fairy tale itself.

39sandragon
Ago 20, 2012, 7:44pm

I read this just a few years ago, and I'm in my 30s. I found it a great read. Maybe because I remember what it was like to be a gawky teen with low self-esteem. I got the same message from the story that MerryMary did above, that it is the inner beauty that is important and how others see you (or how you see yourself) is reflected by how they feel about you (or how you feel about yourself).

40SylviaC
Ago 20, 2012, 9:24pm

I first read it as a gawky, bookish teenager, about 30 years ago, and have read it many times since. I read it most recently this spring, and still loved it. I definitly related to Beauty when I was younger, and that feeling certainly colours my current appreciation of the book.

41streamsong
Ago 21, 2012, 1:48am

So Roni just recommended yet another retelling of B&TB--The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey. I'm not sure I'm up to a third telling right now but have definitely saved it for later. Anyone else read that one?

42Morphidae
Editado: Ago 21, 2012, 6:41am

The Fire Rose is one of my favorite books of all time. I've read the covers off at least one copy.

43RowanTribe
Ago 21, 2012, 11:22am

I adore The Fire Rose. It is not exactly one of the Elemental Masters books, but it seems to be in that same "world" and it is by far my favorite of that collection, and it's easily in my top-five list for Beauty and the Beast versions.

It is also one of the first "modern" fantasy stories that I recommended for my very sheltered mother to read, and she loved it so much that she's read all the others and moved on to other fairy-tales and mythic modern fantasy like Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman!

44reading_fox
Ago 22, 2012, 7:26am

Despite not really being the target audience for Beauty (or even most of Mckinley's books I suspect) I dop really enjoy her writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening half, but as with many others upthread, found the whole Beast and Castle scenes insufficently detailed or scary. - #18 explains it exactly how I felt about it too.

Does anyone know who/where the original tale is from? I'd kind of assumed it was a Hans Anderson story, but I don't know for sure - maybe 'traditional' is the best we can do! I do like the sound of Rose Daughter though and will try to find that sometime.

45foggidawn
Ago 22, 2012, 7:45am

#44: Actually, though this is a traditional tale with elements that appear in stories from several different cultures (the Cupid and Psyche myth being one of the earliest), the Beauty and the Beast story as we know it now comes from two retellings, both by women, from the French aristocracy in the mid-1700s. Here's an article from the SurLaLune Fairy Tales website -- an excellent site for researching the history of fairy tales.

46reading_fox
Ago 22, 2012, 9:27am

Thanks foggi - both for that informative article, and the McKinley essay upthread. I read her blog (and even comment occasionally) but had missed all the fun of her more permenant articles.

47The_Hibernator
Ago 22, 2012, 9:34am

*NOT LOOKING NOT LOOKING* Just wanted to say I started yesterday so I'll catch up to you all eventually. :)

48streamsong
Editado: Ago 24, 2012, 4:46pm

Thank you foggidawn for the SurLaLune Link. What an amazing site! I've got it favorited.

49pwaites
Ago 22, 2012, 11:59am

I've finished it. It didn't stand out to me, and I prefer her many of her other books.

50catzteach
Ago 24, 2012, 1:22pm

I just picked up Rose Daughter from the library. I will have to check out the Mercedes Lackey one sometime. I read her years ago and want to pick her back up, I just don't know where to start. This might be a good place.

51Britt84
Ago 24, 2012, 4:14pm

I can't get my hands on Rose Daughter, so I fear it'll have to go on my wishlist, and that's a veryveryvery long list, so it might sit there a while :/
I will check out The Fire Rose though, I have found a copy of that :)

52sandragon
Ago 24, 2012, 7:42pm

Sometimes I find if I really enjoyed a particular author's version of a story, I'm hesitant to try one from a different author. After reading Mary Stewart's version of the Arthur legend I've had no urge to read someone else's, because I don't want to ruin her version that I have in my head by mixing it up with another. For me it was perfect. I find I'm the same way with Beauty and the Beast. I liked McKinley's version so much, I'm hesitant to try The Fire Rose because I don't want them mixed up in my head. One I did read was Tepper's version, Beauty, but it was so different and dark that it hasn't displaced McKinley's Beauty.

53Morphidae
Ago 24, 2012, 8:44pm

The Fire Rose is *very* loosely based on the fairy tale. The beast is a train baron and fire mage and the beauty is an orphan and scholar. It is set in early 1900s San Francisco. It's so different from McKinley's that I don't think you'd have an issue.

54streamsong
Editado: Ago 24, 2012, 10:17pm

From the website that Foggidawn posted, there is a long list of B&TB retellings.. I think it is interesting that Mercedes Lackey also has two versions. Her other book besides The Fire Rose is Beauty and the Werewolf.

I hadn't thought about the TV series for a long time although I do (sortof) remember it ....... Vincent, I believe???

55sandragon
Editado: Ago 24, 2012, 10:16pm

53 - Good to know, Morphy. I just took a look at some reviews and I like the idea of a sassy Rose/Beauty.

Oh, and the reason Tepper's Beauty didn't mix with McKinley's Beauty and I had no problems with it - Tepper's Beauty is actually Sleeping Beauty. Sheesh.
*gives head a knock in hopes of jumpstarting the memory cells*

56Helcura
Ago 25, 2012, 4:09am

>34 Silverlily26:

I love Deerskin; it's one of my all-time favorites with great themes of survival and renewal. I hope you get to it soon. :)

57Morphidae
Ago 25, 2012, 6:48am

>55 sandragon: Oh, she's certainly sassy! Smart, too.

58The_Hibernator
Ago 25, 2012, 8:23pm

Phew! I finished and I must say, this is a fascinating thread. I wish I'd participated earlier, but I had to finish the book.

I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed this story because is was so canonical. I like having interesting "loosely based' stories (like The Fire Rose is) but I didn't know how much I missed the canonical story until now. This book didn't remind me of the Disney version so much as another movie that I saw many years ago and loved. I imagine Disney just used the canonical story rather than borrowing from McKinley's novel. But who knows?

As for arranged marriages, I think that they have a worse reputation than they deserve. No, I don't think young girls should be married against their wills...but I DO think that setting up a young man and woman who have similar values and backgrounds is actually very useful. I think that many marriages don't work these days because the couple don't have the same values...whether those be religious, financial, child-rearing-philosophy, etc. Also, in an arranged marriage, the families are joined just as much as the young couple is. And that makes for an excellent support system. :)

I will read The Rose Daughter now. :)

59The_Hibernator
Ago 26, 2012, 6:28am

Also, I forgot to say my thoughts on her growing beautiful.

1) She naturally was growing up (just as other people on this thread said) and

2) She was the only character who claimed she was unattractive. As far as I know, other people never said so. Plus, there WAS a guy that liked her previous to the beast. So I interpreted her claims of unattractiveness as evidence of a poor self-esteem. I figured at the end she was more receptive to her own beauty because she liked herself more--she had made some good, honorable decisions and they had turned out to be the right decisions, and her self esteem was improved. She'd not had a chance to think about her beauty in a while, since she'd had no mirrors.

Evidence of a poor self esteem is there throughout the book. Like that tantrum she threw at being put in a beautiful dress because she thought it would make her ugliness stand out more. That's a pretty typical sign of low self esteem.

60bluesalamanders
Ago 27, 2012, 8:21am

59 The_Hibernator - I never saw her view of herself as plain as low self-esteem - after all, she knew she was smart and strong and resilient. It was realistic, especially after growing up with two beautiful sisters. It's not low self-esteem to think oneself is plain when it's true, especially when she was never bothered by it. Plus, she actually changed - she was described at the beginning as having muddy eyes and mousy hair, and at the end as clear amber eyes and, I forget, auburn or chestnut or something hair.

61The_Hibernator
Editado: Ago 27, 2012, 9:20am

As I saw it, her lack of beauty DID bother her, or else she wouldn't have brought it up so many times. And that temper tantrum that she threw when she was dressed up, to me, is a sign of low self-esteem (at least about this issue). It is very typical of people who think themselves ugly to also believe that wearing nice clothing or makeup will make them look uglier. That's simply not true. Dressing nicely and comporting yourself confidently are MOST of what it takes to be beautiful.

Someone with a healthy self esteem wouldn't have said: "It is a beautiful dress....And that's why I won't wear it; if you put a peacock's tail on a sparrow, he's still a brown little, wretched little, drab little sparrow,"

I accept that I'm not amazingly beautiful, but I wouldn't go about calling myself "little" (3 times) or wretched or drab. :)

I feel she was simply young and had the insecurity of youth and never bothered looking in mirrors after she left the city. After all, they were poor and she probably didn't have access to one.

62RowanTribe
Ago 27, 2012, 1:03pm

Well, somewhere it was stated that their only mirror once they moved to the country was in her sisters' room, and that there were no mirrors at all in the Beast's castle. There was a comment also that she started to brown up and fill out once in the country, and that her spots cleared up then. There is also the bit where her father talks about noticing her changing in the dreams the Beast sends, and how she noticed her stirrups were longer. So I think it's pretty obvious that she's meant to be growing more beautiful as she grows up. (I also thought it was a sweet touch that she ended up being the one who looked like her mother.)

Some people just develop later. My cousin was similar. At 17, he was 5 feet 4 inches, and the shortest man on that side of the family. At 20, he was 6 foot, and happy to be there. At 22, he shot up another 8 inches, and now he's the second tallest on that side! The funny thing is that he was so used to being short, it took him a very long time to remember to notice things like door frames and ceiling fan heights. I can see someone with no frames of reference for appearance or height simply not noticing the changes, as long as there was nothing to make it obvious.

I tend to agree with Hibernator in that I do think that Beauty gives a very accurate representation of someone who doesn't think she is pretty or beautiful. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that automatically equals poor self-esteem.

She did feel bad about her beauty - her nickname was Beauty, and she felt she wasn't! I think there were several places mentioned that she felt her father was being purposefully blind or that her sisters were being nice to her because she wasn't pretty. In a city family where social and societal mores are tied up in being pretty and marketable, especially when there are scads of evidence about how beautiful her mother and ancestors are, I am only surprised she never thought she was adopted or a changeling!

Now, that said, I don't think she had poor self-esteem. I do think she was young and insecure, but she had a great deal of things that she was proud of herself for (even if she denigrated them) and she knew that she had family and friends who loved her for herself, not her beauty.

63The_Hibernator
Ago 27, 2012, 1:53pm

Ah well, perhaps "poor self esteem" was the wrong phrase. I really DID mean youthfully insecure. Thanks for the clarification RowanTribe