Alice Walker's "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self" Analytical Essay on (2024)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Alice Walker, the author of “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self”, writes a short story concerning beauty and its importance. In the excerpt, Walker tells a story written about herself and how she came to be. As a child, she was perceived as the most beautiful little girl besides her seven other siblings and of all the children in her community. At the age of eight years old, Ms. Walker had been involved in an accident caused by playing Cowboys and Indians with her older brothers. This accident caused the little girl to go blind in one eye with scar tissue on the eye ball. This broke Walker’s self confidence and took a toll on her life in the future. Throughout this piece, Walker demonstrates the reality of one’s outer beauty through evoking the senses of sight, using repetition, and an overall theme in order to prove that beauty comes from the heart.

What does evoking the senses mean? Writers use specific vocabulary and verbs to explain in detail a specific event or scene. In this passage, Walker puts a highlighter on evoking the sense of sight. She does this in order to get the reader to visualize the text how she saw it when the events happened. An example of this is shown when Walker goes for a doctor visit at age 14 in hopes of getting the “glob”, the scar tissue, removed from her blind eye. The surgery is a success but walker proceeds to say “There is still a small bluish crater where the scar tissue was, but the ugly white stuff is gone.” (Walker 26).

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In use of this quote, the reader is able to imagine what that may look like. The words used are significant because they themselves prove Walkers main point of the excerpt. In this happy event, Walker continues to put herself down when she refers to mark on her eye as a small bluish crater. Three words that add up to something bigger. The thing that she fixates on is small; which questions why it’s such a big deal. The words bluish indicates there is a shade of blue color in her eye, bringing more unwanted attention to it. And to top it off, she refers to the whole thing as a crater. A word used to signify something big and circle or rock shaped. Walker then goes to say what stands out to her.

That the ugly white stuff is finally gone. She calls is ugly right off the bat. A word she is not used to being affiliated with. Now that the “ugly” part has been removed, she feels a little better about herself. After the visit, Walker is able to pick her head up and move forward through school and becomes popular again, leaving highschool as valedictorian. Without the surgery, Walker still has the same brain and will that would allow her to succeed but she couldn’t fathom the idea until her outer beauty was reframed. Walker let her insecurities get the best of her for six years. A feeling no child should have to endure or put themselves through.

Repetition, repetition, repetition; a pattern used to trick the mind into not forgetting a specific idea. Walker uses this tactic in her piece very frequently to get her point across that “But it is really how I look that bothers me the most.” (Walker 24). This idea is shown throughout the text numerous times. The quote speaks for itself here. Ever since the accident walker repeatedly questions whether she has changed or not. She asks her family this question, starting with her mother and sister. They answer saying no that she has not changed. And she definitely has not. Walker is still struggling with accepting herself. All she cares for is looking as beautiful as she once was in order to live her desired life.

The reader knows this because Walker states her feelings about it so many times. She can’t get past this obstacle she put in front of herself which was said to be “Now when I stare at people – a favorite past time, up to now – they will stare back. Not at the “cute” little girl, but at her scar.” (Walker 24). This was her ideology for the six years she decided to never look up again. She lost herself because of it. Walker no longer spoke up in class, she didn’t talk to boys, and she gave up on having friends. This repeating theme helps the reader retain the intended material.

Now that the background and or history of Walkers life has been displayed, one can now see that her overall theme of the text was to illustrate that outer beauty is important to the self and others but is really in the eye of the beholder. This can be found at the end of text when Walkers baby daughter examines Walker’s face. Prior to this act, she says “Since her birth I have worried about her discovery that her mother’s eyes are different from other people’s. (Walker 27). Here she still brings self doubt to herself concerning her outer beauty.

When Walker says ever since her birth, she had already pre judged what her baby daughter would have thought about her. She is so concerned with this that her baby’s discovery of the eye scared her extremely. Specifically because her child is a baby, she would take more offence to her observation because babies don’t have a filter yet. Her baby’s response was something she was not expecting at all. Her baby girl adored Ms. Walker and told her she had a world in her eye. The word world holds a high significance because to Walker this reminds her of home; a place where her grandmother lived and everytime she thinks of it, she weeps with love. The world is a complex and beautiful planet.

Her daughter compares this to the crater and or cataract in her eye that Walker thought of as ugly. But when her daughter discovers this on her eye, she sees a beautiful world that is bluish white like her mommy’s eye and with great interest. Not until now can Ms. Walker accept herself. Now that the person she loves most tells her she is beautiful despite the ugly eye, she can go on with life feeling better about herself. She now does not need to suffer with self punishment because someone loves her for who she is and not what she looks like. Her daughter is a great example for expressing how beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

In conclusion, Walker demonstrates the realness of how one’s outer beauty can impact their life tremendously. And during her journey she was finally able to change. Walker transformed into a strong woman that she could call beautiful once again. Her will to go on and that strength is what was beautiful about her; not her outer appearances. Walker translates this through her story by evoking the sense of sight, using repetition, and through her overall theme of beauty.

Alice Walker's "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self" Analytical Essay on (2024)


What's the essay beauty when the other dancer is the self? ›

Alice Walker's essay, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self," is a detailed and harrowing account of how the author's life has been affected by a childhood accident that left her disfigured and blind in one eye.

How does Alice Walker define beauty? ›

Answer and Explanation: Alice Walker's definition of beauty is one of self-acceptance and love. She uses her own personal story to fuel her ideas of beauty. Beauty is unique to the individual and found in one's ability to search within the self, rather than on the outside.

Who is the main character in beauty when the other dancer is the self? ›

In the essay, “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self,” Alice Walker writes about how she lost her eyesight in one eye due to a childhood accident. Alice communicates to the reader how, when losing an eye, she cared much less about the loss of her eyesight and more about how she appeared to others.

Who published beauty when the other dancer is the self? ›

W. W. Norton & Company: The Norton Reader, 12th Edition.

Why does the poet say beauty is in yourself? ›

The poet asks us to always think positive and hope for the best. We should have happy thoughts and always do good things. If we do so, our lives will be better and we will find everything around us beautiful.

How does a dancer express herself or himself? ›

For individuals who are non-verbal, dance can be used as a tool to express themselves freely. Instead of using words, dancers are able to use movement to share what they are thinking and how they are feeling. No words necessary!

Why are the people dancing in the poem beauty? ›

Why did people start dancing in the poem? Answer: People were dancing for their good harvest as they worked very hard on their fields.

Who is the protagonist in Beauty and the Best? ›

Belle is the primary character in this film, and she is the daughter of Maurice, an inventor in Villeneuve, a small French town. The film depicts a love story between a cursed prince who transforms into a Beast and a lovely country girl.

Who is the main character in the book A Time to Dance? ›

A Time to Dance is the story of Veda, a teenage dancer injured in a car accident on the way home from a dance competition. She has her right leg amputated below the knee, and is devastated when her dance teacher doesn't want her in his class anymore.

What is Alice Walker most famous poem? ›

Alice Walker's most famous poem is arguably 'Before You Knew You Owned it / Expect Nothing'.

Why did Alice Walker became an activist? ›

in the early 1960s, she was compelled to return to the south after college and join the struggle against segregation. Her involvement in the civil rights movement and subsequent activism helped to shape her poetry and novels, and she emerged as a leading voice of the literary and feminist community in the 1980s.

Who choreographed the new Beauty and the Beast? ›

Jamal Sims ('Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' choreographer) on the opportunity to 'reinvent' a timeless classic [Exclusive Video Interview] “We really wanted to make sure that it didn't feel like what people would expect,” explains choreographer Jamal Sims.

What is the meaning behind beauty? ›

: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness.

What is the analysis about the poem of woman for Alice Walker? ›

"Women” honors the sacrifices and bravery of Black women who fought tooth and nail for their children to have access to “books” and “Desks.” In doing so, the poem reflects the importance and power of education.

Why was beauty so important? ›

Beauty isn't just superficial, and is actually a key part of how we understand and interact with the world around us. Beauty helps us form relationships with our environment, from food to landscape to art, and even with each other.

What is the summary of the beauty poem? ›

Beauty Poem Summary

The poet is trying to say in this poem that beauty is in everything. All the small things we do or the environment around us, everything has beauty in it. Everything has its own importance. All things are beautiful in their own unique way.

What does the poet think about beauty? ›

Note: The poet says beauty is all pervasive in nature, it is present everywhere. Every little thing we do, and all-natural things present around us has beauty, because it lies in a person's heart.

What is the summary of the poem the true beauty? ›

In this poem 'The True Beauty', the poet praises spiritual beauty – the beauty of mind and soul and rejects the physical beauty without virtues. The physical beauty – rosy cheeks, coral lips, star-like eyes decrease as time passes. As a result of the lover feelings for his beloved cool down.

How can a dancer express their emotions and feelings through dance? ›

Generally, wide, swift arcs and rising motions indicate anger, arms stretched toward the front indicate joy, and slow motions with little movement in the elbows indicate sadness.

What are the feelings expressed by a dancer? ›

Dance can be used to express any mood: sadness, joy, anger, fear, and more. Think about the last time you saw a dance performance, and how you knew the emotions being portrayed without any direct dialogue. The word “emotion” comes from the Latin word “emovere,” which means to move, move out, or move through.

What are the dancers trying to express through the dance? ›

In dance, our purpose is to express emotions, communicating physically, allowing those feelings to move through the body, out of the body, and in doing so, to move others. How powerful is that?

What is the theme of the poem beauty? ›

The theme of the poem Beauty is that everything around is beautiful, be it sunlight, trees, birds, humans, wind, rain or anything else. We just need to have eyes to see it, ears to hear it and heart to feel it. We can feel beauty by doing good deeds and always having happy thoughts in our mind.

What does her beauty symbolize in She Walks in Beauty? ›

Essentially, the speaker is describing how the beauty of the place where the woman expresses her thoughts (i.e., her face) indicates the purity of the place where the thoughts themselves dwell (i.e., her mind). In this regard, the woman's face symbolizes a relationship between beauty (exterior) and virtue (interior).

What does the dancing woman symbolize? ›

The dancing girl is featured only in the story "Style," but serves as a poignant symbol for the chaos and meaninglessness of war. Azar is put-off by the fact that the girl keeps dancing, even though her family is dead and her village is burned to the ground—he can't find any meaning in it.

What is the moral of the story of the Beauty and the Beast? ›

The moral of the story “Beauty and the Beast” is that we should value the character within, like kindness, over other superficial qualities, like appearance. When Beauty realises the inner beauty of the Beast, the Beast's outer appearance means nothing to her.

What is the conflict in the Beauty and the Beast? ›

The conflict was between Belle and the Beast, where Belle was a prisoner in the Beast's castle and the Beast was determined to make her fall in love with him in order to break the curse that had been placed on him and his castle.

What is the summary of the story Beauty and the Beast? ›

Beauty and the Beast is a story about a young prince that was cast under a spell. His spell could only be broken with true love. Through many ups and downs, he found love with Beauty, and she, in time, returned his love. They marry and the prince's spell is broken, and they live happily ever after.

What is the disability in the book a time to dance? ›

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who's grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling.

What type of dance is character? ›

Character dance is a specific subdivision of classical dance. It is the stylized representation of a traditional folk or national dance, mostly from European countries, and uses movements and music which have been adapted for the theater.

Who is the main character of the story who is also the dynamic character? ›

Most often, a protagonist is a dynamic character.

What is the main point of Everyday Use by Alice Walker? ›

This, in essence, is the central point of “Everyday Use”: that the cultivation and maintenance of its heritage are necessary to each social group's self-identification, but that also this process, in order to succeed, to be real, must be part of people's use every day.

What is Alice Walker's most famous quote? ›

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." "We are the ones we have been waiting for." "Activism is my rent for living on the planet."

What are common themes in Alice Walker's poems? ›

Across her writings are themes of activism, feminism, relationships, race relations, nature, and heritage. Alice Walker is a prolific literary icon, and if you'd like to join us in wishing her a happy birthday, then we'll help you figure out where to start with her work.

How did Alice Walker inspire people? ›

Through her writing, Walker has inspired African American women to change the way they think about themselves, while the historical women she talked about changed society. Alice Walker is significant to African American women because of her strong beliefs that she spread through her writing.

What is Alice Walker's message about empowerment? ›

Alice Walker once said, “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any”. The main character in The Colour Purple is made to believe by men that she has no power, so she feels as if she has none.

What type of dance is Beauty and the Beast? ›

To get Emma Watson and Dan Stevens ready for their iconic ballroom scene as Belle and Beast, Van Laast had them learn the basics of waltz. To his surprise, Van Laast also had to choreograph the movements for “Be Our Guest,” even though it was mostly CGI.

What dance are they doing in Beauty and the Beast? ›

Minuet Origin

enable the partners to display their elaborate attire. I have put together a tutorial on how to dance the Minuet for Beauty and the Beast.

Who is beauty in the new Beauty and the Beast? ›

Starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the eponymous Belle and the Beast, the film features a supporting ensemble and choir cast including Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson.

What is meant by the quote Life is the dancer and you are the dance? ›

You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance." The joy and vitality that come from being that dance are unmatched by any pleasure you can imagine. What it takes, I've learned, is being committed to experiencing life's spiritual essence.

What is the poem dancer about? ›

The speaker of this poem is praising her mother, her mother's beauty and her skills as a dancer. But it's also not a typical praise song in that it ends on a sad note. The speaker would have preferred to compare herself favorably with her mother. But the times have changed and she dances at funerals.

How is beauty able to dance in the poem leisure? ›

Answer. Answer: Buties of nature dances as trees swaying, birds flying, waves in ponds, bees dance, etc.

What is the main message of dance? ›

Basic motives: self-expression and physical release. One of the most basic motives of dance is the expression and communication of emotion. People—and even certain animals—often dance as a way of releasing powerful feelings, such as sudden accesses of high spirits, joy, impatience, or anger.

What is the central idea of dancing toward dreams? ›

Dancing Toward Dreams: PART A: What is the main idea of the text? Misty Copeland would be a better ballerina if she had started earlier and met fewer challenges. Misty Copeland overcame self-doubt to fulfill her dreams of being a ballerina through dedication.

What is the quote about the dance in Lord of the Flies? ›

Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively.”

What is the moral lesson of the water dancer? ›

The central theme in The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates' new novel about slavery in 19th century Virginia, is easy to grasp: memory is life. In the words of Harriet Tubman, a character in the book: “To forget is to truly slave. To forget is to die…

Can you ever really separate the dancer from the dance? ›

In William Butler Yeats' poem "Among School Children" the poet famously asks "How can we know the dancer from the dance"? Many interpret this line as an observation that some creative acts are so intimately connected to the artist who created them that separating the two is almost impossible.

Why does the poet compare the dance? ›

Answer: The poet compares the dance of the daffodils to that of the waves because he is much happy in the joyful company of the flowers. The waves in the lake were dancing in joy.

What was the theme of the poem? ›

The theme of a poem is the message an author wants to communicate through the piece. The theme differs from the main idea because the main idea describes what the text is mostly about. Supporting details in a text can help lead a reader to the main idea.

What is the critical analysis of the poem leisure? ›

'Leisure' by William Henry Davies highlights the importance of leisure in one's life and how the hectic modern life has alienated one from nature. In this poem, Davies talks about the importance of being close to nature. The poem begins with some examples of what one can do to exhale the stress out of one's body.


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