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Beauty vs Ugly

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  • Pages: 3
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  • Category: Beauty

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The Beautiful Ugliness

Metaphor is a pervasive and important phenomenon, both in literature and in ordinary language. It is also an immensely variable phenomenon (acl.ldc.upenn.edu). While most associate this word with some physical characteristic of the human body, the more applicable use of the term has to do with the intangible. The way people interpret beauty and ugliness is subjective, but when it comes to heinous acts of humans it takes on a whole new meaning.

            Recalling people from earth’s history like Charles Manson, and even the BTK killer, it is easy to understand why this ugliness is not as easily detectable as someone’s personal preferences of physical beauty. The fictional character Hannibal Lecter was invented by author Thomas Harris and is portrayed in four novels which were turned into movies. This one figure is, to me, the epitome of ugliness. Since there’s only descriptions of him in text, it is left to us to decide what his physical features were, so it further substantiates my belief that ugliness is much more that superficial.

 In some cases the opposite is absolutely true. A person’s physical attractiveness may be less than desirable, and yet they can be something else underneath that outer façade. For example, a Miami bank robber named Daniel Gallagher was reported to be an ugly man, but it was his wisdom that appealed to the people he robbed. Sadly, too, is the side of unattractiveness being the downfall of many people. Richard Morin of the Washington Post, in an article dated February 2006, notes that

So we see that ugliness takes on several meanings and frustrates life on many levels. However, the ugliness that is intangible is what grips us the most. On September 11, 2001 America was introduced to the ugliness of fear and anger brought on by terrorists. We will still be reeling from that fateful day for many years to come. I never want to forget it because it shows a side of ugliness that people should not have to encounter, and is usually forced on the unsuspecting person.

If we can understand the repercussion of our response to physical unattractiveness I believe we would be appalled by our own thoughts. On the other hand, ugliness can be portrayed at the hands of people who might look as good Angelina Jolie or Tom Cruise. Their physical attributes may beauty, but on the inside they could be the most hideous creature you have ever met. As I think about what I am writing here, I am reminded of how many times I might encounter people who are horrid creatures on the inside but have a physical attraction that would make being a criminal all the easier.

The people of history that have done unspeakable things were somebody’s neighbor, somebody’s friend, somebody’s family member. When they break the law and we see them on TV we wonder how someone who looks so respectable could do something so horrible. The History Channel often airs one hour programs devoted to serial killers, and in most cases their looks would be deceiving. This has also added a new relation to ugliness: It’s the type that is invisible that is the most dangerous.


Gentner, Dedre;  Falkenhainer, Brian; Skorstad, Janice. METAPHOR: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, Retrieved January 26, 2007 from, http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/T/T87/T87-1036.pdf

Morin, Richard. (February 17, 2006). The Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2007 from, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/16

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