Lucy Grealy’s Masks Analysis In the story “Masks” Lucy Grealy is battling a lethal form of cancer but her struggle through the story is her self-confidence concerning her looks. As Lucy is growing up, the teasing and her self-consciousness about her physical appearance keep increasing. People’s physical beauty is somewhat important to how they see themselves because it affects their confidence.
Sometimes when people are nicely dressed, do their hairs or makeup, they feel more confident about themselves than they do if they didn’t.
In our culture we almost see a lack of physical beauty or a physical deformity as a disability that prevents you from being like other people. We allow our confidence and self-esteem influence our abilities. The more confidence a person has the less limitation they put on themselves. A person with a physical disability or deformity might feel less free or confident about themselves because how society might perceive them. For example, the first time Lucy is wearing her mask when she is celebrating Halloween she says, “I felt such freedom: I waltzed up to people effortlessly and boldly. When she wore the mask for the first time she realized how self-conscious she was about her appearance and how that affected her confidence. Some people would probably feel the same way Lucy did if they had faced what Lucy had through her life. Although she was a brave and strong person for fighting her disease, the thing that affected her confidence the most was her looks. Our culture judges a book by its cover. People usually will judge other people by their physical appearance when they first meet someone.
That first impression is how we think a person is whether it been smart, successful, confident, or the opposite. People make it so important to be looked as “normal” that they will behave and look a certain way just to be perceived as normal by the people around them. A person’s physical appearance will also influence the way people interact with each other. We see with Lucy the way her harassment about her looks influences her. When the teasing comes from a smaller group when Lucy was younger she would retaliate by retorting things back at the boys bothering her.
As Lucy got to junior high and the group was larger and she knew less people, she became more isolated. Lucy stated that when she was teased in the hallways of the schools she would “simply looked down at the floor and walked more quickly. ” The teasing got to such a point that she would completely isolate herself during lunch by eating with her guidance counselor. As she got older she, “viewed other people both critically and sympathetically. She tried to figure out why people would act the way they did with her and in general, as a way to cope with her situation. Some people have the attitude that they are better than someone with a physical deformity or physical disability because they don’t look “normal,” which they almost see as a handicap. It would help in our culture to break that perception by knowing more stories like Lucy’s in which you can see how strong a person you have to be to have gone through the struggles she had.