Uglies Study Guide


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Part I: Turning Pretty
1 - New Pretty Town 2 - Best Friends Forever 3 - Shay 4 - Wipe Out 5 - Facing the Future
 6- Pretty Boring  7 - Rapids 8 - The Rusty Ruins 9 - Waiting for David 10 - Fight
11- Last Trick 12 - Operation 13 - Special Circumstances 14 - Ugly for Life 15 - Peris
16 - Infiltrator        
Part II: The Smoke
17 - Leaving 18 - SpagBol 19 - The Worst Mistake 20 - The Side You Despise 21 - Firestorm
22 - Bug Eyes 23 - Lies 24 - The Model 25 - Work 26 - David
27 - Heartthrob 28 - Suspicion 29 - Bravery 30 - The Secret 31 - Pretty Minds
32 - Burning Bridges        
Part III: Into the Fire
33 - Invasion 34 - The Rabbit Pen 35 - In Case of Damage 36 - Run 37 - Amazing
38 - Ruin 39 - Maddy & Az 40 - The Oil Plague 41 - Familiar Sights 42 - Accomplices
43 - Over the Edge 44 - Inside 45 - Rescue 46 - Getaway 47 - Night Alone
48 - Hippocratic Oath 49 - Confessions 50 - Down the River    
Post-Reading Questions


Part I: Turning Pretty

1.   Chapter 1: New Pretty Town

a.    What are some details that suggest a time setting for this story? 4

b.   What time setting is being suggested by these details?

c.    Who is Peris? 4

d.   What two towns does the river divide? 6

e.    How does a pretty’s “magic” make uglies feel? 8

f.     What kind of mask does Tally wear? 10

2.   Chapter 2: Best Friends Forever

a.    How does the person falling from the tower not die? 11

b.   How did Peris change from an ugly into a pretty? 13

c.    What is one of the functions of Tally’s interface ring? 15

d.   What are some of the features that make someone pretty? 16

e.    What is Tally’s plan for escaping Garbo Mansion? 19

f.     “What was worse in New Pretty Town, she wondered?  Your mansion burning down, or an ugly crashing your party?”  What does Tally’s question tell us about how pretties think?

3.   Chapter 3: Shay

a.    Why are there sirens going off at the beginning of this chapter? 21, 24

b.   Why did Peris have a scar that matched Tally’s? 25

c.    Why doesn’t Peris have his scar anymore? 25

d.   How might Peris’s scar be a symbol for the relationship between uglies and pretties?

e.    What are some parts of the operation to make people pretty? 25

f.     Would you have this operation done?

g.    How many levels of being pretty do you definitely know about? 26

h.   How many levels of being pretty do you guess there are?  Why?

i.      What is the allusion on page 28 a reference to?

j.      Why is Shay in New Pretty Town? 29

k.   How did Shay get to New Pretty Town? 30

4.   Chapter 4: Wipe Out

a.    How do the crash bracelets keep Tally from hurting herself when she falls? 33

b.   What is Tally’s ugly nickname? 36

c.    What surprising information does Shay share with Tally? 37

d.   According to Tally, why don’t their pretty friends visit Tally & Shay? 38

e.    What was Peris’s nickname? 38

f.     What is Shay’s nickname? 36

5.   Chapter 5: Facing the Future

a.    How many morphos does Shay have? 40

b.   What does “symmetry” mean? 42

c.    What is a morpho? 39-44

d.   On page 44, Shay says, “Everyone judged everyone else on their appearance.  People who were taller got better jobs, and people even voted for some politicians just because they weren’t quite as ugly as everybody else.”  This is information from an actual study of real people from 2004.  Do you agree with Tally that making everyone the same level of pretty will help get rid of this problem? 

e.    What is Shay’s opinion about becoming pretty?  Use details from both Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 to support your answer. 

f.     In modern America, advertisements in magazines and on TV feature beautiful people to help make products sell better.  How might this relate to Shay’s thoughts about making morphos? 

6.   Chapter 6: Pretty Boring

a.    To where does Shay want to make a night trip? 48

b.   Do you agree that “being required to have fun” is boring? Explain your answer.

c.    What are two topics Tally doesn’t know about? 51, 52

7.   Chapter 7: Rapids

a.    Based on the description of the pretty operation on page 50, do you think this is something you would do?  Use details from the book to support your answer. 

b.   On pages 53 and 54, Tally notices that it’s almost like the dorms are purposely designed to allow uglies to sneak out.  What might be a reason for the government to purposely allow the uglies to sneak out?

c.    How come Shay and Tally’s hoverboards won’t tell on them when they go out at night? 54

d.   Shay thinks Peris told Tally to not take risks for what reason? 55

e.    What makes hoverboards hover? 58

f.     What happens if your hoverboard leaves a safe operating area? 59

g.    How can the hoverboards work on the river? 60

8.   Chapter 8: The Rusty Ruins

a.    Based on the details from the story, who were the Rusties? 61-63

b.   Do you agree with Shay that the “trick” she played on Tally by not telling her about the gap in the rollercoaster was a good trick? Explain your answer.

c.    Explain the process that allowed some uglies to discover the rollercoaster. 67

9.   Chapter 9: Waiting for David

a.    Who is David? 71

b.   Is David real? 73

c.    Explain what Tally means when she thinks, “Being in the city all the time made everything fake, in a way” (74). 

10.                     Chapter 10: Fight

a.    According to Tally, at what age do you become an ugly? 77

b.   What is the prank Shay and Tally play on the new uglies? 79-80

c.    Why did Tally and Shay wear disguises? 79

d.   Why is swimming a “great trick” (81)?

e.    Do you agree with Shay or Tally in their argument on pages 82-84?

11.                     Chapter 11: Last Trick

a.    Do you think 15 year-olds should be allowed to get plastic surgery?  Explain your answer.

b.   What is the “last trick” Shay wants to perform? 89

c.    What is the name of the place David lives? 91

d.   On page 92, Shay and Tally debate over what it would mean if everyone was ugly; Shay says that would mean no one is ugly, but Tally thinks that means no one is pretty.  Who is right?

e.    At what age does the pretty operation no longer work? 93

12.                     Chapter 12: Operation

a.    After reading the description of the operation on page 97, do you think the pretties are still human?  Explain your answer.

b.   Why do you think that the place where late pretties live is called “Crumblyville”?

c.    How do most middle pretties make Tally feel? 98-99, 101

13.                     Chapter 13: Special Circumstances

a.    What are these new middle pretties like? 103, 104

b.   Why are people’s eyes getting flashed? 98, 100, 103

c.    What does the fact that Tally has always called everyone, even adults, by their first names tell us about her society? 104

d.   What is the purpose of “Special Circumstances”? 106-107

e.    Why would the Special Circumstances building be “designed to make its occupants vaguely nauseated” (103)?

f.     What is your opinion about the structure and functions of the city as described on pages 106-107?

g.    Look back at Chapter 7: “Rapids”, especially the second study guide question.  How does Special Circumstances seem to decide whether or not an ugly is clever? 108

14.                     Chapter 14: Ugly for Life

a.    Why might Tally find it important to realize that “Special Circumstances could make mistakes” (113)?

b.   Who are Ellie and Sol? 114

c.    What is their advice to Tally? 115-119

15.                     Chapter 15: Peris

a.    What does “bubbly” mean? 124

b.   What does “bogus” mean? 124

c.    “Rationalize” means “to come up with a reason to do something you want to, even though you know you shouldn’t do it”.  How does Tally rationalize breaking her promise to Shay?

d.   The sun has risen, and Peris says “It’s almost past my bedtime” (127).  What does that tell us about how pretties live?

16.                     Chapter 16: Infiltrator

a.    Do you agree with Dr. Cable when she says, “We always have choices” (129)?

b.   What does Dr. Cable expect Tally to do? 132-133

c.    How is Special Circumstances going to find Tally when she gets to the Smoke? 134

d.   What finally convinces Tally to infiltrate the Smoke? 135


Part II: The Smoke

17.                     Chapter 17: Leaving

a.    What are some of the special features of Tally’s new hoverboard? 139-141

b.   Explain the metaphor Tally makes to compare Shay to the roller coaster.  143

c.    What is the long, flat “roller coaster”? 145, 147

18.                     Chapter 18: Spagbol

a.    How does Tally learn that in the wild, “[m]istakes have serious consequences” (Westerfeld 150)? 148-150

b.   What does Tally mean when she thinks that she could have “ended up so much SpagBol at the bottom of the cliffs” (Westerfeld 152)?

19.                     Chapter 19: The Worst Mistake

a.    How did Tally get across the second break in the tracks? 159-160

b.   What lesson did Tally learn from the past? 163

20.                     Chapter 20: The Side you Despise

a.    Why is the right side the side Tally despises? 167

b.   Why does Tally try to hide her hoverboard as it charges? 170

21.                     Chapter 21: Firestorm

a.    Who set the fire? 174-175

22.                     Chapter 22: Bug Eyes

a.    Where are the rangers from? 180

b.   What is the machine the rangers fly ? 180

c.    Why are there so many white flowers? 181

d.   What is a monoculture? 181

e.    How far into the future is this story set? 181

f.     Why do the rangers burn the flowers? 182

g.    What do the flowers symbolize? 182-183

h.   What does the fact that Tally doesn’t know what a volunteer is (184) tell us about her society?

23.                     Chapter 23: Lies

a.    Why is David able to find a homing device on Tally, and why don’t the Smokies think she’s a traitor when they find the device? 188-189

b.   Why does Croy want Tally’s SpagBol? 190

24.                     Chapter 24: The Model

a.    Why is Tally so shocked when she finds out on page 195 that the Smokies cut down trees?

b.   How do the Smokies compensate for cutting down trees? 196

c.    How are the Smokies able to use hoverboards in the Smoke? 196

d.   Why is Tally so surprised by the magazines Shay shows her? 196-200

e.    Why do you think Tally is so surprised at the idea of “work”?

25.                     Chapter 25: Work

a.    What is it that makes the younger Smokies seem like middle pretties? 204

b.   What is a latrine?

c.    What work does Tally end up doing? 209-210

26.                     Chapter 26: David

a.    What does the fact that Tally is horrified by David’s leather jacket (213) tell us about life in Tally’s city?

b.   What is so unusual about David? 217

c.    What job do David’s parents have? 218

27.                     Chapter 27: Heartthrob

a.    What is the reason Tally is acting “weird”, according to Shay? 224

b.   Why hasn’t Tally activated the homing device yet? 224-228

28.                     Chapter 28: Suspicion

a.    What “benefit” did the Rusties get from clear-cutting? 233

b.   Why is Croy suspicious of Tally? 236-238

c.    What is the situation between Shay, David, and Tally? 239-241

29.                     Chapter 29: Bravery

a.    Why does Tally think she is “walking poison” and a “weed” (Westerfeld 244)? (SIDE NOTE: This could be SYMBOLISM)

b.   What is the big misunderstanding between David and Tally? 245-248

c.    What emotion makes Tally see an ugly as a pretty? 250-252

30.                     Chapter 30: The Secret

a.    Why is Tally surprised that David and Az look very similar? 255-256

31.                     Chapter 31: Pretty Minds

a.    What discovery did Az and Maddy make? 263-265

b.   Why did Maddy and Az run away? 266-267

c.    Would you choose to become incredibly good-looking if it also meant getting very minor brain damage?

32.                     Chapter 32: Burning Bridges

a.    How do Maddy and Az know there must be a simple cure for the lesions? 271

b.   When Az says, “History would indicate that the majority of people have always been sheep” (Westerfeld 272), what does he mean?

c.    Do you agree with Tally that it is “not fair” (Westerfeld 277) that some people are born better-looking than others?  Why?

d.   Why did Tally throw her pendant into the fire? Give two reasons.  280-282


Part III: Into the Fire

33.                     Chapter 33: Invasion

a.    What are some qualities given to the Specials by their operation? 288, 289

b.   What two things did the Boss keep for emergencies, and why did he keep them? 290-291

c.    How good is a Special’s hearing? 296

34.                     Chapter 34: The Rabbit Pen

a.    Tally’s idea of “home” changes during the story. How does she define “home”? How do you define “home”?

35.                     Chapter 35: In Case of Damage

a.    How did the Specials find the Smoke? 306

b.   Based on their conversation on pages 306-308, do you think Dr. Cable trusts Tally? Explain your answer.

36.                     Chapter 36: Run

a.    On page 314, Tally thinks of David getting the operation, wondering if he would “have his face filed down and replaced by a pretty mask” (Westerfeld).  This is very different than how she thought of the operation in the first few chapters.  What are some of the differences, and why does Tally now view the cosmetic part of the procedure (not the lesions) as being bad?

37.                     Chapter 37: Amazing

a.    Why doesn’t Tally tell David about the pendant? 321-322

b.   Do you think Tally should tell David the truth, knowing that David will leave her alone in the woods and not let her help try to rescue the other Smokies if she tells him?  Explain your answer.

38.                     Chapter 38: Ruin

What is so ironic about the sentence, “They smelled the Smoke long before they saw it” (Westerfeld 326)?

b.   Why is Tally sad the Smokies left their shoes for her? 329

c.    Why did the Specials destroy the library? 330

d.   Why did the Boss sacrifice his life in order to protect some magazines?

39.                     Chapter 39: Maddy and Az

a.    There are obvious problems with Tally’s story of how she got away from the Specials (335-336); why doesn’t David figure out what the real story is?

b.   What evidence is there that Maddy and Az figured Special Circumstances would one day find the Smoke? 338

40.                     Chapter 40: The Oil Plague

a.    Why is Tally worried that ten days might be too late to save anyone? 340

b.   What was the final straw that destroyed the Rusties’ civilization? 345-346

c.    Parable

41.                     Chapter 41: Familiar Sights

a.    Why is David afraid they won’t be in time to save his parents? 350

b.   What does David not know that makes him think Shay will forgive Tally? 352

c.    On pages 354-355, Tally suggests that she liked being “tracked and monitored and advised every minute of the day” (Westerfeld) before she left the city.  Why might she have liked that?

d.   Tally and David will have to jump 20 meters above and 20 meters past the Special Circumstances sensor wire fence.  How many feet is 20 meters? About how many building stories is 20 meters?

42.                     Chapter 42: Accomplices

a.    What does mutinous (360) mean?

b.   What does competent (361) mean?

c.    How long has it been since the Specials took the Smokies? 361

d.   Why doesn’t Tally want to admit to the Uglies that the Smoke has been destroyed? 365

e.    Why do you think Tally wants these Uglies to create a diversion?

f.     What does this chapter title mean?

43.                     Chapter 43: Over the Edge

a.    What detail shows exactly how much Tally dislikes eating dehydrated food? 367

b.   Why is Tally’s diversion (369) almost guaranteed to draw out Special Circumstances?

44.                     Chapter 44: Inside

a.    When Tally landed after jumping down the elevator shaft, why where there voices from under her feet (376)? 377

b.   What is a morgue (378)?  Why didn’t David want to check it?

c.    How are doors unlocked in Tally’s city? 379-380

45.                     Chapter 45: Rescue

a.    Why was Shay forced to have the operation? 383

b.   How does Shay feel about having had the operation? 383-384

46.                     Chapter 46: Getaway

a.    Why doesn’t Maddy want David to ride with Tally? 391, 385

b.   Should Tally accept Shay’s forgiveness? 397

47.                     Chapter 47: Night Alone

a.    What is “bogusness” (401)?

b.   Explain the title of this chapter.

48.                     Chapter 48: Hippocratic Oath

a.    Why don’t the uglies believe in Special Circumstances (405-406)?

b.   What does “bubbly” mean? 408

c.    After reading Maddy and Shay’s conversation on pages 407-411, explain whether or not you agree with Shay’s contention that Shay has a better life after the operation.

d.   Do you agree that it is wrong to experiment on Shay?

49.                     Chapter 49: Confessions

a.    Do you think Tally should let Maddy experiment on her?

b.   If Tally says she wants to have the experimental treatment used on her, but then has her mind literally changed and no longer wants the experimental treatment, do you think she should be forced to have the treatment?

c.    Do you agree with Maddy that Tally is to blame for Az’s death?

50.                     Chapter 50: Down the River

a.    Why do you think Tally wanted Shay to write down her contract about wanting the experimental treatment instead of having Maddy do it?

b.   What would you change about the ending of this book?

51.                     Post-Reading Questions

a.    Are you interested in reading the sequel, Pretties? Why or why not?

b.   Explain whether or not you think Tally is a realistic character.

c.    On page 345, Tally and David are discussing how the Rusties (us) lived in a "house of cards" that eventually collapsed and destroyed our civilization.  What are some of the things we are currently doing that are part of this bad "house of cards"?

d.   A few times during the story, we find out that most people don’t know about Special Circumstances.  Why do you think Special Circumstances is kept such a secret?

e.    There are several themes that come up again and again in this story:

·       When is enough enough?

·       Sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we really want

·       Technology – Pros and Cons

·       Cover blurb: “In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly”

                                                            i.      Choose one of these themes and explain how it can be seen in at least two different places in the book; also explain why the author would want the reader to think about these ideas.

f.     There are many instances of symbolism in this novel:

·       Scar on Peris’s palm;

·       215-218: boulders ready to crush if moved;

·       flowers;

·       327-328: wolf taking rabbit;

                                                            i.      Choose either the first and second OR the third and the fourth examples listed above and explain what they mean.

g.    What are some similarities between this novel and Among the Hidden?

h.   How might this story be connected or related to the Holocaust?







Main conflict: ___________________________  

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