Mirrorings By Lucy Grealy: Literary Analysis

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Humans are unable to fully perceive the way that they appear to the rest of society. Mirrors provide a reflection of oneself, a backwards or distorted image. Photographs may indicate the way a person looks, but they lack the opinions and thoughts behind processing a picture. This inability to comprehend self in a removed manner is why people strive for a more complete understanding. “Mirrorings” by Lucy Grealy is a piece that examines perception of self, in the context of living with a disfigured face. The effect that this physical deformity has on Grealy’s life is profound, and deeply personal. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is another story that deals with the perception of reality. In the book, the main character Gregor Samsa is suddenly …show more content…
They provide an objective analysis of someone, with opinions not clouded by feelings or other personal involvement. Lucy Grealy’s identity is molded due in large part to the perceptions of strangers. In grade school, Grealy was taunted by other children, and “Of all the remarks, the most damaging wasn’t even directed at [her] but was really an insult to ‘Jerry,’ . . . ‘Hey look, it’s Jerry’s girlfriend!’ they shrieked when they saw [her], and [she] felt such shame, knowing that this was the deepest insult to Jerry that they could imagine” (4). This statement is particularly tragic because it reveals how Grealy internalized the taunts. She took the bullying to heart and felt guilt and shame because of something that she had no control over. Grealy let the torturous jeers impact the way that she viewed herself, a pattern that continues well into her adult life. While living in London, Grealy “receive[s] more nasty comments about [her] face than [she] had in the previous three years, living in Iowa, New York, and Germany. These comments, all from men and all odiously sexual, hurt and [disorient her]” (1). These negative reactions from virtual strangers continue to damage her already feeble self-esteem. She even cuts her hair at one point to “avoid any misconception that anyone, however briefly, might have about [her] being attractive” (6). Throughout “Mirrorings,” Grealy yearns for positive attention. She “view[s] sex as [her] salvation. [She is] sure that if only [she] could get someone to sleep with [her] it would mean [she] [isn’t] ugly, that [she is] attractive, even lovable” (7). This craving for affection demonstrates Grealy’s insecurities. She does not think that she is worthy of love and attention, and even when she does partake in sexual encounters, she leaves feeling even less deserving of endearment. When her relationships do not end positively, Grealy blames herself and her

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