The Effect of Beauty on 6 Fictional Women

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Last week, novelist Adelle Waldman wrote an exceptional piece in The New Yorker's Page Turner about the problem with female beauty in literature. She covers a phenomenon penned by author Lionel Shriver as “casual beauty.” In so many novels featuring male protagonists' female love interests are nonchalantly attractive. It is a trait that is tacked on to the bottom of their other great qualities. Beauty is seen as an added bonus, like being extremely tidy or bilingual. This is, unfortunately, an idealistic cry from reality. Most often in the real world, a woman’s beauty plays a key role in her interactions with men. But in fiction it seems that the significance men give beauty is rarely acknowledged. And, in so many novels a woman’s beauty and the effect it has on her life is rarely explored. We’ve gathered up some of literature’s most well-known beauties to see how their appearances affected their lives and relations with others.

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