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Introduction & Overview of You're Ugly, Too by Lorrie Moore

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of You're Ugly, Too.
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You're Ugly, Too Summary & Study Guide Description

You're Ugly, Too Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on You're Ugly, Too by Lorrie Moore.

"You're Ugly, Too" by Lorrie Moore was first published in the New Yorker in 1989 and was subsequently included in Moore's second collection, Like Life, and in several anthologies, including the The Best American Short Stories, 1989, the 1997 anthology, The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories and The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. "You're Ugly, Too" wasMoore's first story to find a home in the New Yorker, the magazine considered by many to be the pre-eminent publication for new fiction. According to Don Lee, writing in Ploughshares, the story also had the distinction of causing a bit of a stir in the magazine's editorial offices. With the "turgidity" of long-time editor William Shaw still gripping the venerable "institution," New Yorker editors pointed out toMoore several "vulgarities" of the writing process she had committed in the story. "All through the editing process, they said, 'Oooh, we're breaking so many rules with this,"' Lee quotesMoore as saying.

Acclaimed for the cutting sarcasm and wit that Moore has come to be known for, "You're Ugly, Too" tells the story of Zoë Hendricks, an unmarried history professor who lives alone in the small Midwestern town of Paris, Illinois, and teaches in the local liberal arts college; the story examines her relationships with men, her students, her sister and, in general, her life. With a sparse plot,Moore's story relies on Hendricks's character and the running gags and jokes she relentlessly throws at anyone within listening distance to sustain it.

While one of the major themes that "You're Ugly, Too" addresses is obviously sexual relationships (throughout much of the story, Hendricks's relationships to men are somehow addressed, either through anecdotes, her biting commentary, or in the story's final scenes at a Halloween party where Hendricks is engaged in a long conversation with a recent divorcé), issues of loneliness, alienation and mortality play a prominent role in the development of Hendricks's character.

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Short Stories for Students
You're Ugly, Too from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.