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She is the teacher who "knew me before I was born" and bought my first baby clothes. It is she who makes life bearable. It is her presence that finally helps me turn on the one child at the school who continually calls me "one-eyed bitch. It is my teacher who tells me my mother is ill. My mother is lying in bed in the middle of the day, something I have never seen.

She is in too much pain to speak. She has an abscess in her ear. I stand looking down on her, knowing that if she dies, I cannot live. She is being treated with warm oils and hot bricks held against her cheek. Finally a doctor comes. But I must go back to my grandparents' house. The weeks pass but I am hardly aware of it.

Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self essay

All I know is that my mother might die, my father is not so jolly, my brothers still have their guns, and I am the one sent away from home. I am twelve. When relatives come to visit I hide in my room. My cousin Brenda, just my age, whose father works in the post office and whose mother is a nurse, comes to find me. And then she asks, looking at my recent school picture, which I did not want taken, and on which the "glob," as I think of it, is clearly visible, "You still can't see out of that eye? That night, as I do almost every night, I abuse my eye.

I rant and rave at it, in front of the mirror. I plead with it to clear up before morning.

Beauty When the Other Dancer is the Self- Alice Walker.docx

I tell it I hate and despise it. I do not pray for sight. I pray for beauty. I am fourteen and baby-sitting for my brother Bill, who lives in Boston. He is my favorite brother and there is a strong bond between us. Understanding my feelings of shame and ugliness he and his wife take me to a local hospital, where the "glob" is removed by a doctor named 0. There is still a small bluish crater where the scar tissue was, but the ugly white stuff is gone.

Almost immediately I become a different person from the girl who does not raise her head. Or so I think. Now that I've raised my head I win the boyfriend of my dreams. Now that I've raised my head I have plenty of friends. Now that I've raised my head classwork comes from my lips as faultlessly as Easter speeches did, and I leave high school as valedictorian, most popular student, and queen, hardly believing my luck.

Ironically, the girl who was voted most beautiful in our class and was was later shot twice through the chest by a male companion, using a "real" gun, while she was pregnant. But that's another story in itself. Or is it? It is now thirty years since the "accident. She is going to write a cover story for her magazine that focuses on my latest book. Never mind "glamorous," it is the "whatever" that I hear. Suddenly all I can think of is whether I will get enough sleep the night before the photography session: If I don't, my eye will be tired and wander, as blind eyes will. At night in bed with my lover I think up reasons why I should not appear on the cover of a magazine.

Then, "Besides, I thought you'd made your peace with that. I am talking to my brother Jimmy, asking if he remembers anything unusual about the day I was shot. He does not know I consider that day the last time my father, with his sweet home remedy of cool lily leaves, chose me, and that I suffered and raged inside because of this. A white man stopped, but when Daddy said he needed somebody to take his little girl to the doctor, he drove off. I am in the desert for the first time.

When the Other Dancer is The Self free essay sample - New York Essays

I fall totally in love with it. I am so overwhelmed by its beauty, I confront for the first time, consciously, the meaning of the doctor's words years ago: "Eyes are sympathetic. If one is blind, the other will likely become blind too. But I might have missed seeing the desert! The shock of that possibility--and gratitude for over twenty five years of sight--sends me literally to my knees. Poem after poem comes--which is perhaps how poets pray.

The desert has its own moon Which I have seen With my own eye. There is no flag on it.

If there were flags, I doubt the trees would point. Would you?

I am twenty-seven, and my baby daughter is almost three. Since the birth I have worried about her discovery that her mother's eyes are different from other people's. Will she be embarrassed? I think. What will she say? Every day she watches a television program called Big Blue Marble. It begins with a picture of the earth as it appears from the moon.


It is bluish, a little battered-looking, but full of light, with whitish clouds swirling around it. Every time I see it I weep with love, as if it is a picture of Grandma's house. One day when I am putting Rebecca down for her nap, she suddenly focuses on my eye. Something inside me cringes, gets ready to try to protect myself. All children are cruel about physical differences, I know from experience, and that they don't always mean to be is another matter. I assume Rebecca will be the same.

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But no-o-o-o. She studies my face intently as we stand, her inside and me outside her crib. She even holds my face maternally between her dimpled little hands. Then, looking every bit as serious and lawyerlike as her father, she says, as if it may just possibly have slipped my attention: Mommy, there's a world in your eye.

For the most part, the pain left then. So what, if my brothers grew up to buy even more powerful pellet guns for their sons and to carry real guns themselves. So what, if a young "Morehouse man" once nearly fell off the steps of Trevor Arnett Library because he thought my eyes were blue.