How significant is beauty when considering a protagonists attributes?

At this moment I can’t think of a novel that the protagonist didn’t possess some form of beauty.

Katniss is a kick-butt competitor who doesn’t need outer physical beauty to achieve her goals. Yet I’m pretty sure there was no doubt even before Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal that she was physically attractive..

Harry Potter was initially geeky, skinny and wild haired. There is reference to his awkwardness but as I remember he was never described as hideous. He certainly has an inner beauty (handsomeness) that makes him a desirable friend and a protagonist readers want to see prevail.

Many protagonists have visions of themselves as less than they are, but most of the time a secondary character will point out that she/he has no idea the beauty they possess.

Gone Girl is a great example of outer beauty vs an ugly heart. **Stop reading here if you haven’t read the book and plan to.** I don’t believe this story could have ever been pulled off if she hadn’t had outer beauty to manipulate the situation.

Can you think of a story that strips the protagonist of all beautiful attributes?



9 responses to “Beauty”

    1. I did stop by yours. Sounds like you are sorting some important things out and focus is key. Awesome!

  1. Kristina Weatherford Avatar
    Kristina Weatherford

    How about Sybil – this is the true story of a young woman who began to remember horrible things that happened in her past, and 16 multiple personalities emerged. In the book (and the movie) she is portrayed as someone who isn’t very pretty at all, but rather plain. Here is a picture of her as portrayed in the movie I found being sold on Amazon:

    If you go to Google Images and type in Sybil Dorsett, the first pictures appear to be those of the real Sybil. She wasn’t a beauty queen, yet the book and the story of her life was so interesting to so many of us. I know I read that book several times, and I don’t normally read a book more than once.



    1. I remember that movie. I never read the book, I think I’ll add that to my list. Does she finds peace in the end? What I remember is that she was really a mess, so conflicted and haunted. Her constant battle with inner demons resonated throughout her complete being. Beauty of any kind was probably very foreign to her. I want to believe she not only falls under the care of someone who helps her but she finds peace within herself. And if I’m remembering that correctly, that is the greatest beauty. It’s also non-fiction. I was referring mainly to fiction where we work to make interesting characters. In non-fiction, you get what you get because life is stranger than fiction. If Sybil were a fictional character, people would probably argue that there’s no way that could have happened and refuse to buy in. It’s a slippery slope with fiction because although your character can be modeled off a real situation or person it still has to be believable for the reader. When it’s non-fiction, most reasonable people don’t argue. They are intrigued by the uniqueness of the story and put away their doubting hat.

  2. You make a valid point. I can’t think of an ugly protagonist. Even the beast, in Beauty and the Beast, had a beautiful heart, and turned out to be beautiful in looks too. 🙂 Visiting from atoz

    1. I thought of Beauty and Beast too! Most fiction needs to take people on a journey and usually there’s self discovery or some kind of positive discovery. Beast did have a beautiful heart. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind

    1. She was beautiful and feisty thing!

  4. Hiya! I’m Shalini and I’m on co-host Pam’s Unconventional Alliance Team.
    Dropping by to say hi and good luck with the challenge!
    Could you put up the AtoZ Badge on the sidebar, please? Thanks.

    Let’s have a rocking April!
    You can read Army Wife Tales at
    Tale Of Two Tomatoes
    Also, visit to take a look at 26 lip-smacking Chicken Recipes at Something’s Cooking

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