suddenly turn into the
homecoming queen.
Helen: (exasperated) Daria, you
can't possibly have some
ethical issue with wearing
contacts.
Daria: How about thinking people
should accept me for who I
am without my having to
change?
Helen: Right! They should accept
you for who you are: a
complex and interesting
young lady worth knowing,
instead of seeing your
glasses and jumping to
some moronic conclusion
based on ridiculous
stereotypes and their own
ignorance.
The interaction between Daria and her mother cleverly
foregrounds the absurdity of the symbolic meaning behind her
glasses. The material function of contacts makes driving safer for
Daria, yet the symbolic act of wearing them compels people,
particularly boys, to treat her differently. Eventually Daria feels like
a fraud for her improved social status over a meaningless aesthetic,
and returns to her “true” self.
“Quinn the Brain” poses an interesting exploration of the
relationship between identity and authenticity. Threatened with the
possibility of repeating the ninth grade, Quinn’s last-ditch effort
on “Academic Imprisonment” gains her notoriety as a “brain.”
The essay itself is not particularly profound, but it contains my
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