Alice Walker's essay, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self," is a detailed and harrowing account of how the author's life has been affected by a childhood accident that left her disfigured and blind in one eye. Using skillful storytelling and poetry, Walker gives us much more than a simple report of what happened in her early years, however. Her essay is a vivid snapshot of a life affected by many powerful forces outside the teller's control, such as race, social class, and family dynamics, as well as cultural ideas about "beauty." The author shows us how each of these factors can affect an individual's sense of self-worth throughout life. Ultimately, the essay lets us in on the author's profoundly personal - yet universal - search for self-acceptance and love.