The Face in the Mirror by Blossom Beeby
In The Face in the Mirror by Blossom Beeby we have the theme of curiosity, identity, shame and acceptance. Narrated in the first person by Beeby herself it becomes clear to the reader from the beginning of the story that Beeby may be exploring the theme of curiosity. Beeby stands out because she is Asian and has white parents something that intrigues others so mcuh that they ask Beeby questions about where she is from (Korea). This curiosity is not matched at first by Beeby when it comes to her background. It is only when Beeby goes to University and begins to rebel a little that she becomes curious about who she might be and where she comes from. If anything Beeby is excited to learn more about her background and her birth. However the truth is not as exciting as Beeby would like.
The theme of identity is evident in the story. Beeby does not like looking in the mirror. This might be symbolically important as it suggests that Beeby is uncomfortable with her Korean background. She identifies as being white when she closes her eyes. However when she opens her eyes and looks at herself in the mirror there is no disputing that he is Asian. The young model in the gossip magazine plays an important role in the story as for the first time Beeby is able to see herself as beautiful. Which is probably the catalyst for Beeby venturing on the road of discovery. She is keen to learn everything she can about her background and even goes as far as reading as much about Korea as she can. Though it may be significant that at first and particularly as a young child Beeby was ashamed of her background.
There may be further symbolism in the story which might be important. The Korean food that Beeby buys could symbolize Beeby’s desire to find out more about her background. Thanks to her boyfriend in University she has been learning more about being Korean. She has taken Korean language lessons so that she can learn Korean. The fact that Beeby’s adoptive parents remain in the background throughout the story could also be important as symbolically Beeby could be suggesting that she has to find out about herself and her identity on her own. It is her journey and no one else’s. Beeby’s middle name which she has put so much importance on becomes more or less an irrelevancy when she visits her birth mother in Korea. This too is important as Beeby had held onto her middle name as part of her identity and now she realizes that it is a name that was commonplace and not unique in Korea.
The end of the story is interesting as Beeby, though she does not know everything about herself, is happier than she was and is able to accept who she is. Thanks to the information the adoption agency and her birth mother have given her. Despite being disappointed that she is not as special as she thought she was Beeby nonetheless is able to move forward and there is a sense that Beeby for the first time in the story is comfortable in her own skin. The fact that Beeby can look in a mirror and feel comfortable is also significant as it suggests that the fear of her youth has left her only to be replaced by a warmth of knowing her true identity. Even if she is not as special as a child would like to think they are.