The motivation of hope Donahue in doing plastic surgery as seen in hope Donahue`s Beautiful Stranger - USD Repository


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Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree

in English Language Education


FLORA WIRINTINA Student number: 041214058






I honestly declare that this thesis, which I have written, does not contain the work or parts of the work of other people, except those cited in the quotations and the references, as a scientific paper should.

Yogyakarta, February 18, 2010 The Writer



I'm tired of letting go all that I've tried to have I'm tired of wasting time looking up to the wrong stars I do believe in life and that everything is written

But life is not a book with pages wide-opened

Don't search too far, my mother says

And be the master of your destiny

Don't be afraid of wanting changes in your life Don't be afraid to go to wherever you decide Believe in yourself and believe in what you can do And no one can deny the will that lies in you

Try to pay more attention

And live your life with good intentions

Look into yourself

For every doubt you face In every step you take For choices that you make Dreams aren't made to be erased




I praise Jesus Christ as I have accomplished my undergraduate thesis. I thank Him for His endless blessing and for all that I have in my life. I thank Him for any help and support of others, which I believe God has sent to show His love to me.

I would like to express my gratitude to my sponsor Henny Herawati, S.Pd., M.Hum for her guidance, advice, and assistance in completing this thesis. My gratitude also goes to all of the lecturers and staff of English Education Study Program for their help during my study in Sanata Dharma University.

I would like to express my gratitude to my beloved parents Wilman Siburian and Riana Nababan for their unconditional love, never ending support and patience, and pray. I understand it takes a lot not to give up on teaching me the good things. I will do my best to make them happy. I also especially thank my brothers, Agustian Siburian and Yose Gregosius Siburian for their support by letting me using the computer every time I need it. I thank all the members of Siburian’s and Nababan’s family for their material and mental support.

My special gratitude goes to mijn nummer een, Robbert-Jan Pool, for his care, love, patient, and strength. I thank him for his big contribution in accompanying me when I write my thesis during late at night. His dream has made me brave enough to step on my future. Ik hou van hem.



friendship, trust, and support in everything I do. I thank them for their understanding and for loving me just the way I am.

Next, my sincere gratitude goes to all my friends in Gratisons and Genk Chantique, Andrew, Hengki, Radit, Vera, Marin, Desy, Stanley, Andra, Mahendra, Dion, Dian Kencur, and Annaz for the wonderful time that we passed together. The laugh and cry we shared will always be a great memory in my heart.

I also thank to all my friends in Couchsurfing, Maria, Hera, Asheet, Marc, Michael, Mike, Michi, Charlie, Yuni, Jorn, Witri, and Simon for the unforgettable travel time we had. It was our good time and I will never forget it. I hope that we can meet someday and make another crazy moment together.

The last but not the least, with lots of my love, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all my friends of PBI 2004 and all the name that I have not mentioned one by one.









1.2 Problem Formulation……… 3

1.3 Objective of the Study……….. 3

1.4 Benefits of the Study……… 3

1.5 Definitions of Terms………. 4

CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL REVIEW 2.1 Theory of Critical Approaches……….. 6

2.2 Theory of Psychology……….. 7

2.2.1 General Theories of Motivation……… 7

2.2.2 Maslow’s Theory of Motivation……….. 9 Physiological Needs………... 10 Safety Needs………... 11 Belonging and Love Needs………. 11 Esteem Needs……….. 13 Needs to Know and Understand…………... 13 Aesthetic Needs……….. 14 Self-actualization Needs………. 14



3.1 Object of the Study………. 17 3.2 Approach of the Study…...………. 18 3.3 Procedures of the Study……….. 18


4.1 Physiological Needs as the only Fulfilled Needs………... 20 4.2Safety Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery……. 22 4.3Belonging and Love Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic

Surgery……….………... 27 4.4Esteem Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery…... 34 4.5Needs to Know and Understand do not Form a Part of Hope

Donahue’s Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery... 39 4.6Aesthetic Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery… 42 4.7Self-actualization Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic

Surgery……… 47


5.1 Conclusions……… 50

5.2 Suggestions……… 53

5.2.1 Suggestions for the Future Researchers……….. 53 5.2.2 Suggestions for Teaching Implementation…………. 54



Flora Wirintina. 2010. The Motivation of Hope Donahue in Doing Plastic Surgery As Seen in Hope Donahue’s Beautiful Stranger. Yogyakarta: English Language Education Study Program, Department of Language and Arts Education, Faculty of Teachers Training and Education, Sanata Dharma University.

This study discusses Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery as described in her autobiographical novel, Beautiful Stranger. This study aims to discover why Hope Donahue does plastic surgery repeatedly although there is nothing wrong with her face or body. There is only one problem discussed in this study, namely what the motivation of Hope Donahue in doing plastic surgery is.

Library research is employed as the method to analyze the novel. Hope Donahue’s Beautiful Stranger was taken as the primary source, while the secondary sources were taken from books about motivation. The theories consist of Bootzin, Smith, and Murray’s explanation of motivation and Maslow’s theory of motivation. These theories are used to answer the problem formulation.

The result of the analysis shows that there are some important needs which are unfulfilled in Hope’s life and therefore become the motivation for Hope to do plastic surgery. They are safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, aesthetic needs, and self-actualization needs. The condition in her family, her surroundings, her lovers and her friends as well as Hope herself cannot fulfill those needs. Plastic surgery seems to be the way to fulfill those needs instantly, so Hope does it over and over again. Thus, the fulfillment of those needs motivates Hope Donahue to do plastic surgery.

The results of the analysis also show that there is another need which is not fulfilled in Hope’s life, but that need does not directly become the motivation for Hope to do plastic surgery. It is the need to know and understand. Instead of motivating Hope to do plastic surgery to fulfill her needs to know and understand, the unfulfilment of these needs only emphasizes Hope’s extreme obsession to be beautiful, thus emphasizing how Hope is easily motivated by other factors to do plastic surgery.

Lastly, the analysis shows that there is one need which is already fulfilled in Hope’s life and does not serve as a motivation for Hope to do plastic surgery. It is the physiological needs. Hope’s physiological needs such as food, drink, shelter, and sex are fulfilled abundantly from her birth to adulthood.



Flora Wirintina. 2010. The Motivation of Hope Donahue in Doing Plastic Surgery As Seen in Hope Donahue’s Beautiful Stranger. Yogyakarta: Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, Universitas Sanata Dharma.

Studi ini membahas motivasi Hope Donahue untuk melakukan operasi plastik seperti digambarkan dalam novel autobiografinya, Beautiful Stranger. Studi ini bertujuan mengungkap alasan Hope Donahue melakukan operasi plastik berkali-kali walaupun wajah dan tubuhnya baik-baik saja. Hanya ada satu permasalahan yang dibahas di studi ini, yakni apakah motivasi Hope untuk melakukan operasi plastik.

Novel ini dianalisa dengan menggunakan metode studi pustaka. Novel Beautiful Stranger oleh Hope Donahue dijadikan sebagai sumber utama, sedangkan sumber lain diambil dari buku-buku tentang motivasi. Teori yang digunakan mencakup penjelasan Bootzin, Smith, dan Murray tentang motivasi serta teori motivasi Maslow. Teori-teori tersebut digunakan untuk menjawab masalah yang telah dirumuskan.

Hasil analisa menunjukkan adanya sejumlah kebutuhan penting yang tidak terpenuhi dalam hidup Hope, dan karenanya menjadi motivasi bagi Hope untuk melakukan operasi plastik, yaitu kebutuhan akan keamanan, kebutuhan disayangi dan diterima, kebutuhan harga diri, kebutuhan estetis, serta kebutuhan aktualisasi diri. Kebutuhan-kebutuhan tersebut tak dapat terpenuhi oleh keadaan di keluarga Hope, oleh lingkungannya, kekasih dan teman-temannya, serta oleh diri Hope sendiri. Hope memandang operasi plastik sebagai sebuah jalan untuk memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan tersebut secara instan, sehingga ia melakukannya berulang kali. Dengan demikian, kebutuhan-kebutuhan tersebut menjadi motivasi Hope melakukan operasi plastik.

Hasil analisa juga menunjukkan adanya kebutuhan yang tidak terpenuhi dalam kehidupan Hope, namun kebutuhan itu tidak secara langung menjadi motivasi bagi Hope untuk melakukan operasi plastik, yaitu kebutuhan akan pengetahuan. Tak terpenuhinya kebutuhan tersebut tidak secara langsung memotivasi Hope untuk melakukan operasi plastik, namun sekedar menekankan obsesi berlebih Hope terhadap kecantikan. Dengan demikian, kebutuhan tersebut hanya menekankan bagaimana mudahnya Hope terpengaruh atau termotivasi faktor-faktor lain untuk melakukan operasi plastik.

Hasil analisa yang terakhir menunjukkan adanya sebuah kebutuhan yang telah terpenuhi dalam hidup Hope dan tidak menjadi motivasi Hope untuk melakukan operasi plastik, yakni kebutuhan fisiologis. Kebutuhan fisiologis Hope seperti sandang, pangan, papan, dan seks sudah terpenuhi dengan sangat mencukupi sejak lahir hingga dewasa.



This chapter consists of five parts, namely background of the study, problem formulation, objectives of the study, benefits of the study, and definition of the terms. The first part aims to explain the reasons why I chose literature, and the novel as my topic of study. The second part is the problem formulation, which presents the problem to be discussed in this thesis, followed by the objectives of the study as the third part. The fourth part discusses the benefits of the study for students and readers. The last part is the definition of terms that presents some specific terms that need to be clarified.

1.1Background of the Study

Novels have been written, read, and analyzed by many people in the world. They can give a special feeling, satisfaction, and happiness for the readers. Yet novels have another function beside those mentioned above. They can help readers look deeply into life. They can help the readers to understand the meaning of life. A novel has value because it shows new aspects of our daily life and gives meaning to life, so that life will be more valuable for us (Van De Laar 162). Based on this reason, I am encouraged to carry out the study of a novel that can help me understand more about life values and learn from them to make a better one.


believe becoming rich can make their life easy and simple. This is proven by the high incidence of gambling and robbery in many places recently. Bappenas (Badan Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional), which has a task as national

planning and development council, stated on its official site that the number of criminality is higher from time to time. People who do those actions absolutely have the same desire like most of the people had. They want to be rich.

In reality, material possessions cannot always give and deliver happiness to people. For example we can see in the newspaper and television recently that there are some Indonesian actresses and actors in prison because they use drugs. We all know that they are rich and famous, whose every physiological need is fulfilled, so why do they have to use drugs? Research proves that drugs can give a sense of happiness and joy for a person who uses them (Media Anak Bangsa Kepri Portal, 2009). Even though at the end a person who uses them will suffer some illness, at least he/she can feel the happiness for a moment. This is what the actresses and the actors search by using that thing.


perfect. She must be satisfied with her life, but why does she do a plastic surgery to her face when plastic surgery is considered a scary thing in her environment at that time? I am particularly interested in Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery.

1.2Problem Formulation

Based on the novel and the background, the problem to discuss in this study is formulated as what is the motivation of Hope Donahue in doing a plastic surgery?

1.3Objective of the Study

The objective of this study is to answer the problem above, that is to find out the motivation of Hope Donahue in doing a plastic surgery.

1.4Benefits of the Study

I expect some benefits from this study for both readers and students. For the readers, they can gain new knowledge about human feelings especially women’s feelings. The readers can also understand and learn that several things can motivate someone act in a disorderly way. I hope this study can also be useful for readers’ daily lives, for example through the recognition that motivation, no matter whether it’s positive or negative, can control human’s behavior.


that they can adapt this study into a play or any kind of study. I also have an expectation that this study can increase students’ pleasure with regard to literary work. I want to show to the students that literary work can also become a medium to improve our knowledge and character into a better one.

1.5Definition of Terms

There are several terms as the focus of the discussion needed to be clarified to avoid misunderstanding:

1. Murray states that motivation is an internal factor that arouses, directs, and integrates a person’s behavior (7). Another definition of it is motivation is broadly concerned with the contemporary determinants of choice (direction), persistence, and vigor of goal-directed behavior (Beck 24). From those definitions, motivation in this study refers to all internal factors that arouse and integrate human behavior which directs them to their goal.


factors constitute love are attachment, caring, and intimacy (Love 1). In this study, the term of love is used to know and understand Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery.




This part consists of theory of critical approaches used to analyze the novel. These include a psychological approach and theories of psychology with a focus on motivation that will be used to analyze Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery.

2.1 Theory of Critical Approaches

According to Rohrberger and Woods (6-15) in Reading and Writing about Literature, there are five approaches that can be used to evaluate literary works.

They are formalist approach, biographical approach, socio-cultural historical approach, mythopoeia approach, and psychological approach. These approaches are needed and very important to evaluate literary works because people who study or analyze literary works need a reasonable review when they evaluate them so they use the approaches to get that reasonable review. The critical approaches to literature help those people to understand more deeply the nature, function, and positive values of the literary works.


analyzing irony, paradox, imagery, and metaphor. The biographical approach sees literary works as the reflection of an author's life and times. People focus on the ideas and personality of the author to get an understanding to the literary works. The socio-cultural historical approach takes as a reference the civilization of which the attitudes and actions of a specific group of people to analyze the works. The mythopoeia approach assumes that there is a collection of symbols, images, characters, and motifs that causes basically the same response and thinking in all people.

The last one is the approach that I use to analyze and make a better understanding in studying the novel. The psychological approach, according to Guerin, employs some theories of psychology that can be used as tools to interpret the literary works (121). This theory is needed to understand the character’s motivation in the story. Remembering that it views literature through the lens of psychology, the psychological approach will help us to look deeply about the psychological motivations of the character or of the author himself/herself. Most frequently, the psychological approach uses Freudian psychology theory to study the motivation of the character, but there are also other psychology theories, such as those of Maslow and Jungian.

2.2 Theory of Psychology

2.2.1 General Theories of Motivation


many theories of motivation that exist in the psychology area, but not all of them can be used appropriately in my study. That is why I just include some of them which are relevant to my study.

Motivation is the sum of intentions, desires, goals, and needs that influence human beings and animal behavior. People carry out an action with motive. This motive will lead them to behave in a certain way to get some goal. It will be impossible to find the motivation of a person if behavior isn’t organized (Bootzin et al 367). It is believed that some purposes guide someone’s behavior to reach an end condition, which can be a goal or a need.

Smith (282) defines motivation as an internal process that influences the direction, persistence, and vigor of goal directed behavior. Motivation is seen as an internal factor that can move human beings to maintain their effort in reaching their goal. Motivation also makes human beings behave in a specific way that supports them in the process of reaching their goal. Therefore, motivation always affects someone’s behavior. Caused by the motivation, a person always behaves in certain manners or some ways in order to get or gain his/her goal.


2.2.2 Maslow’s Theory of Motivation

Abraham Maslow’s theory about the motivation of human beings can be applied to most of the aspects of individual life and social life. This supposition is needed and important for making a good and relevant theory of motivation. This is a supposition that we must know and remember. An individual is a whole in which things are solid and arranged. It is strange and unusual if a conscious desire only possesses one motivation. In other words, it is the whole of the individual that is moved by the motivation, not only a part of that individual. For example if a person feels hungry, it is the whole of her/him which feels the hunger. It is the person who wants food to be eaten, not only his/her stomach.

Most of the desires and stimuli in a person or individual are connected to each other. This does not occur for fundamental necessities such as the feeling of hungry, but it occurs obviously for complex necessities such as love. Human beings are motivated by a number of basic necessities that have the same characteristics in all species. Those necessities are not only physiological, but also psychological.


Abraham Maslow clarifies motivation in relation with human needs. He states that there are seven needs that motivate human activities. Those needs are physiological needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, needs to know and understand, aesthetic needs, and self-actualization needs (69-77). Physiological Needs

The basic, strongest, and clearest thing from all of human’s needs is the need to defend their life physically. That need is the need to eat, drink, get a place to stay, sleep, breathe, and have sex. If there is a situation where a person needs something at the same time such as food, love, and power, he/she will choose to get some food firse. This person will push other needs down until he/she fulfills his/her physiological needs.

Maslow says that even though all those physiological needs can be identified more easily than other needs that are in high level, these needs cannot be treated as a separated phenomenon that stands alone. The example is if a person thinks that he/she is hungry, he/she can also need love, safety, or other needs at the same time. Thus various needs of human beings are connected each other.


This will happen continuously. Human beings will always want something their whole life. Safety Needs

Safety needs will take place immediately after all the physiological needs are fulfilled. The best way to understand these needs is watching children closely, because usually safety needs have been fulfilled in a healthy and normal adult. Children psychologists or teachers find that children need a predictable world. Children like consistency and routine within certain limitations. They will feel worried and insecure if these elements can not be found by them in their life. Children will prefer to have limited freedom rather than being allowed to do anything. This limited freedom is needed for children, so they can develop properly.

An insecure person has an excessive need of regularity and stability; he/she will work hard to avoid strange and unexpected things. A normal and healthy person also wants stability in his/her life, but this thing will not be as important as happen in neurotic people. Belonging and Love Needs

After the physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the next is the needs of love, affection, and the feeling of loving and to be loved. People will hope for a loving relationship with others. They will fight hard to get this


The word love here cannot be mixed with the word sex, which can be assumed as a physiological need. Love is the feeling where someone is understood deeply and accepted with all one’s heart and soul. The idea that love comes from sex is a big mistake. This can also be associated with the superficial thought that heart gentleness is a form of sexuality which is obstructed. Maslow finds that the growth and development of a person’s ability will be obstructed without love in the reality. Many nurses often find that babies need love. Many psychopathology bachelors consider that the main reason for people having a failed adaptation is the unfulfilled need of love.

(25) Esteem Needs

Maslow finds that everyone has two categories of need for honor. They are esteem and honor from others. Self-esteem covers the needs of self-confidence, competency, self-control, achievement, and freedom. Honor from others covers prestige, recognition, acceptance, attention, and status. People who have adequate self-esteem will be more confident, capable, and productive. On the contrary, they will feel inferior if they don’t have enough confidence. This will lead them into a desperate feeling and a neurotic behavior. A stable and healthy self-esteem grows from a normal honor given by others; it does not grow from well-known name, majesty, or meaningless praise. Needs to Know and Understand

Maslow believes that a healthy mental characteristic is the desire to know and understand. The claim that this kind of need is characteristic of the entire species is supposed by the following explanation.

1. The feeling to know usually shows up in behavior of beings.

2. History provides many examples of people who struggle hard to search knowledge, for example Galileo and Columbus.

3. The results of psychological research into adults shows that they are interested in secrets.


This phenomenon is experienced by smart people who live by doing nothing. This action will kill their intelligence and cause into depression. 5. Children have a natural instinct to know about what is around them.

6. Many people report that studying and finding something can bring satisfaction and happiness. Aesthetic Needs

Maslow’s research shows that bad thing brings boredom and weakens spirit. Everyone needs aesthetic that can make people healthier. The aesthetic needs connect to the picture of themselves. This aesthetic need is also found in almost of healthy children everywhere. Maslow says that the fact about people need aesthetic can be found in every culture and almost in every era. Self-actualization Needs


The general characteristic of people who have been actualized is their ability to see their life clearly and truly. They are not emotional and think objectively about the result of their observation. They have an ability to evaluate others exactly and to detect dissimulation. This kind of person is firm in holding their principle about something which is right or wrong. They are also low profile and want to listen to others’ opinion patiently. They are willing to admit that they do not know everything and have to learn many things from others.

Maslow finds that people who have been actualized dedicate their life to their tasks, job, duty, or other important vocations. They are hard workers and assume that working can bring happiness and enjoyment. They are happy when helping others using their ability. They want to be useful for their environment, because by helping others they also help themselves.

Creativity is also a universal characteristic of self-actualization. It is about spontaneity, courage, openness, and modesty. Creativity requires courage and ability to ignore scorn and negative critique from surrounding people. Their courage helps them to be brave in making mistake, so they can always make an improvement in doing their task and activity. They are also flexible and able to adjust if the condition changed.

2.3 Theoretical Framework


whole story in the novel. The analysis section, I use some theories: theories of critical approach and theories of motivation.



This chapter is divided into three parts. They are object of the study, approaches, and procedures. The first part, where I explain the focus of the study, is called object of the study. The second part explains the approach that I use in conducting and analyzing this study. The last part is procedures which discusses the steps in analyzing problem formulation.

3.1 Object of the Study

This research uses a literary work as the subject of the study. This thesis deals with one kind of literary work, a novel, as the object of the study. The novel that is analyzed in this thesis is entitled Beautiful Stranger. Beautiful Stranger was published by Gotham on August 18, 2005. It consists of 304 pages in 28 chapters. This is the first and the only novel written by Hope Donahue.

Beautiful Stranger is a gloomy and disturbing novel, and a true story about

how society and environment can shape the suffering of a person. The story is about how a dysfunctional family and society push Donahue to do a plastic surgery at an early age.


families. She is intelligent, witty, and well traveled. She studies in the best private schools. She can buy anything she wants without working hard to get it. She is quite pretty with her five-feet-eight-inches tall, model’s built that is slim and tall, blonde hair, and green eyes. Many people think that she is a lucky woman. In fact she is not happy and satisfied with her life. She wants something in her life, but she cannot get it. Some of her needs cannot be fulfilled. Then she does some plastic surgery to make herself more beautiful than before, even though she is pretty enough.

3.2 Approach of the Study

I use the psychological approach presented by Rohrberger and Woods for analyzing this novel. I choose the psychological approach because I need this approach to make an analysis of the human motivation in carrying out some actions.

Rohrberger and Woods said that the psychological approach involves the effort to locate and demonstrate certain current patterns. This approach is used to explain human’s motivation, personality, behavior, and needs patterns written in literary works (1971:13).

3.3 Procedures of the Study


I analyzed this novel using two sources. They were a primary source and secondary sources. The primary source was the novel itself, Hope Donahue’s Beautiful Stranger. The secondary sources were several books used to support the

study, such as literary books, psychology books, and motivation books. I also used electronic sources to support and complete the information that I could not get from the books.




This chapter discusses the motivation of Hope Donahue in doing plastic surgery. Motivation is sum of the intentions, desires, goals, and needs that influence human beings’ behavior. People perform an action with motives (Bootzin et al 367). Motivation also influences the direction, persistence, and vigor of goal directed behavior (Smith 282). In other words, motivation creates motivated behavior (Murray 20).

Specifically, the discussion of Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery is based on Maslow’s theory of motivation. Maslow defines seven basic needs, which are connected to each other and motivate human beings to do their actions (69-77). These needs are the physiological needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, the needs to know and understand, aesthetic needs, and self actualization needs. Therefore, the discussion is also divided into seven parts. Each part describes the fulfillment of each particular need in Hope Donahue’s life and how it motivates Hope Donahue to do plastic surgery.

4.1Physiological Needs as the only Fulfilled Needs


Hope’s needs for food, drink, clothes and shelter are fulfilled abundantly considering her background from a rich, old family. She is an only child, and she describes her family background in this statement, “My father is a bank chairman, my grandfather a doctor of international acclaim. My mother stayed home in our beautiful house to raise me, as mothers did then” (Donahue 1). Since Hope’s father is a bank chairman, he must be able to support their family financially and earn enough money to buy food, drink, and clothes for her. Since Hope’s mother is a stay-at-home housewife, she must have enough time to provide food, drink, and clothes for Hope. Since Hope is an only child, she does not have to compete with other siblings for those needs.

Hope’s need for shelter to live and sleep comfortably is also fulfilled. She grows up in a “beautiful house” located in “a tiny enclave of Los Angeles called Hancock Park, an area as renowned for its stately mansions and old-money families” (Donahue 1). Besides food, drink, clothes, shelter, and a lot of money, her additional needs are also fulfilled, thus ensuring that she can live comfortably. For example, she gets her own car at a very young age as a gift from her parents, while most other young people must save for a long time before they can afford such a luxury. She can enroll at a good college, while many other people must apply for a scholarship, as shown in her comment “I never had to apply for a college scholarship or save for a new car. These things were given to me” (Donahue 1).


so many men who are interested in her and willing to have sex with her. As she admits herself, she lost her virginity in college. Furthermore, in college, she keeps changing boyfriends. She dates many men, choosing and dumping them as she wishes.

To compensate for the incompetence I felt in the classroom, I embarked on a series of small, brutal romantic victories. I had always been fickle when it came to boyfriends. Except for Hart, with whom I’d played a cat-and-mouse game, I picked up and dropped suitors like trying on clothes. One boyfriend called me “the ultimate Gemini.” At Berkeley, my romantic dysfunction kicked into high gear. I dated a series of my classmates, none for longer than a few months. I was proud of my reputation as a female Lothario, someone who usually tired of men before they tired of me (Donahue 27).

As implied by the quotation above, Hope can easily pick up a boyfriend to fulfill her physiological sexual need among her “series of small, brutal romantic victories”, if she wants to. After college, there are still other men who approach her and are interested in her, so she can still choose a man to fulfill her sexual need easily.

Therefore, physiological needs do not form a part of Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery. Her action of doing plastic surgery is not motivated by the physiological needs, because these needs are already fulfilled even without plastic surgery.

4.2Safety Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery


Her needs for regularity and stability are not fulfilled. This is mainly caused by the conditions in her family. Hope grows up surrounded by instability and unexpected shocks since she was a young child. Despite their material perfection, Hope’s family is not solid. Her mother is aggressive, volatile and a little neurotic, while her father is passive and awkward. They fight and argue in front of Hope frequently and openly for no good reason. Hope states that “My parents fight over the most trivial things; my mother’s anger and unhappiness bubble up often and unexpectedly, like dinosaur bones in the nearby La Brea tar pits” (Donahue 65). Another example of Hope’s parents’ fighting is depicted below.

My parents returned to the apartment late that night with a great slamming of doors and shouting. Listening in my room, I gathered that my mother had drunk too much and done something embarrassing with Wild Bill. She was slurring her words, laughing and weeping at the same time. I could tell my father was very angry because he kept his voice especially low and steady (Donahue 40).

Hope’s mother’s volatile characteristic changes her behavior unpredictably from time to time. Sometimes she is nice and close, yet sometimes she is distant and cruel to Hope. Hope describes her mother’s “craziness” as “a temporary state, like snow blindness, something that overtook her from time to time but which she ultimately had control over” (Donahue 21). She never knows what to expect and how to behave in front of her mother. When she is being nice and close, she treats Hope like a best friend, as shown in the following quotations.


My mother had become her old self again, cheerful and chatty. She’d helped me select a dazzling green bikini—my first—that rode high on my hips (Donahue 52).

Yet, when she is being distant and cruel, she would change drastically and treat Hope very badly, as shown in the following quotation.

With a banshee cry my mother lunged out with her hand, sweeping a spider plant and the neat stack of psychology books on Camille’s coffee table to the floor. She jumped up and stalked back and forth like a caged tiger in the limited space of the office. “I don’t have to take this!” she shouted. “I won’t listen to this little bitch accusing me of not being a good mother!” She stormed out the door, slamming it behind her so hard the windows rattled (Donahue 84).


As another example, Hope’s mother suddenly accuses Hope of trying to seduce her own father without any good reason or foundation at all. She makes the accusation just because Hope’s father sits next to Hope, while Hope’s father only denies passively instead of defending Hope or himself. It makes Hope feel terror and frustration, as shown in the quotations below.

“What the hell is going on between you two?” she shrieks. “Why did you sit next to her? Tempting you, in that little bikini? I know exactly what she’s doing, and I know what you’re thinking, don’t think I don’t!” I know it, I knew it, yet still it takes a moment to realize: She is talking about me. I look down at my breasts in the bikini top, the flat terrain of my belly, and freeze with terror. Dear God, I think (Donahue 66).

“I didn’t sit by her, Virginia.” My father’s words are calm, measured, and perfectly clear. Does he know he’s lying, or is sitting by me not worth defending? I want to barge into their room, smack him, to shake him until he acknowledges me. I’m your daughter, for Christ’s sake! What is wrong with sitting next to your own daughter! (Donahue 66).

Later, she accuses her husband of trying to abuse Hope. This accusation also makes Hope feel terror and frustration, as shown in her response, “How can you just switch topics like this, Mom? Do you hear what you’re saying? How could you even think that Dad would do things like that? It’s sick, is what it is” (Donahue 79).

As yet another example, Hope’s mother portrays Hope as sexually active in front of other people, although it is not true. She never even discusses sexuality with Hope, although it is actually her duty as Hope’s mother. Hope’s mother’s description about her image makes her feel uncomfortable and ashamed, as shown in the following quotations.


my many dates, creating a scandalous image of myself, which I was uncomfortable with (Donahue 125).

Even though I was not at all the sort of girl they envisioned, I still nurtured a secret shame within myself. Labels like slut, easy, and tease floated around accusingly in my head (Donahue 125).

Besides failing in their duty to educate Hope about sexuality, both Hope’s parents are not even willing to protect her from sexual abuse by other people. When an older man called Hugh tries to flirt with Hope, Hope’s parents ridicule her complaint and regard it as something trivial, as described below.

But if my parents noticed Hugh’s untoward attentions—how could they not?—they didn’t mention it. I dropped hints about Hugh’s perversion but it was impossible to crack the surface of my mother’s mockery. They joked that, yes, Hugh was probably “checking me out,” but could you blame him? “He’s probably never seen such a gorgeous thing,” my mother cackled. “He just can’t help himself.” A gorgeous thing? I was a pretty knick-knack, to be picked up, palmed casually, and put back (Donahue 123).

This condition is worsened by the family’s lifestyle. Hope’s father is sent to work in Hong Kong when Hope is twelve years old, and the family must follow him to live in Hong Kong for a year. The family’s lifestyle in Hong Kong is different from their lifestyle in the US. They have servants, which consist of a maid, a cook, and a driver, and they do not have anything to do. This lifestyle brings more pressure to their life and worsens Hope’s mother’s aggressive and volatile characteristics, as shown below.


With such condition, Hope has never been able to feel safe at home. Therefore, safety needs form a part of Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery. This need motivates Hope Donahue to do plastic surgery in order to achieve the safety promised by the doctor. The doctor has promised never to leave her and to always give her his attention in all conditions, both good and bad, something that Hope’s parents or friends cannot ever do and give. The doctor’s promise gives Hope the feeling of regularity and stability that she cannot get from her family or surroundings. Hope associates the doctor’s promise with the plastic surgery itself and thus, she believes that plastic surgery will make her life safer. Of course, the doctor only says that in order to achieve financial gain from his patient, but the doctor’s promise is very important for Hope. This is shown in Hope’s thought below.

I wouldn’t leave you. This is what I need so much to know. ... No price is too high for this safety, this guarantee of attention. My money, my flesh and blood, my dignity: I would give it all. Is this what feels like, I wonder, this desire for complete supplication? The sight of my blood on his gloves seems appropriate; I already know that love and pain are intertwined (Donahue 10).

As described above, Hope is willing to give her money, flesh, blood, and dignity in order to achieve the “safety” and “guarantee of attention” promised by the doctor, which will make her feel safer.


their environment (Maslow 71). These needs are not fulfilled in Hope Donahue’s life.

Her needs to give and receive love are not fulfilled. A child’s immediate surroundings are comprised of her family and relatives. If a child cannot love and be loved by his or her family and relatives, he or she is deprived of these needs. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Hope is not given love by her family and relatives and she cannot express her love to her family and relatives. Hope’s father is busy with his work in the office; he has very little time and attention for his family. As described by Hope, “My father worked late into the evenings because, he said, that was what all the bankers did, though my mother said it was to avoid us” (Donahue 19). Even when he is with Hope, he refuses to play with her. Her father’s physical and emotional absence makes her unable to express her love, except by going to his room and inhaling his scent.

Sometimes, during the day, I’d play detective, going into his room and inhaling the scent of him, his soap and the stale officey smell of his suits. In the bathroom I’d smell his aftershave and look at the leftover bubbles of his frothy pee in the toilet. He worked late every night, so my mother and I ate dinner together in front of the television, watching one of the American shows (Donahue 41).


“Mom!” Sometimes I would call her, but she wouldn’t answer. My mother’s face in sleep always wore a curious look of effort, a crease of concern between her brows, her eyes squeezed tightly shut. “Mom!” I’d say again. Then, more sternly, “Mother!” And finally, her name— “Virginia!”—seeing how it felt to call her that. I’d get up close and peer behind her sunglasses, at her eyeballs rolling back and forth under the closed lids like ships tossed about on wind-swept seas (Donahue 14-15). I froze, staring at her. It was a minute before she noticed me. When she did, her face abruptly twisted into a grimace. “Go away!” she shouted. “Beat it!” (Donahue 46)

Hope’s grandparents, her father’s parents, live not so far from her house and she often visits them. However, Hope’s mother hates them, so there is no love among their extended family, as shown in Hope’s comment “My mother’s resentment of them had become a kind of hobby to her, a small seed she nurtured over the years” (Donahue 57). Also, whenever Hope visits her grandparents, their house is always quiet and they mostly ignore her. They are not interested in talking to her or giving her affection, as shown in the quotation below.

I feel like I am once again in my grandparents’ deadly quiet house, free to explore while my grandmother took a nap and the maid smoked cigarettes in front of the television playing Spanish soap operas in her tiny room. No one cared what I looked at or where I went, so long as I was quiet (Donahue 152).


Solitude never bores me, a fact which I probably ought to find alarming but which I chock up to having been an only child, all those hours of playing by myself. Sometimes I watch television, drawn to the stories of misery and betrayal unfolding on talk shows and soap operas. I am soothed by the emotional slaughter of these people (Donahue 31).

As an adult, Hope’s needs to give and receive love, to have affectionate relationship, and to have a place in her environment are still not fulfilled by her family. The deficiency of these needs is indicated by Hope’s inability to find affection in her family, and Hope’s family’s inability to give her affection. Although Hope feels really miserable, she does not want to ask her parents to cheer her up and pretends to be cheerful in her phone call and visits instead. As Hope states, “Looking back, I cannot recall ever telling my parents just miserable I really was. I maintained a sunny façade in every phone call and visit, though I often sobbed in my car along the desolate stretch of Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles” (Donahue 27). Another time, when Hope really needs her mother’s help after her first plastic surgery, her mother leaves her. Although Hope begs her mother for love and attention, her mother abandons her, as described below.

I have heard that mother birds sometimes push their young out of the nest if they are sickly or deformed. As for my mother, she took one look at her disfigured offspring and fled the nest. She checked herself into the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Ray and called my father with explicit instructions that she would not come home until I was gone.

When I called her on the phone, crying, and told her she was abandoning me, she called it “tough love.”

“Please,” I begged her. “Please, please, I need you.”


seeks affectionate relationships with people and things that she encounters around her. She hopes to get love from the nurse in the hospital where she undergoes plastic surgery by following the nurse, as shown in her comment, “I follow her down the hallway, wishing, childishly and impractically, that she would be kind, perhaps hold my hand. I need some maternal kindness to calm the whoosh of fear in me” (Donahue 5). As another example, Hope tries to give and get love from her large stuffed animal by sleeping with it every night, and she also hopes to get more affection from people by carrying it around, as shown in her comment, “I brought it with me that morning not really for security, but because I hoped that the doctor and nurses would see me clutching this childish toy and offer me a child’s greater portion of comfort” (Donahue 98).

Furthermore, Hope tries to give and get love by getting involved in a romantic relationship that she does not really want with a man called Hank. She actually does not like Hank and his sex-obsessed behaviors, but she obeys him passively, as shown in the quotation below.

I don’t like Hank, but I don’t dislike him enough to refuse. In the months to come, I will continue to question the dull, heifer-like passivity that overcomes me when I am around him. It’s a state almost like anesthesia; I experience neither pleasure nor pain.

Much later, I will come to realize that it is not simply my indifference to Hank which makes me as malleable as clay, but something darker, more desperate and dangerous: Fearing that I am unlovable, I must settle, and be grateful for, simply being desired (Donahue 141).


immediate, more intimate, more like love (Donahue 177). She enjoys the attention she gets when she poses nude, as shown in the quotation below.

I reach around and undo my bra, then slide my panties down my legs. I toss them both on top of the dress.

North looks up. “Sweet Je-sus,” he says. “Will you marry me?”

I know, suddenly and fully, why I am here. This reaction, this attention, this desire. However fleeting, however insincere. I smile, feeling my cheeks flush (Donahue 216).

It can be seen that Hope tries to seek the fulfillment that she cannot get in her family through various other means, but she fails to get it there as well. Therefore, belonging and love needs form a major part of Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery. Hope Donahue is motivated to do plastic surgery in order to find belonging and love, especially since she regards her plastic surgery doctor as the one figure who can fulfill all her belonging and love needs. She believes that if she does plastic surgery, she will be able to love and to be loved, especially to love and be loved by her doctor, and she will belong somewhere, especially in her doctor’s office. Although in fact the doctor is only manipulating his patient for his own financial gain, she does not realize it.


she would give her money, her flesh and blood, and her dignity for “this guarantee of attention” (Donahue 10). She further compares the blood from her surgery to the pain of love in her following comment, “The sight of my blood on his gloves seems appropriate; I already know that love and pain are intertwined” (Donahue 10). This idea is supported by her yearning to be accompanied by her doctor after the surgery in the following quotation.

“Doctor!” That word. It still thrills me, a thrill that cuts through the pain. I am breathless, but it could be the dressings, the constricting after-surgery bra. Please stay here and talk to me some more, I want to beg. Please don’t leave me to go back to my apartment and be all alone again, so soon (Donahue 207).

Still related with the first idea, Hope associates the figure of her doctor as a lover figure. Besides feeling longing when looking at the doctor interact with other patients and regarding his actions in surgery as loving actions, Hope also imagines and wishes that the doctor would become her lover instead of just a doctor. She is disappointed when she discovers that the doctor is already engaged, but illogically, she is happy that the doctor’s fiancée is an ordinary marketing director, because it means there is still hope that the doctor would fall in love with her, an ordinary woman, too: “This surprises me, but it gives me hope, too. If Dr. S—can fall in love with someone not famous, not glamorous, someone who works for a chain of discount stores, then why not with me?” (Donahue 114). Hope is under the illusion that he cares about her and they have a special bond together, bonded by the plastic surgery procedures, as described in the quotation below.


vivid demonstration of love is there, after all, than suffering willingly at the hands of another?

Sitting in Dr. S—‘s office, I realize the extent of my infatuation. I hope, with every cell of my body, that he and I can one day be more than doctor and patient. That there will be an us. Doesn’t all my time and effort merit something other than the sterile doctor-patient relationship? (Donahue 116-117)

Lastly, Hope regards her doctor’s office as the place or the environment where she belongs. Besides love and attention from her doctor that she is guaranteed to find there, she also feels familiar with the atmosphere and feels welcome there. She already knows the receptionist and the nurses and often chats with them in the waiting room; she is not ignored like when she was at home or at her grandparents’ house. Hope says that “Being in Dr.S—‘s office is better than being alone in my apartment. It is better than being anywhere. His waiting room has become my haven” (Donahue 116). If she stops undergoing plastic surgery procedures, she would lose the place where she belongs. Naturally, she is motivated to maintain it by visiting the doctor’s office frequently and planning more plastic surgery.

It wasn’t long before my visits to his office were what I lived for. I needed them to provide me with human contact, excitement, the fulfillment I wasn’t getting anywhere else in my life. It was a tall order, and I was frequently disappointed (Donahue 38).

4.4Esteem Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery


Her needs for self-confidence, freedom, competency and achievement are not fulfilled because of two factors. Firstly, Hope is by nature very shy and pessimistic. Thus, it is very hard for her to gain even a little sense of self-confidence, competency and achievement. She is imprisoned within her shy and pessimistic characteristics, so she is also deprived of any sense of freedom. For example, although she is physically healthy, rich, and achieves highly in university both in academic and extra-curricular fields, she is antisocial and easily panics when meeting people, as shown in her statement “I was most definitely not a people person. Though I hid it well, I was staggeringly shy. I was in a sorority, but I was not at all social. I led campus tours, but suffered panic attacks before nearly every one” (Donahue 26). She admits and wonders herself how come she has no confidence, competence, achievement, or freedom like her friends and other people, despite her health, wealth, and education, as shown in the following quotation.

I listen to their preparations with a sense of wonder. How are they able to go out into the world each day, fresh and full of energy, instead of crippled by fear and plagued by dragging lethargy? How is it that I have lost the knack for everyday life? It can’t be that hard; people far less educated and capable and robust than I am do it every day. And yet I can’t imagine going to a job, even looking for a job. Not only would I surely fail at my responsibilities, I can’t make it through the day without lying down on my bed to rest every few hours (Donahue 30).


Being accepted to Berkeley, like all my other achievements, was a hollow accolade. I waved the acceptance letter around to my parents and my boyfriend, Hart, of whose affection I was never sure, hoping for a shower of praise that would temporarily soak my parched self-confidence. As if poured into a sieve, the good feeling my shiny accomplishments gave me drained quickly away (Donahue 26-27).

Secondly, Hope’s needs for self-confidence, freedom, competency and achievement are hindered by her loved ones. They do not help Hope to develop her sense of self-confidence, freedom, competency and achievement, but instead, they make her feel more deprived of those needs. It is shown in Hope’s statement that “With my mother, my father, with boyfriends, with Dr. S--, I always felt like the weaker one, the one who wanted, the one who pined for more” (Donahue 175). Parents play an important role in developing their child’s esteem, but Hope’s parents fail to do it. Hope’s mother always brags about Hope’s beauty in front of other people, but she never gives Hope any encouragement about her appearance directly. Hope’s mother just criticizes her, for example by telling her “to lie in the sun next to her so she wouldn’t be so pasty” (Donahue 52). As another example, Hope’s mother blames her and calls her “hopeless” when she is too shy to talk to a boy she likes.

I lolled by the pool in my new bikini, hoping that Dominic LaChapelle, the cutest boy in town, would stare at me. My mother nudged me when she saw him looking. “His family has a vineyard,” she hissed to me. “They’ve got the big bucks.” When this failed to motivate me, she took a more direct approach. “Go talk to him! What on earth are you waiting for?”

But I just sat dumbly on my towel, staring at the constellation of moles on my stomach.

“Oh, you’re hopeless!” she cried. “Now you’ve lost your chance. You’ve got to be assertive with a man” (Donahue 52).


confident about herself. Furthermore, Hope’s mother does not give the needed support when Hope starts being addicted to plastic surgery. Instead of accompanying her and helping her develop her self esteem back, Hope’s mother shuns and indirectly mocks her. This is the time when Hope needs companionship from her parents, but her mother sends her out of the house and makes her live alone in an apartment. After Hope’s fourth surgery, her mother told her “that she would not allow her daughter’s “self-mutilation” to occur under her roof” (Donahue 25). Hope also needs to discuss the cause of her addiction and the solution, but her mother refers to her problem with an unsympathetic term, “self-mutilation”, which makes Hope unable to discuss her problem with her mother.

Hope’s boyfriend, as the next closest person in her life after her family, also does not help to develop her sense of self-confidence, freedom, competency and achievement, but makes her feel more deprived of those needs instead. Hope says that she “was never sure” of his affection (Donahue 26), which makes her feel less confidence and competent. Furthermore, like Hope’s mother, he also shuns Hope when she needs help to boost her esteem, which makes her realize more about her lack of confidence, as described below.

In spite of my beseeching, Hart had no intention of letting me stay on with him. I would hang around his neck like an albatross, he said, a listless and expensive decoration. And he was right: I had lost all confidence in my ability to hold a conversation, let alone a job (Donahue 28).


needs. She believes that if she does plastic surgery, she will be more beautiful and thus be able to gain self-confidence, competency, self-control, achievement, and freedom. In her mind, her new beauty from the plastic surgery will be the key to shed her lack of esteem and to gain full esteem, as shown in the quotations below.

How can I resist a delicious, illicit offer to become someone I am not? Does Dr. S— see inside me, does he know that if I could, I would shed my face and body, my very self, on his table as nimbly as a snake sheds its skin and leaves it there, outgrown and discarded, in favor of becoming a beautiful stranger? (Donahue 6)

I never believed what I’d told the first doctor, Dr. D--, that the only thing about myself I wanted to change was nose. Even then I was thinking cheeks, lips, maybe breasts. But I did believe that, after I’d fixed these things about myself, I would be happy. I would emerge from beneath the bandages like a butterfly from a gauze cocoon and fly off into the world, free and full of confidence (Donahue 36).

Of course, in reality, Hope’s beauty from the plastic surgery does not help her fulfill her esteem needs. On the contrary, she still feels lack of confidence and her plastic surgery addiction makes her even more deprived of self esteem, because she realizes that she has to resort to such an extreme way to compensate for her weakness, as shown in the quotation below.

But in the end my self-aggrandizing backfired, drawing me back to the same inevitable conclusion: If I was so perfect, then what was I doing at age twenty-three going from doctor to doctor, my big fat lack of confidence blowing the whole perfect picture to smithereens? (Donahue 70)


4.5Needs to Know and Understand do not Form a Part of Hope Donahue’s Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery

The needs to know and understand involve studying and finding something out, such as knowledge, which can bring satisfaction and happiness (Maslow 73). These needs are not fulfilled in Hope Donahue’s life.

In Hope’s case, her needs to study and find knowledge are not fulfilled because they are hindered by her unfulfilled esteem needs and her obsession about aesthetic needs. Actually, Hope is intellectually capable of studying and finding knowledge. Her intelligence is supported by good facilities and education afforded by her rich family. She finishes undergraduate education and is accepted into graduate school. She also has some achievements throughout her years in university, as shown in her statement, “My gilt-framed diploma hung on the wall in my parents’ home along with various other mounted and displayed achievements, my bachelor of arts degree from USC, dean’s list certificates, a photo of myself giving a USC campus tour to a CEO” (Donahue 25-26).


intended to do, not because I was lazy or vain, but because I believed that my appearance was all I had to offer” (Donahue 27). As a result, she cannot keep up her achievement in graduate school. She nearly fails all her classes in her first semester and her marks drop, as shown in the quotation below.

My blonde good looks and sunny demeanor did not score my any points among my fellow students or professors. USC was all about being rewarded for the outside; Berkeley was intensely intellectual. Whereas in high school and college I had never had to try very hard to get good grades, at Berkeley I found myself among students who were as motivated as I pretended to be, real journalists in the making, many of whom were paying their own way through school (Donahue 27).

This condition further proves Hope’s inability to fulfill her needs to study and find knowledge. She still has her intelligence and adequate facilities as before, but she cannot enjoy the process of studying and finding knowledge, so she fails to develop intellectually to match the demand of her graduate study.


by my intense fixation on my appearance” (Donahue 26). It is also supported by the following quotation.

My new creative writing journal, a gift from my English teacher in Hong Kong, who said that it would be a crime if I didn’t keep on writing, lay blank and abandoned at the bottom of my suitcase. It was as if I’d been administered a highly addictive drug called Being Pretty, and it was slowly taking over my system, killing off all the other things I used to be interested in. I thought about my looks all the time, wondering constantly who was looking and, if they were, what did they see? A pretty girl? A homely, gangly girl? (Donahue 53)

Her pursue of beauty gives her more satisfaction and happiness than her pursue of knowledge. It shows that she is willing to put everything aside, including her pursuit of knowledge, for the sake of beauty. For example, she rarely even stays overnight in her dorm in university because she does not want people to see her without any makeup (Donahue 26), and she spends more time putting on makeup than doing her homework, as described in the following quotation.

My mother’s desire for me to be glamorous, stunning, and charming—to dazzle my father’s family—added to the pressure I already heaped upon myself. It took an enormous amount of time and effort to make myself beautiful, about two and a half hours of preparation. I spent far more time on my appearance than I did on my schoolwork. I did moderately well with a minimum of effort at the private, all-girls high school I attended (Donahue 120).


become an indicator of how Hope is easily motivated to do plastic surgery by other needs or factors.

4.6Aesthetic Needs as the Motivation in Doing Plastic Surgery

Aesthetic needs refer to the need for beauty, which can help people to become healthier. In some individuals, the need for beauty is very deep and ugliness is sickening. This need is correlated to self-image. When this need is low in an individual, the individual’s self-image is also low (Maslow 75). These needs are not fulfilled in Hope Donahue’s life.

Her need for beauty is not fulfilled. To be precise, Hope lacks the self-image obtained from her need for beauty. In reality, she is actually beautiful enough, as shown in her statement “I am five-feet-eight-inches tall, with a model’s build, blonde hair, and green eyes. People say I am beautiful” (Donahue 1) and her comment when she sees her photograph, “What I see astonishes me: a young, lovely, seemingly uncomplicated woman, not at all the despairing, unattractive person I see every day” (Donahue 247). However, she always feels lacking in beauty, so her need for beauty is never fulfilled in Hope’s mind.


for land” (Donahue 15). In her logic as a child, Hope associates happiness in her family with her mother’s beauty, as described below.

As a child, my mother’s beauty shone like a beacon of hope to me, absolving her of all fault. Once, looking through boxes in my grandmother’s basement, I came across an old 1960s Harlequin romance upon which was sketched, I was sure, a picture of my mother: a swooning beauty with round blue eyes, pert nose, shapely mouth, and long hair the color of butter. When my father called her “Hey Gorgeous,” I knew all was well in our house (Donahue 21).

In turn, Hope’s mother develops Hope’s obsession by teaching her to focus on beauty. Since Hope was a child, she never teaches Hope anything else except how to become beautiful. Hope’s mother gives example by wearing “a shockingly bright, bare jumpsuit, halter-backed, of vivid magenta silk” which “barely covered her breasts, clearly braless beneath the thin fabric”, telling Hope that “A girl has to compete around here to make a splash, you know” (Donahue 40). She tells Hope to lie in the sun so she “wouldn’t be so pasty” (Donahue 52). She never tells Hope she is beautiful when they are alone, but she brags about Hope’s beauty in public.

In stores when I’d try on clothes my mother perched herself by the mirror outside the dressing room and insisted that I come out and twirl around. “Look at my beautiful daughter!” she’d exclaim to salesclerks, her effervescent praise uncorked by an audience (Donahue 70).


be glamorous, stunning, and charming—to dazzle my father’s family—added to the pressure I already heaped upon myself. It took an enormous amount of time and effort to make myself beautiful, about two and a half hours of preparation” (Donahue 120).

One of Hope’s childhood friends also develops Hope’s obsession with beauty. As a child, Hope only has one best friend named Alisa. They perform makeovers by sketching pictures of ugly women and altering the pictures into beautiful women based on Hope’s directions. Hope says they are not interested in Barbie dolls, whose faces are already pre-made beautifully, because “we needed to create what we wanted from scratch” (Donahue 34). Even as children, their game already stresses the importance on beauty and shows Hope’s desire to improve beauty as much as she can.

Alisa was a talented artist. We entertained ourselves by doing what we called makeovers. Alisa would sketch some hapless imaginary woman, unattractive in the extreme, with bulbous nose, witchy chin hairs, a moppish mane of hair. It was my job to dictate to Alisa which of the sketched woman’s features could be improved and how, and Alisa then resketched the result according to my critique (Donahue 34).


that she becomes beautiful. When her boyfriend says that they both have wide noses, his comment “devastated” her (Donahue 28). She often stares at her face and thinks about what part she wants to change, just like in the childhood game she used to play, until “this festering thought turned into full-blown obsession” (Donahue 28). She spends much time thinking about it, so she grows more and more comfortable with her obsession to become beautiful, as shown in the quotations below.

Innocently enough, I’ll think, What if I had bigger lips? I’ll think about this for a while, play with the idea. And then something shifts, sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly, and what was once just a thought slips into obsession. What if I had bigger lips and a smaller nose? I would be stunning, that’s what. Or at least closer to stunning (Donahue 154).

Sometimes, it is true, I do think I am attractive. It is what I always hope for. More often, though, my eye asserts itself upon some flaw, however small. And the most ironic thing is that those rare times when I do find myself lovely, I am overcome with despair. I look at the bounty of my face and see the fruitless waste of my life, my potential. So much effort focused on so unrewarding a cause. It is much more comfortable and reassuring to see myself as flawed, a work in progress (Donahue 35).

Therefore, aesthetic needs form a part of Hope Donahue’s motivation in doing plastic surgery. It motivates Hope Donahue to do plastic surgery in order to attain perfect beauty. Beginning with the seeds of dissatisfaction with her appearance described above combined with her abundant money, Hope starts to do plastic surgery. She believes that if she fixes every imperfection or irregularity on her face through plastic surgery, such as the little bump in her nose or her thin lips, her beauty will be perfect and she will have a better self-image, as described in the quotations below.


my nose. Did I believe it? Not fully, no, but it didn’t matter whether I believed it or not. Just as my concerns focused on the physical, the outside of myself, so, too, I kept my thoughts about my motives carefully shallow as well (Donahue 101).

While I had always pined for bigger lips, the cheekbone part was entirely random and impulsive. It was a matter of looking at my features and deciding what remained to be improved upon. I figured that if I was going to undergo the physical and emotional trauma of surgery, I might as well get more bang for my buck. At five thousand dollars, cheek implants were a pricey impulse. But I had acquired two more Visa cards, and I was as good at telling myself that I would never run out of money as I was at believing I was on a path toward something significant, that the surgeries were moving me closer to happiness (Donahue 93-94).

This condition is supported by Hope’s statement, “The only way I knew to change how I felt about myself was to change my appearance” (Donahue 251). After the surgery, she feels very happy seeing the doctor’s reaction about her new beauty, as shown in her statement, “Beautiful, he thinks I‘m beautiful. I close my eyes, trying to recapture the feeling of ecstatic surrender, a feeling so fleeting, so quickly departed” (Donahue 12). Thus, Hope does one plastic surgery after another, and she finally becomes obsessed and addicted to plastic surgery.

After the initial thought, as I said, obsession begins to take over. Something changes, and it’s no longer that I just want to have this surgery, but that I must do it. I am compelled to go through with it. It becomes a personal mission, a test of my resolve. I must fix this flaw, or improve this feature, because once discovered, it will haunt and disturb me until I do. ... Caught up in the thought of a newer, better me, all my other worries are conveniently eclipsed (Donahue 155-156).


table to the floor. She jumped up and stalked back and forth like a caged
She jumped up and stalked back and forth like a caged . View in document p.36



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