Ransom

by

David Malouf

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Beauty Symbol Icon

Beauty, one of a pair of mules that pull Somax’s cart, is a symbol of the pleasures of the incidental and ordinary. Unlike Achilles’s immortal horses Balius and Xanthus, or even the thoroughbreds who pull Priam’s usual royal chariot, Beauty is not particularly strong or majestic; in fact, she might at first seem out of place in a story about kings and demigods. Ransom, however, depicts Beauty as extraordinarily pretty and charming—so much so that the people living amongst Troy’s ruins remember Somax’s connection to Beauty long after they have dismissed his stories about escorting Priam and meeting Achilles as tall tales. This is fitting, given that part of the transformation Priam experiences over the course of the novel involves learning to appreciate the surprises and delights of everyday life. By giving Beauty (and everything she represents) the last word, Malouf implies that it is the commonplace rather than the epic that makes human life important and valuable.

Beauty Quotes in Ransom

The Ransom quotes below all refer to the symbol of Beauty. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Ransom published in 2009.
Part 3 Quotes

It was such a comfort just to hold on to her, and feel the warmth of her, and the scratchiness of her hide against my cheek. But whether it was for grief at my loss, or joy that she was safe, I can't tell you, sir. We're such contrary creatures. Maybe both.

Related Characters: Somax (speaker)
Related Symbols: Beauty
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5 Quotes

The most remarkable thing about him was that he was the owner of a little black mule who is still remembered in this part of the country and much talked about. A charming creature, big-eyed and sleek, she bore the name of Beauty—and very appropriately too, it seems, which is not always the case.

Related Characters: Somax
Related Symbols: Beauty
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ransom PDF

Beauty Symbol Timeline in Ransom

The timeline below shows where the symbol Beauty appears in Ransom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...Priam’s court. Somax suspects that he has been chosen largely because one of his mules, Beauty, is unusually pretty and charming. (full context)
Part 3
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...his son died. Somax explains that his son was trying to ford the river when Beauty slipped, tipping his son into the water and drowning him. Somax found the mule grazing... (full context)
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...set off. Somax, however, remains mistrustful, particularly when Hermes begins to pet and fawn over Beauty. (full context)
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
The cart begins to ford the river, and Beauty loses her footing at one point, nearly pitching both the treasure and her riders into... (full context)
Part 4
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...Achilles and Priam enter the yard, where the cart is ready to leave. Priam pets Beauty but is careful not to show any emotion toward his son’s body in front of... (full context)
Part 5
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...ordinary carter whose biggest claim to fame is the pretty mule he once owned named Beauty. (full context)