Summary of Sweet Sixteen in chapters and possible questions from sweet sixteen.
Summary of Sweet Sixteen Chapter VII (Beauty)
After Mr. Bello’s story, his wife goes to the salon while Aliya stays in her room thinking about the story her father had told her and lesson that he was trying to teach her. She is not sure if she could act the way the slave did, she thinks about the people who have been terrible to her, people like her biology teacher who had body shamed and made a mockery of her size in front of the whole class and Bunmi, her senior in school, who constantly picks on her. She doesn’t think she can ever be nice to them but her father tells her that she should always try to influence and people by reacting differently to those who are mean to her.
Aliya can’t hold back the tears as she tells her father of how she is being mocked in school about her size. Her father tries to console her and promises to take it up with the principal, he goes on to tell her that she would never be able to control how other people behave towards her but she can control how they make her feel. To Mr. Bello, Aliya is the most beautiful girl in the world and he does not fail to let her know, he goes on to explain that beauty goes beyond the outward look and what the world has stereotyped it to be. To Mr. Bello, beauty is confidence and comportment, intelligence and self-worth. He tries to convince Aliya that these are the virtues that make one beautiful, and that beauty is more of character than physical outlook.
Aliya, who still thinks only slim people are often used to portray good and wonderful things such as models, presenters and the rest of that kind but clowns and stupid people are always fat, as shown on TV, is countered by her father who tells her that in some cultures, women are being fattened or taken to fattening rooms so they can attract suitors. He gives examples like Mauritania, where they have fat-farms for women. In that society, according to Mr. Bello, an attractive woman is one that is plump. He also talks about the fattening room among the Efik people, where girls are held in seclusion and fattened up in preparation for marriage. Aliya is pleased and most grateful to have a father like Mr. Bello, the way he talked her out of looking down on herself and accepting people’s opinions about her, makes her feel like the luckiest child in the world to be blessed with such an amazing and comforting father.