Theme and message

The main themes explored in the story “A Place in the Sun” by Joanne Harris are impossible beauty standards and social segregation.

Impossible beauty standards

The theme of impossible beauty standards is explored throughout the story.

Beauty standards are not only applied to the people in the story but also to the most exclusive beach, Platinum Sands™: “Weeds, stones and beach-life are painstakingly screened, examined and, if necessary, removed. Authenticity is encouraged to a certain degree, though not at the expense of aesthetics.” (ll. 16-18). This shows that the society in which the protagonist lives prefers a more visually pleasant environment rather than a completely natural one.

The beauty standards that the protagonist and others who aspire to Platinum have to respect can only be attained through a demanding routine: “Waxing, buffing, manicure, massage; an hour at the gym every morning and another at the hairdresser (…) All-body tanning is mandatory at Silver-Sands” (ll. 54-56). Other requirements that the protagonist must meet reveal the absurdity of the beaut...

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