With her mother and father gone, Mary is forced, at the tender age of seven, to endure a childhood of abuse, prejudice, and hatred. Being daughter to a Native American father and white mother, she faces hardships after her parents pass and is subjected to attack as she works at a local store. She remembers the words of her Native American father: “Keep your spirit strong, no matter what they do to you.”
Life seems almost hopeless for young Mary, until she is rescued by the “Uglies.” They care for her and save her from what was certain doom. She still does not feel loved or accepted until she meets Benjamin. Their friendship grows into forbidden love. The hatred against Mary continues, but she never lets the abuse break her. She stands strong, determined to stop the prejudice and hate that she endures from the locals.
Mary—keeping a strong spirit and sense of hope—is kind, gentle, and caring. Due to her sweetness, she does win acceptance, finds love in the arms of Benjamin, and conquers the ugliness of bigotry. Mary embodies the spirit of strength and hope, never to be beaten down but to overcome.