Pecola's Ugliness

1257 Words6 Pages

Celie and Pecola are both victims of their father’s sexual abuse as young girls. These recurring events of their childhoods are catalysts that push them into emotional solitude. Pecola’s relationship with her dad is already somewhat unusual; there is no real connection between father and daughter due to Cholly’s selfish tendencies and complete lack of parenting skills. In a drunken stupor one Saturday afternoon, Cholly comes home to find Pecola washing dishes and then proceeds to “tenderly” rape his own daughter. This disgusting act of “love” in the eyes of Cholly is his personal attempt to fix Pecola’s “young, helpless, hopeless presence” (Morrison 161). Sadly, Pecola’s first and only child is a result of incest. In the words of Debra Werrlein, …show more content…

Pecola Breedlove is conditioned to believe that she is ugly by her parents from a young age and “[hides] behind [her ugliness]” because she does not know any better (Morrison 38). She closes herself off to the world, thinking that her “ugliness” is a burden to those around her. Pecola’s brokenness forces her to idolize the images of something that she will never be; a Shirley Temple duplicate with curly blonde hair and rosy red cheeks. But, what Pecola yearns for the most is for Temple’s blue eyes—more specifically, she yearns for the bluest eye. In the words of Jacqueline de Weever, Pecola’s dream for blue eyes shows that “[she] wants, in fact to be white” (de Weever 5). In other words, Pecola longs to be white so that she will get a second chance at living a better life with a better family, with one that is not ugly. She thinks that if she had the bluest eyes, “maybe Cholly would be different” and “Mrs. Breedlove too” (Morrison 46). Pecola goes through great lengths to transform herself into a girl with the bluest eye—she eats the Mary Jane candies, worships the image of Shirley Temple on a cup, dreams to dissapear—but none of this works. Pecola turns to Soaphead Church, who “did what [God] did not, could not, would not do”. Soaphead “looked at that ugly little black girl” and “loved her”, even though what Pecola needed was more than love (Morrison 181). Pecola’s obsession with being beautiful is what eventually causes her downfall. Celie, on the other hand, does not worship the images of women out of desire to look like them. She does it because their beauty fascinates her. To clarify, Celie spends “all night long” staring at the picture of Shug Avery, “the most beautiful [woman she has] ever seen” who “be dressed to kill, whirling and

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