Symbolism In The Bluest Eye

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In The Bluest Eye, Morrison offers multiple perspectives to help explain the intensity of racism and what it means to be oppressed and degraded in society. Through the eyes of various characters, readers are taken on a journey during the 1940s to demonstrate how each black character copes with the unfair standards and beliefs that society has. While some of the characters internalize self-hatred and have the desire to be someone else, others do not wish to change themselves to fit into the societal standards. Throughout the novel, there are clear and distinct remarks that are made to help distinguish the difference between white characters and black characters which is quite crucial. Morrison uses dirt and cleanliness to symbolize how society…show more content…
Many of the black characters, including Pecola, Cholly, and Pauline believe that they are indeed “ugly” and “dirty” because it’s what society has wanted people to think since the beginning of time. This idea that they are worth nothing and that there is no beauty or cleanliness in them has become embedded in their memories considering it is all they’ve ever known while growing up. Pecola and her family “did not live in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty adjusting to the cutbacks at the plant. They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly” (38). While some of the black characters in The Bluest Eye are very much confident in themselves, there are characters like the Breedloves, who have succumbed to society’s opinion and have started to believe that they are the equivalent of dirtiness. The Breedloves live in a small home with only two rooms, and their life is one that is filled with many hardships because “they were poor and black” which during this time period is quite realistic. However, many black families hope for something more in life, for the same privileges that white people have, yet the Breedloves don’t expect much more than what they have since “they believed they were ugly.” Pecola and her family are aware of the “dirty” connotation that follows them and instead of fighting this dirtiness, they’ve come to accept that this is the way society sees them and there is nothing they can do to change that. Morrison, herself argues, “You need a whole community— everybody —to raise a child,” yet in society, this statement only truly stands for white families. For a black family, however, this is as almost as impossible when the only thing the community sees you as is “dirt” and “ugly”. Morrison uses the symbolization of dirtiness
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