Introduction: American Literary stage has an array of expression. It is rightly asserted by Bhongle “Almost every literary genre is rich with new notions, and new ideologies. Women’s writings in America, Afro-American Literature, and Literature of the Immigrants Experience, and of the other ethnic groups- and the actively operating small but significant factors within these broad movements - make the contemporary American Literary scenario highly appealing” Representing principally, feminist cultural theory and ideology, this paper explores the relationship among the chief components— race and religion within the fictional narratives of Afro-American women writers; with reference to the first novel of Toni Morrison.
Toni Morrison, in numerous interviews, has said that her reason for writing The Bluest Eye was that she realized there was a book she wanted very much to read that had not been written yet. She set out to construct that book – one that she says was about her, or somebody like her. For until then, nobody had taken a little black girl—the most vulnerable kind of person in the world—seriously in literature; black female children have never held centre stage in anything. Thus with the arrival of the character Pecola Breedlove, a little hurt black girl is put to the centre of the story. Pecola’s quest is to acquire “Shirley Temple beauty” and blue eyes – ideals of beauty sponsored by the white world.
Destructive Nature of Racialised Beauty Toni Morrison published her first book, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. In this novel, Toni Morrison shows how societies racist and false beliefs on beauty can be seriously destructive if believed and taken to heart. Toni Morrison displays the destructive nature of racialised beauty through the character in the novel named Pecola Breedlove. Pecola lacks self esteem and believes that she is the blackest and ugliest girl, and she believes that white is the only beautiful race.
Afro-American women writers present how racism permeates the innermost recesses of the mind and heart of the blacks and affects even the most intimate human relationships. While depicting the corrosive impact of racism from social as well as psychological perspectives, they highlight the human cost black people have to pay in terms of their personal relationships, particularly the one between mother and daughter. Women novelists’ treatment of motherhood brings out black mothers’ pressures and challenges for survival and also reveals their different strategies and mechanisms to deal with these challenges. Along with this, the challenges black mothers have to face in dealing with their adolescent daughters, who suffer due to racism and are heavily influenced by the dominant value system, are also underlined by these writers. They portray how a black mother teaches her daughter to negotiate the hostile, wider world, and prepares her to face the problems and challenges boldly and confidently.
Likewise, Morrison also uses symbolism for the duration of the novel to establish how people can judge a person based on their economic standing. For instance, symbolism is represented through the blue eyes that is repeatedly mentioned in the novel. The blue eyes represent the idealistic white middle class life that Pecola dreams of having since white people commonly have blue eyes. The reader can infer this suggestion because whenever Pecola is experiencing bad things she wishes to have blue eyes. Morrison writes, "If she looked different, beautiful, maybe Cholly would be different and Mrs. Breedlove too…Each night, without fail, she prayed for the blue eyes…
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison takes place in Ohio in the 1940s. The novel is written from the perspective of African Americans and how they view themselves . Focusing on identity, Morrison uses rhetorical devices such as imagery, dictation, and symbolism to help stress her point of view on identity. In the novel Morrison argues that society influences an individual 's perceptions on beauty, which she supports through characters like Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove. Furthermore, Morrison illustrates how society shapes an individual 's character by instilling beauty expectations. Morrison is effective in relaying her message about the various impacts that society has on an individual 's identity through imagery, diction, and symbolism by showing
Toni Morrison´s The Bluest Eye (1970) conveys the Marxist idealism that social and economic realities are the factors that determine the culture and consciousness of a particular group. The struggle within the context of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the rejection of African American people is displayed in Morrison´s work, showing the author´s consciousness. Thus, in this paper I will try to show the author´s belief that human self-realisation is determined and delimited by the dominant class at every level. For this purpose I will focus on the relation between wealth and social class, on how the dominant class, in this case the white one, imposes its values over the black community, reducing its personality and leading its members to lose their identity. I will also try to show how the victims of the capitalist system see themselves trapped in an order from which it is very difficult to escape, and find themselves forced to give up and accept their current condition. In order to do so, I will use quotations extracted from Morrison´s work and other secondary resources, and I will focus on the main characters of the novel that stand as representations of their social dimension.
Later in the book, Toni Morrison uses Pecola’s own conviction of being “ugly” to show that she truly believes that if she changed her physical appearance to match those at the top of the race and beauty hierarchies, her perception of her reality would be ameliorated. Back at home after her parents’ fight, Pecola ponders the unfair way she is treated by teachers compared to her Caucasian classmates at school. When the narrator says, “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights—if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different. Maybe they’d say, ‘Why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustn’t do bad things in front of those pretty eyes’”
When Alexie realized what the purpose of a paragraph was, he felt delighted and experienced happiness. “I didn’t have the vocabulary to say “paragraph,” but I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words… This knowledge delighted me” (Alexie 583). With learning the definition of the word “paragraph”, the author’s curiosity of reading increased. The author also began to see his family as paragraphs (Alexie 583).
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).
The social standards of beauty and the idea of the American Dream in The Bluest Eye leads Mrs. Breedlove to feelings of shame that she later passes on to Pecola. The Breedloves are surrounded by the idea of perfection, and their absence of it makes them misfits. Mrs. Breedlove works for a white family, the Fishers. She enjoys the luxury of her work life and inevitably favors her work over her family. This leads Pecola to struggle to find her identity, in a time where perception is everything.
Delicate and sensitive, she passively suffers the abuse of her mother, father, and classmates. She is a symbol of the black community’s self-hatred and belief in its own ugliness. Others in the community, including her mother and father, act out their own self-hatred by expressing hatred towards her. Pecola’s desire for blue eyes comes from her stereotypical perception that as a black female, she needs to look beautiful to be treated beautifully. She believes that being granted the blue eyes that she wishes for would change both how others see her and what she is forced to see.
The Bluest Eye is a novel about a black girl named Pecola Breedlove who wishes for beauty in order to attain a better life. She faces emotional and physical conflicts throughout her childhood. At eleven years old, Pecola is raped by her alcoholic father and becomes pregnant. Unlike anyone else, Claudia and Frieda MacTeer, tries to help her through the pregnancy. However, Pecola’s baby ends up dying because it is premature. In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, she validates her theme of how society can corrupt people through the portrayal of a conflicted society of racism to show segregation between the white and nonwhite, symbolic blue eyes to portray what the characters desperately desire in order to have a better life, and an abused
Toni Morrison, the first black women Nobel Prize winner, in her first novel, The Bluest Eye depicts the tragic condition of the blacks in racist America. It examines how the ideologies perpetuated by the dominant groups and adopted by the marginal groups influence the identity of the black women. Through the depictions of white beauty icons, Morrison’s black characters lose themselves to self-hatred. They try to obliterate their heritage, and eventually like Pecola Breedlove, the child protagonist, who yearns for blue eyes, has no recourse except madness. This assignment focusses on double consciousness and its devastating effects on Pecola.
Morrison 's first novel, The Bluest Eye, examines the tragic effects of imposing white, middle-class American ideals of beauty on the developing female identity of a young African American girl during the early 1940s. Inspired by a conversation Morrison once had with an elementary school classmate who wished for blue eyes, the novel poignantly shows the psychological devastation of a young black girl, Pecola Breedlove, who searches for love and acceptance in a world that denies and devalues people of her own race. As her mental state slowly unravels, Pecola hopelessly longs to possess the conventional American standards of feminine beauty—namely, white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes—as presented to her by the popular icons and traditions of white culture. Written as a fragmented narrative from multiple perspectives and with significant typographical deviations, The Bluest Eye juxtaposes passages from the Dick-and-Jane grammar school primer with memories and stories of Pecola 's life alternately told in retrospect by one of Pecola 's now-grown childhood friends and by an omniscient narrator. Published in the midst of the Black Arts movement that flourished during the late 1960s and early 1970s, The Bluest Eye has attracted