Toni Morrison expresses ideas of intersectionality, discrimination, and self-hatred/acceptance through multiple perspectives in her book, “The Bluest Eye”. The book follows a young girl, Pecola Breedlove throughout her journey of self-hatred and longing for the cultural beauty of having blue eyes. Pecola believes that having blue eyes would allow her to lead a better life, as blue eyes match society’s definition of beautiful because of its connection with “whiteness”. This yearning for acceptance and physical beauty isolates Pecola, as she begins to believe that the inferiority and hate that is being reflected back at her, is who she is. Coupled with the background of her parents, this leaves Pecola with a great deal of shame and self-loathing,
In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison demonstrates how a person’s identity affects a person 's actions. The two character who demonstrates this would be Cholly and Pecola. Cholly is an African American man who was abandoned by his mom when he was little later on, he married Polly and had a daughter Pecola. Pecola is a eleven who is African American and dreams of having blue eye because she believes she will finally be pretty. In this novel Morrison argues a person does not have control over their own identity.
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
In her interview to the newspaper The Gurdian Morrison says, “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate” (Jan 29 1992). Racial bigotry in The Bluest eye is an obvious indication of Toni Morrison’s concern, to describe creatively the insensitivity of the white folks towards black. Pecola, the Chief character in The Bluest Eye is the most woeful creation who consistently suffers the racial discrimination. Her own mother Pauline Breedlove abuses Pecola by treating the white girl of her employers as superior to her just because of the colour.
Root, Identity and Community have always been the underlying theme of Toni Morrison. Through the accounts of her novels, Toni Morrison shows several ways in which slavery, which was the most oppressive period in the black history, has affected the identity of African American. In Bluest Eye, Morrison shows that a black woman who searches for her true identity feels frustrated by her blackness and yearns to be white because of the constant fear of being rejected in her surroundings. Thus Morrison tries to locate post colonial black identity in the socio-political ground where cultures are hybridized, powers are negotiated and individuals are reproduced as resistant agents. She not only writes about claiming the superiority by the white but also
“All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and she gave to us” (page 205). Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye takes place in Lorain, Ohio shortly after the Great Depression, shining light onto the corruption and cycle of abuse that affects not only individuals, families, or communities, but ultimately a nation.
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. Pecola is challenged by the idea that her mother prefers her work life, that they have an outdated house, and that she does not look like the Shirley Temple doll with blue eyes.
Make-up Assignment for Seminar 3 The novel, The Bluest Eyes discusses many interesting themes during the course of the story, for example incest, prostitution, domestic violence, child molestation as well as racism. However, I think that the overall theme of the novel is highlighting how internalized white beauty standards form and cripple the lives of black girls and women. The reason as to why I believe that this is the main theme that Morrison wanted to convey in her novel is because there are implicit messages that whiteness is superior are everywhere throughout the book. Toni Morrison explains that the story of the novel came out of a childhood conversation she could never get out of her mind.
Both readings take part in a time where racism is at its peak, and children are the ones who receive the harshest affections due to its severity. It will become obvious to see how a caring individual (not always a parent) can become an influential role in a youth’s life by causing them to find love within themselves despite societal views. In The Bluest Eye, the main character Pecola Breedlove comes from a very broken home. Pecola’s role in society is differentiated by Frieda MacTeers, another little girl in the book.
In The Bluest Eye the majority of it is taken place in Lorain Ohio in the year of 1941, before there were any MLK movements so racism and oppression were still at large. More specifically they lived in a suburban town made of mostly black communities with few white people. The main characters all have pretty bad living conditions. This is due to the cycle of oppression, they started off in a bad place and kept giving and receiving comments that made them seem insignificant. For example Pecola got harassed by school boys, “Black e mo.
It is the mother’s vulnerability to the racial standards of beauty that is transmitted to the daughter and ultimately leads to her victimization. In fact, the reason of Pauline’s vulnerability to the racially prejudiced notions of beauty lies in her relationship with her own mother. The relationship between Pecola Breedlove, the protagonist, and her mother, Pauline Breedlove, is ironically characterized by lack of love, and emotional attachment, indifference, frustration and cruelty. Set in a small town in Ohio, during the Depression, The Bluest Eye is the story of eleven year old Pecola Breedlove, who, victimized by the racist society, yearns for blue eyes, which, she believes, will make her worthy of love, happiness and acceptance in the
Rape is inaccurately associated with sex when it essentially is about power. Feminist theorists assert that rape is only one symptom of the larger problem of a male dominated society (Cahill, 2001). Rape is an obnoxious fact of life due to its common occurrence and is commonly misinterpreted as a sexual act rather than a violent one. The act of rape does not occur because the rapist can’t “get sex elsewhere, but because they feel entitled to rape women in order to satisfy their needs. In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, sex is about power, violence and oppression. Sexual occurrences in the book are particularly forceful and humiliating, leaving a lasting effect of devastation on the novel’s characters sense of self. These effects can be observed from Freida thinking she is ruined after Mr. Henry assaults her to Pecola becoming insane after her own father rapes her through the novel.
INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACH KEY CONCEPTS TO BE DEVELOPED Students develop a deeper understanding of how authors use juxtaposition to develop a theme or idea within a text. Students complete this work by examining The Bluest Eye, writing an essay, and finally by selecting an image to illustrate the type of juxtaposition they have identified within the text. Students practice providing feedback to peers by participating in a gallery walk at the end of the Cornerstone.
Tough Love In her book The Bluest Eye, Morrison presents the line between success and failure, drawn by parents to their African American children, as a tool used to prepare them for society. The line is depicted through the parents attitudes towards their children. Their mannerisms mimic how society has treated them in the past. It is a mechanism used to prepare their children for what is to come.
One of the reasons behind the abandonment is a disruption of balance caused by the foreign notion of white supremacy. White supremacy stirs up cultural clashes, for instance, a conflict between the different standards for beauty and ugliness; it stimulates the formation of double-consciousness that leads to a sense of “always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” (Du Bois 2); it destroys the traditional worldview of African-Americans, and then the people as well (Zauditu-Selassie 3). In the Bluest Eye, Pecola is a victim of the imbalance caused by white supremacy, and her desire for blue eyes serves as evidence of distorted cultural values. Morrison demonstrates the destructive effect an imbalanced society can have on its people through narration of Pecola’s tragic fate. Furthermore, by creating a contradiction between Pecola and other members in the same community such as the MacTeer sisters, Morrison indicates that the imbalance can possibly be restored with the power of spirituality.