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. Double consciousness is a term coined by W.E.B. DuBois in his The Souls of Black Folk. He describes it as, “a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity”(2). The theory of double consciousness is the idea that the African American must navigate the voyages of life from within a form of “two-ness” (2), because he is both man, and black. The Bluest Eyes open with an anecdote of Dick and Jane to show how racism destroys the mental stability of black people. It equates whites with success and happiness while blacks with poverty and unhappiness. This traumatises the minds of Blacks and they begin to dislike their own heritage and skin colour in the white world of Dick and Jane.
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
She wrote that her inspiration for the story was a conversation she had had when she was little with another little black girl who had a fascination with blue eyes, much like her character Pecola Breedlove. Morrison is known for her stories that circle around how racism and misogyny affect black women. For The Bluest Eye, a little girl named Pecola Breedlove goes insane from the inhumane treatment she faces as an eleven-year-old african american girl in the Great Depression. There are many points in the book where she is dehumanized and treated less than dirt, even by her own parents. Her father in a bid to feel in control despite how much white men have controlled him, rapes his daughter and she becomes pregnant with his child.
In 1903 Profound sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor W.E.B DuBois once proclaimed the biggest problem of the twentieth century was the problem of the color line in his critically acclaimed book The Souls of Black Folk Dubois dissects several themes as it relates to the Negro position in America. Although what DuBois describes as the “color line” was not the only problem that pervaded during his time and beyond in The Souls of Black Flock DuBois promotes the following ideas of slavery vs freedom, education, exclusion vs belonging, and material vs. psychological Racism as pivotal themes thought the book. Over the course of the book, DuBois coins the following terms “Double Consciousness” and
It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, —an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. Yellow book p.3 - W. E. B. DuBois William DuBois an African American scholar have coined a concept of double consciousness to describe a sensation that colored people have developed throughout years. According to DuBois, African Americans are somehow endowed with a skill that lets them view themselves from other, usually, white perspective. He argues that African Americans struggled with multi- faceted conception of self.
The negativity of light and darkness in Sonny’s Blues magnifies the suffering in the community of Harlem and reveals the how everyone, child and adult are touched by the suffering. While the narrator was reminiscing about his mother and family when they used to sit in the living room, he noticed the darkness in the night. He saw the darkness fill the silence and hoped that he won’t be touched by darkness one day (19). Baldwin wrote, “Light fills the room, the child is filled with darkness, He knows that every time this happens he’s moved just a little closer to that darkness outside” (19).
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 the reading “The Souls of Black Folks” W.E.B Dubois describes the double-consciousness as “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” (pg. 689). This can be interpreted as one not having or understanding his or her self but basing on they feel on what others may think. The African American has faced many issues with double-consciousness and often may be swindled into feeling a certain way about themselves because of what others may have thought of them. In the essays: “The New Negro” by Alain Locke, “ “ The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes, and Zora Neal Hurston’s “How it Feels to be Colored these authors react to the double- consciousness concept defined by W.E.B Dubois.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay 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 the author argues that society influences an individual 's perception on beauty, which she supports through characters like Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove.
They constantly encounter the problem of not living up to society’s beauty standards, which results in feelings of self-hatred based on race. These feelings perpetuate racism, as society, and even black people, tend to favor white beauty since it is held up as superior. The problems that Pecola, Pauline, and Claudia face in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye are not just figments of the past. Today, millions of women across the country feel some sort of self-loathing stemming from dissatisfaction over how they look. It is important that society tries to free itself from these nonsensical standards and celebrate the unique beauty of each individual
There are a variety of cultural differences depicted throughout the world. Beliefs systems and social groups in our society today are based on a person’s background history, upbringing, and consciousness. One major aspect of a social group is the study of double consciousness or the internal conflict. The presence of two unconnected streams of consciousness in one individual or experienced by subordinated groups in an oppressive society in comparison to one’s own individuality or the quality that makes one person or thing different from all others. How a person feels about themselves and the intrapersonal relationship that occurs within the individual mind or self has a great impact on a person’s life.
He had this understanding that there was a double-consciousness that existed amongst everyone, regardless of race or gender. (DuBois, p. 68) However, it impacted African Americans in a negative way. A black man living in a white dominated America has both the identity of an American as well as a black American. His book, “The Souls of Black Folk”, discusses his idea that black and white people are separated from this invisible colorline.
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
It involves confronting her otherness- first, as a woman in patriarchal society; secondly as a member of an ethnic minority in America; and finally, as an English speaking American within a “real” Chinese family. It is only through painfully confronting, acknowledging, and validating her otherness at all three levels that she discovers her true individual self and its connections with and place within community and family. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison illustrates how gender identities are formed and replicated in an individual’s life. Pecola used as an example presents the extent to which rejection can be greatly formative. Morrison’s portrayal of a young broken girl sheds light on gender identity as Pecola struggles to obtain her identity as a female.
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
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.
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