The Shaping of Character of Pecola Through Her Family and Her Society

The Bluest eyes is the work of Toni Morrison. In this novel we can see that there are many characters that are very interesting to analyze it. Because the characters are very characteristic. We can see at the main character of the bluest eyes, Pecola. Pecola has psychological problem that is very interesting to analyze. So in here I want to analyze the character of Pecola that is shaped from her family and her society. In here the big question for analyze the changing of Pecola’s character: What make Pecola want to have blue eyes and get it until she seems crazy?

And for this question, I use close reading and Psychoanalysis for know about the changing of Pecola’s Character and what the psychology problem in herself.

Psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis studies the often times skewed ways in which the mind expresses feelings. Those feelings range from anxiety and fear to hostility and sexual desire, and they can originate in a range of sources, from the traumas of personal history to the instincts of the body.

Psychoanalysis is also concerned with the dynamics of interpersonal relations with the way the self is formed through interactions with its familial and sociocultural environment.

Depending on the school of psychoanalysis one heeds, the study of mind’s operation in literature should be concerned either with the unconscious and the instincts or with the family, personal history, and the social world that shapes the self. Several reading strategies emerge from these psychoanalytic theories. A text might be read for the way unconscious material manifests itself through indirect means- images or descriptions that evoke psychological issues. The relation between characters might be studied for what they disclose about family dynamics and the way such dynamics shape selves.

A psychoanalysis reading might also attend to such themes or issues as separation, loss, boundaries, fusion with others, and the struggle to form a coherent and functioning self out a damaging context or traumatic personal history. Finally, language itself can be studied as a means of instantiating unconscious processes and working through some of the issues an emerging self faces as it struggles for adult existence or as it seeks to come to terms with disturbing unconscious material. Pecola, her family and her society Pecola is a girl who eleven years old.

Her father is Cholly Breedlove and her mother is Pauline Breedlove and her brother is Sammy. They are a poor family. In the beginning story have been described they have ugliness and describing of their ugliness is very clear. “Mrs. Breedlove, Sammy Breedlove, and Pecola Breedlove–wore their ugliness, put it on, so to speak, although it did not belong to them. The eyes, the small eyes set closely together under narrow foreheads. The low, irregular hairlines, which seemed even more irregular in contrast to the straight, heavy eyebrows which nearly met. Keen but crooked noses, with insolent nostrils.

They had high cheekbones, and their ears turned forward. Shapely lips which called attention not to themselves but to the rest of the face. You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. ” (Morrison: 30) Pauline has bad character. She is a mother but she does not like a mother. Even she is more love to her boss’ daughter than her daughter. She feels disgusted to her daughter. She does her daughter like Pecola is not her daughter. She always treat Pecola and through ill treatment makes Pecola hate herself. Cholly, he is worst father.

He is a drinker and he hate her daughter, Pecola. Even he rape Pecola. You can imagine that if there is a father rape her daughter? It shows to us he is worst father in the world. There are some characters that effect Pecola’s character. There are Frieda and Claudia who always love and keep Pecola from enable dangerous from their society. For example when Bay Boy, Woodrow Cain, Buddy Wilson, Junie Bug tried to mock Pecola, Frieda actually helped Pecola and made the black boys go away from them. Since that menstruation… Pecola was in Claudia’s house because she had no house.

Frieda and Claudia are very kind to her. They always play together. At one moment, when Frieda, Claudia and Pecola discussed about what they must do. The first proposal from Frieda to Pecola was go to Mr. Henry’s house to see girlie magazine. Suddenly in middle their discussion, blood was running down in her legs. Claudia was very panic and Frieda suddenly knew what they have to do. “Frieda said, “Oh. Lordy! I know. I know what that is! ” “What? ” Pecola’s fingers went to her mouth.

“That’s ministratin’. ” “What’s that? ” “You know. ” “Am I going to die? she asked. “Noooo. You won’t die. It just means you can have a baby! ” (21) And her mother came and helped Frieda that is helping Pecola. After that happen, in the night they lay down in the bed and Frieda and Claudia awe and respect to Pecola because it means that Pecola is now grown up. There is a question from Pecola “Is it true that I can have a baby now? ” and that question was answered by Frieda and said that “sure”. And Pecola asked again to Frieda “but…how? ” and “”Oh,” said Frieda, “somebody has to love you. ” . and Pecola asked again “How do you do that?

I mean, how do you get somebody to love you? ” but that question was not answered by Frieda because she had been asleep. Somebody has to love you? “Somebody has to love you. ” That is the answer for Pecola where when the maturity that is signed by menstruation and based on the answer of Frieda how Pecola can have a baby. I think that statement “somebody has to love you” make Pecola think about how the way someone loves her. But the fact, there is no one love her include her family. That evidences are her mother didn’t like her, her father and her friends too.

They hate her very much because of her ugliness. From at that time she thought to how the way somebody loves her and actually she has no her own standard of beauty based the standard of beauty generally in America. That is has white skin and has blue eyes. Her mind has been suggested by that standard of beauty. So she wants to have a pair of blue eyes. If she had a pair of blue eyes and can fulfill the standard of beauty, there’s somebody love her. But actually and true fact she did not have blue eyes and can’t fulfill the standard of beauty.

Contrast to Pecola’s longing who want to fulfill the standard of beauty and everyone loves her. She even accept cruel treatment form her society especially from her family. Like I said before, her father and her mother did not like her very much. One day, when Frieda and Claudia visited to Pecola’s house, there is something happen that make Pauline was very anger. “Mrs. Breedlove yanked her up by the arm, slapped her again, and in a voice thin with anger, abused Pecola directly and Frieda and me by implication. “Crazy fool… my floor, mess … look what you … ork get on out now out crazy … my floor, my floor … my floor. “

Her words were hotter and darker than the smoking berries, and we backed away in dread. The little girl in pink started to cry. Mrs. Breedlove turned to her. “Hush’ baby, hush. Come here. Oh, Lord, look at your dress. Don’t cry no more. Polly will change it. ”(85) That borned out that Pauline did not love Pecola very much and she prefer that baby than her daughter, Pecola. Her father is very cruel. He raped her own daughter and this made Pecola thought that her life is very bad and make her frustration.

She thought that if she had a white skin and beautiful girl maybe her mother and her father did not do bad thing to her. So do her friends. Her friends did bad thing to Pecola too. She was ever mocked by black boys (Bay Boy,Woodrow Cain, BuddyWilson, Junie Bug ), “Black e mo. Black e mo. Yadaddsleepsnekked. Black e mo black e mo ya dadd sleeps nekked. Black e mo … ” and Maureen did too “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute! ”. Everything her friends and her family did to Pecola made Pecola hated herself. Her face was very ugly and her body was black skin.

The ugliness from herself have made her think about herself. One day, she has ever seen in front of the mirror and thought that she was really ugly and everyone did not want she is there. “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike. She was the only member of her class who sat alone at a double desk. The first letter of her last name forced her to sit in the front of the room always. But what about Marie Appolonaire? Marie was in front of her, but she shared a desk with Luke Angelino.

Her teachers had always treated her this way. They tried never to glance at her, and called on her only when everyone was required to respond. ”(Morrison, 37) She thought that how beautiful she is if she has blue eyes. Yeah she wanted to have blue eyes. So their friend like and love her and did not something make her be anger and hate at herself. “Why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustn’t do bad things in front of those pretty eyes. ” Pretty eyes. Pretty blue eyes. Big blue pretty eyes. Run, Jip, run. Jip runs, Alice runs. Alice has blue eyes. Jerry has blue eyes. Jerry runs. Alice runs.

They run with their blue eyes. Four blue eyes. Four pretty blue eyes. Blue-sky eyes. ”(Morrison, 37) For reach her purpose to get blue eyes, she went to meet Soaphead who work in church. “Do what for you? ” “I can’t go to school no more. And I thought maybe you could help me. ” “Help you how? Tell me. Don’t be frightened. ” “My eyes. ” “What about your eyes? ” “I want them blue. “(Morrison, 146) But Soaphead lies Pecola. He made something that did not make sense. He tried to lie with reaction of the dog. If the dog had strange behavior, it meant that her purpose had been acceded.

She had blue eyes. But the dog behaves strangely and made Pecola thought that she has had blue eyes. In the end, she seemed crazy because she always talk with her own self. She felt she have had a pair blue eyes. The bluest eyes she had than Alice and Jerry in storybooks, bluer than Joanna’s, bluer than Michelena’s. pecola had the bluest eyes than her friends. Pecola and Psychological Problem Psychoanalysis discuss psychological problem in character. Character that loss identity and happen struggle at self to be interesting discussion in The Bluest Eyes novel. The main character is Pecola.

In the beginning story there’s no happen in Pecola’s mind but after she always get ill treatment from her mother, her father and her friends, her character has changed. Her society makes herself change. Pecola does not thank to God upon her body’s condition. Even she hates herself and want to be the other that have blue eyes. Everything she has done include goes to Church to meet Soaphead that she believe can accede her dream want to have a pair of blue eyes. Unfortunately, she is just eleven years old girl and does not know that her condition can’t change because that is nature form birth.

Soaphead is easier to lie her and make her seem crazy because she feel she have had blue eyes and in the end story she seems talk to herself and proud to have blue eyes. How sad she is. “The Bluest Eye portrays in poignant terms the tragic condition of the blacks in racist America. It examines how the ideologies perpetuated by the dominant groups and adopted by the marginalgroups influence the identity of the black women. Bombarded by image of white beauty, Morrison’s characters lose themselves to selfhatred and their only aim in life is to be white.

They try to erase their heritage, and eventually like Pecola Breedlove, the protagonist,who yearns for blue eyes, have no recourse except madness. ”(Bharati, Joshi, 39) Conclusion The bluest eyes is a novel that tell about the tragic condition of the black in racist America. Pecola that have black skin and does not fulfill the standard of beauty feel suffer and do everything to do fulfill that standard although in the end of the story she seems crazy because she has hallucination have a pair of bluest eyes. It show psychological problem at herself. Her family and her society that make her become to want the standard of beauty.

The Bluest Eye

Contrasting Images: How Comparing Two Ideas Helps Emphasize Theme in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison uses the classic Dick and Jane primers to contrast the unusual relationships that are established within the novel between family members or loved ones. The primers are helpful in doing so because they represent what is considered to be the ideal version of the perfect family, and therefore emphasize the dysfunctional relationships that exist within the Breedlove family.

This introduces the novel’s main point that although the characters in the novel may blame their unhappiness on their race, it is their lack of successful, loving relationships with others that are keeping them from being truly happy.

Morrison is using these ideas to prompt readers to question how the lack of having supportive relationships affects the members of the Breedlove family. In this essay I will argue that the contrast between the Dick and Jane primer and the Breedlove family can be used to show the unhappiness of the Breedloves.

This can be seen by evaluating the relationships formed within the Breedlove family, between Pecola Breedlove and animals, and between Cholly Breedlove and his sexual partners. On the first page of the novel, before Morrison introduces the main characters of The Bluest Eye, she repeats a Dick and Jane children’s primer three times. The first time with perfect punctuation, then with no punctuation, then finally with no punctuation and no spaces between words.

The article “Transgression as Poesis in The Bluest Eye” by Shelley Wong suggests that the first time the primer is stated it is used to represent the ideal “American family typified in the novel by the white Fisher family… The second version is then associated with the family of…Claudia MacTeer, a family admitting of some disorder… The final run-on version is said to depict the utter breakdown of order among the Breedloves” (472). This idea is significant because it introduces the idea of classifying the families in order of superiority by race, which is how the members of the Breedlove family also classify themselves.

However, it is evident that the Dick and Jane family is kind and loving to one another, and perhaps this is the reason they are happier, not due to their race. By further exploring some specific sections of the novel one is able to better evaluate the significance of contrasting the Breedlove’s with the Dick and Jane story. One of the first chapters of the text uses the primer to introduce the idea of the perfect family, which is immediately contrasted by the Breedlove family. An example of this is Pauline’s reaction to her daughter, Pecola, accidently spilling the berry cobbler.

Pauline does not care if Pecola is hurt and even though “the burn must have been painful, for [Pecola] cried out and began hopping about just as Mrs. Breedlove entered… and with the back of [Mrs. Breedlove’s] hand knocked [Pecola] to the floor” (Morrison 109). This image is disturbing because in a caring family, such as the one represented in the Dick and Jane story, a mother never hits her daughter. This shows Pecola’s unhappiness as she lives in fear of disappointing her mother and is always afraid of making the slightest mistake.

Another example of how their relationship is unhealthy is Pauline’s reaction to Pecola saying that her father had raped her. When Pecola is asked “why didn’t you tell Mrs. Breedlove… I don’t mean about the first time. I mean about the second time, when you were sleeping on the couch”, Pecola responds, “She didn’t even believe me when I told her… She wouldn’t have believed me then either” (Morrison 200). It a supportive family, like in the Dick and Jane story, a daughter should be able to talk to her mother about things without feeling judged.

The fact that Pauline does not even believe Pecola about something as serious as rape shows how this relationship is so dysfunctional. This quotation is also significant because the voice that is asking Pecola about her mother is actually her imaginary friend. This proves that Pecola is unhappy because she feels so isolated from her own family that she must imagine she has someone in her life that does care about her. Therefore, it is evident that the contrast between the Dick and Jane story and the relationships between the members of the Breedlove family can help to emphasize the unhappiness of the family.

Two family members that the Breedloves are missing that the Dick and Jane story does mention are the family pets, the cat and the dog. While the Breedlove’s do not have their own pets, Pecola does form short-lived relationships with one of each animal within the novel. In one part of the novel Pecola goes to Louis Junior’s house, and once she is inside he throws his cat at her face. Pecola tries to comfort the cat, but Junior grabs it and begins spinning it around his head.

Pecola’s effort to stop this causes them both to fall, and “in falling, Junior let go the cat, which… was thrown full force against the window. It slithered down and fell on he radiator behind the sofa” (Morrison 91). This is significant because it shows the difference between the relationship that Pecola has with the cat and the typical relationship one would have with a family cat. In trying to save the animal, Pecola ends up contributing to its death. Another example of a destructive relationship is between Pecola and Bob, the dog of Soaphead Church’s landlady.

Soaphead hates Bob because of his uncleanness, so when Pecola approaches him for help about a prayer, he takes advantage of her innocence and gives her a piece of poisoned meat and says, “‘Take this food and give it to the creature sleeping on the porch. Make sure he eats it. And mark well how he behaves… If the animal behaves strangely, your wish will be granted’” (Morrison 175). Pecola’s interaction with Bob contrasts the Dick and Jane story because the perfect family would have a dog that the children could always play with, but Pecola ends up killing the dog.

As Debra Werrein says in her article, “The Bluest Eye explores the contrast between oppressed local culture and innocent national ideal through the friction that erupts between Pecola’s life and 1940s models of childhood” (56). This is significant because it is through this distinction between the children’s relationships with animals represented in the primer and Pecola’s experience with the animals in the novel that prove how she is unhappy due to her lack of loving relationships.

The final kind of loving relationship that is represented in the novel are the relationships formed between sexual partners. Since a primer is designed for children, there is no mention of sexual partners in these stories. However, it can be assumed that this perfect version of a family that is being represented in the primer would have parents that are entirely faithful and devoted to one another. This can be contrasted by looking at the unhealthy sexual relationship between Pauline and Cholly.

Pauline discusses her disinterest in making love to her husband, and the text reads, “[Pauline] stiffens when she feels one of her paper curlers coming undone from the activity of love; imprints in her mind which one it is that is coming loose so she can quickly secure it once he is through” (Morrison 84). This quotation is important because it strongly contradicts the image that society has associated with the perfect marriage. It is evident that Pauline is discontent with her relationship with her husband as she is more concerned with her own image than with the act of love.

An additional sexual relationship that is disturbing in the novel is when Cholly rapes Pecola. Pecola tries to fight him off but ends up passing out from the shock of the situation. The text then states, “when the child regained consciousness, she was lying on the kitchen floor under a heavy quit, trying to connect the pain between her legs with the face of her mother looming over her” (Morrison 163). The quotation is worthy of attention because it shows the confusion and fear that Pecola feels from such an act against her will.

Also, it shows Cholly’s shame, as he is too uncomfortable to even make sure she gets to bed all right, which would be an appropriate action for a father to help his daughter with. Therefore, it can be seen how the members of the Breedlove family are unable to be truly happy by evaluating the effects that these inappropriate sexual relationships have on them. In conclusion, it is through the contrast between the Dick and Jane story and the characters of the Breedlove family that one is able to see the unhappiness of the family members.

The inclusion of the primer in the text may at first suggest that the Breedloves are unhappy due to their race. However, by examining the relationships between the family members and one another, animals, and sexual partners, it is evident that their lives are unfulfilled because of the lack of people they have that support and care for them. Therefore, Morrison proves that although one may initially believe that having what is considered an attractive outward appearance is key to living a fulfilling life, it is having successful, loving relationships with others that make one truly happy.

Literary elements in the bluest eye

In 1970, Toni Morrison published an intense novel, The Bluest Eye, to show the world the effects that internal racism had on African American families during the 1940s. The novel begins during the month of autumn, a time of confusion, contempt, and corruption in the life of the young narrator, Claudia. In the course of this portion of the story, Morrison eloquently portrays the potential effectiveness of literature through her master use of literary elements. Setting, mood, tone, and imagery are among the most prominent elements used to convey the harshness of the character’s lives in this rather contentious plot.

During the course of autumn, Morrison takes the reader through the numerous settings in the lives of the novel’s characters, including the McTeer home, the Breedlove Apartment, and the whorehouse directly above the apartment. All of which are located in Lorain, Ohio. The McTeer house, home to Mr. and Mrs. McTeer, Claudia, Frieda, and, for some time, Pecola, is conveyed to be a somewhat adequate living space for the family; however, it is by no means comfortable.

Claudia describes the space as being old, cold, green, peopled by roaches and mice; yet, this dwelling was a white man’s mansion compared to the retched condition of the Breedlove apartment. Hidden in the frame of an abandoned store, resided the equally abandoned bodies of Pecola, Pauline, and Cholly Breedlove. The building was a mirror of the very lives of its occupants; both were virtually invisible to the outside world, bland in adornment, and scarred by the effects of their pasts.

Seemingly out of place, directly above the Breedlove apartment lies the livelier home of the neighborhood whores, China, Poland, and Mrs. Marie. This location was Pecola’s escape, the one place she could forget her life in the apartment and enjoy the companionship of people who cared about her. The settings of the characters as described in the beginning of Morrison’s novel are essential to understanding their fundamental nature as human beings.

In addition to the severe descriptions of her novel’s setting, Morrison reveals the character’s innermost beings with an evident mood of embitterment within the first portion of, The Bluest Eye. It is a mood most powerfully conveyed through Pecola’s utter contempt toward the white race. It first made apparent to the reader when Pecola arrives to the McTeer home and drinks milk from the Shirley Temple cup. Drinking all three quarts of the family’s supply of milk, Pecola cannot seem to get enough of to drink.

Or, is it that she continues to drink the white goodness in hopes of changing her chocolate skin into the beautiful fair complexion of the young child star featured on the cup? Claudia reveals her resentment toward little Temple when she sneeringly drifts into jealous thoughts about the golden-locked girl dancing with her dearest Bojangles. The reader encounters this same attitude in Claudia as she dismembers a toy doll in an effort to figure out what the blue-eyed beauty attained that made it so loveable.

During autumn, Morrison portrays a corrupting mood of pure bitterness toward the white population through the attitudes of the novel’s characters. Along with a revelation of the characters’ dispositions through the setting and mood of her novel, Toni Morrison enables the reader to gain a better grasp on the true meaning of her work by the colloquial and cynical tone of the plot. Morrison often uses vernacular that is common to the characters in the novel, so that the reader can relate to the novel’s situations on a more personal level, which gives the story an idiomatic tone.

The novel reflects a cynical tone by the way that the characters, most especially the Breedloves, adopt the world’s opinion of their inherent ugliness onto themselves. When Pecola looks at herself in the mirror, she can see her dark deep-set eyes and bushy eyebrows; yet, she fails to notice her high cheekbones and voluptuous lips. Marked by this cynical assumption, the characters lives are eternally condemned to carry the burdens of a self-imposed conjecture.

Morrison gives the plot a colloquial and cynical tone, with the intention of conveying the true essence of the novel. Imagery is another enlightening literary device implemented by Morrison. Claudia’s puking incident in the opening of the novel is the first crude picture the reader is given of the realities of the McTeer’s lives. Though it is quite the gruesome portrait, Morrison successfully gets the message of the family’s harsh situation across early in the novel. Imagery can also be found in the repetitive descriptions of the blonde haired, blue-eyed white population.

Morrison’s exaggerated reflections of Pecola’s appearance shows the reader that the characters were so consumed with their lack of self-worth that they are blinded from the truth. The use of imagery in the novel shows the extent to which the African American race suffers with internal racism during the course of autumn. The Bluest Eye draws a horrific, yet realistic picture of the mark that internal racism left on America in the 1940s. Morrison effectively portrays this portrait by the use of various literary elements. The most frequently and prominently used in her novel are setting, mood, tone, and imagery.

The Bluest Eye is a novel written by Toni Morrison an

The Bluest Eye is a novel written by Toni Morrison, an African-American novelist and a Nobel Prize winner. The novel is set in the 1940s during which the African-American women were under great pressure to conform and satisfy the beauty standards that were put, that were; the ideal blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. The novel focuses on many different themes such as sexuality, race, beauty, and family. One of the major themes is social class. Social status plays a big role throughout the novel and it can be seen through different characters.

The focus in this essay will mainly be on the Breedloves. A dark skinned family, that are portrayed in a quite different manner than the other families.The Breedloves is a family of four; Cholly, the father. Pauline the mother and their son and daughter named Sammy and Pecola. The Breedloves are represented as an unstable poor family that seem to face problems leading from accepting themselves physically to being financially stable.

They are the unluckiest family shown in the novel, suffering from being accepted in the community. Every family member having their own internal battle in order to be loved and accepted. Morrison portrays them in a unique way, displaying how the judgement of the society, the social classes and self hatred leads to self destruction. Home and family being one of the main themes also illustrates the idea of self-worthiness. Being dark skinned was already a disadvantage during that period, therefore having a home created a sense of value. The Breedloves are portrayed as socially lowest class in the novel. Not owning a proper home they are automatically considered the most inferior ones. As quoted in the novel, [The Breedloves] lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed because they believed they were ugly.’ This also refers back to the theme of beauty and ugliness. Showing that the Breedloves never thought of them as self worthy and always referred to themselves as ugly. Furthermore in the novel it also mentions how the father happened to be one of the reasons why the Breedloves didn’t have a stable home.The MacTeer, another black family in the novel, are characterised quite oppositely to the Breedloves.Quoted in the novel, There is a difference between being put out and being putThe distinction was subtle but final….Knowing that there was such a thing as outdoors bred in us a hunger for property, for ownership.'(ch1) This quote illustrating how the MacTeers were seeking for the ownership and the racial independence, while the Breedloves were destroying their home. Another contrast between the two families is the presence of love. Although the mother of Frieda and Claudia MacTeer is shown as a strict uncaring woman, but in reality she cares and loves her daughters. And this is not shown in the Breedloves family. Pecola is constantly called ugly by her own mother and is abused and raped by her father. Which also leads to the fact that although the Breedloves and The MacTeers happen to be the same race there’s a huge difference between their lives.Not only does Morrison display the Breedloves different from the rest of the black families, but she also includes how every member of the Breedlove family is suffering physically and internally. Cholly for instance is shown as an alcoholic who beats and abuses his wife and daughter due to his past experience and hatred towards women that are seen as socially and legally less powerful. They were big, white, armed men. He was small, black, and helpless.'(ch8)This quote illustrating Cholly’s belief toward the white men that had humiliated him. Mentioning how the white were more superior than the black and how he felt emasculated. The self hatred is what leads to his attitude towards his family and their destruction. Pecola Breedlove, the protagonist of the novel, suffers from abuse. She, as stated before, is considered ugly. When she was born her own mother found her unpleasing. All through we can see that Pecola desires one thing that is to be loved. How do you do that? I mean how do you get someone to love you?'(Ch1) This shows that pecola is deprived of one thing that a family should or at least is expected to have. Which is slightly ironic because of the fact that they are called the Breedloves’ yet there is no love between them. Another black female character in the novel, Claudia MacTeer is presented as the opposite of Pecola. Where Pecola wishes for white beauty, Claudia despises the idea. Pecola desires for blue eyes, that are seen as a symbol of beauty, in hopes of being noticed. This shows how Morrison uses the idea of beauty to differentiate between the two.Pauline Breedlove, Pecola’s mom wishes she had the perfect life as shown in the movies. Living in a fantasy world, she tries to avoid her own family. Neglecting the children and constantly fighting her husband. She despises her marriage and the only way she feels better for herself is by working as a housemaid for a white family. And just like Pecola she constantly wishes for that white beauty. While Claudia’s mother is shown the opposite. She works hard, trying to earn enough for her family and loves her daughters.Moreover, Morrison continues stressing the fact that not only was race the reason for the Breedloves breakdown, but also the psychological issues and self-hatred greatly impacted too, as quoted, The Breedloves did not live in a storefront… they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly’. (ch1)In conclusion, using themes such as dreams,beauty and social class Toni Morrison portrays the Breedloves as the poorest in the novel. Showing how the pressure from the society, one’s internal love and self-worthiness can lead to destructions. And these destructions not only affecting the one person but the whole family as well causing them to become an outcast.

Communities shape the way people think about themselves and the people around

Communities shape the way people think about themselves and the people around. There reflect the ideas, beliefs and socio-economic realities that people share as a collective whole. Who interact with and how they react can foster a sense of belonging or lead to rejection and isolation. Culture, society, environment seem to play an important role in the shaping identities. Sometimes different things that shape identity range from a wide variety of values and belief to experiences. In novels The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Good People by David Foster Wallace, The Swimmer by John Cheever, and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, writers use similar conflics for their protagonists.

They create a tragedy where the protagonist must struggle between the ideal standard of life set by the prevailing culture and their real one to decide what the character’s desire. The mainstream culture spreads among people and it affects their self-definition. In these works of literature above show that characters want to fill an emotional or personal void by the importance of identity, the formation of self, and the influence of the environment and society acceptation.

In The Bluest Eye the perception of beauty is based on skin color and can affect one’s identity if someone does not fit society’s expectation. A community affected by poverty, institutionalized racism, sexual abuse has an influence on a little girl named Pecola Breedlove. It shapes her own self-image, as she is constantly reinforced with negative messages about herself and her family. This eventually leads her to believe that there is something inherently wrong with her appearance. The only way that it can be fixed, so she can be accepted by anyone, is to have blue eyes: Adult, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs ” all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured (Page 20). Pecola has been affected by society’s racism and feels worthless to everyone around her because of the abuse she receives from her father, mother, strangers, and other children. The standard of beauty is being a pretty white girl. Not being white, she is therefore labeled as ugly. In Pecola’s view on society, ugly people do not get attention, they do not deserve attention. Society rejects acknowledging her as a human being. She internalizes society’s racism and accepts this weakened perception of herself, and her low self-esteem disables any ability for Pecola to form a sense of self. Since she is unable to form mature relationships and have positive experiences to integrate and accumulate over her short lifetime, she is forced to create a second identity to satisfy her need for human interaction and acceptance.Similarly, in the novel Good People represents the nervousness of making an extremely difficult decision to belong in that society. This is a story of a young Christian couple, Lane A Dean, Jt., and Sheri Fisher, who deal with the hardships of an unplanned pregnancy and the decisions involved in young parenthood. Lane and Sheri must consider their moral values and religious beliefs before deciding on what to do. Religion is a global phenomenon, present across all cultures, and as such, each one colors those cultures differently and even creates subcultures with modified values from the general population. This cultural divide between the religious and the nonreligious can often obvious itself within a single individual when he is forced into a situation in which his religious values oppose his secular wisdom. Faced with a complex moral situation that seems to demand a grimmer outlook: Something in him, though, some terrible weakness or lack of values, could not tell her. It felt like a muscle he did not have. He didn’t know why; he just could not do it, or even pray to do it. They both seem to be struggling against what their beliefs and values are telling them is right, though they cannot identify or name what it is inside them that are struggling. While the religious references greatly help with establishing the characters’ personalities, it is the style in which the characters’ thought processes are presented illustrate best. In the case of Lane and Sheri have to make the decision whether or not to have an abortion. Ultimately, his right of passage is the fact that he is faced with such a difficult choice. There are many variables and competing desires, and yet he can find a sense of comfort in ideas like love and trust his heart. This reflects an individualistic cultural aspect that is more likely due to his background than his religious beliefs.Moreover, in the novel The Swimmer represents the emptiness of modern American society and the meaningless and lying of the society in the middle and upper classes. The story is about a man named Neddy who decides to go home by swimming from one neighbors’ pool to the other. As he goes through each pool, the landscape around Neddy changes as he changes. As Neddy encounters different friends, he starts to realize that he has forgotten different facts and dismisses all doubt from his mind about his forgetfulness and continues in his journey. The main theme for this story is accepting the passing of time will lead to a better life rather than denying its passing and the problems that come along with it. Neddy denies the passing of time throughout the story to keep his seemingly perfect life, even though he has many problems occurring throughout his life. When he sees that his house is dark and unkempt, Neddy considers several different explanations – all based on remembering a successful life. He wonders if his daughters have all gone to bed and if his wife had stayed for supper at the neighbor’s. He is surprised that she is not at home as usual on a Sunday. He sees the gutter hanging loose and assumes the storm had done this. He thinks he can fix the gutter in the morning, as he normally would do. When Neddy finds that the door of his home is locked, he assumes his cook or maid locked it by mistake. So Neddy relies on his coping mechanism of ignoring obvious problems and, as a result, tries to explain away ominous signs. He keeps on trying to delude himself until he is forced to confront the truth. The house is empty; his family has left him; he is alone. The more he has, the less he has. To fill the void inside him, he immerses himself in alcohol and swimming pools during his journey through life. Neddy’s preoccupation with material success and social standing leave him feeling empty. He ends up an empty man with an empty house and an empty bank account.Additionally, My Sister’s Keeper illustrates the controversial issues behind the individual’s rights to their own bodies based on love and mutual acceptance. The story follows that of the Fitzgerald family, afflicted by the eldest daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. Her Parents, Brian and Sara, decided to go through fertilization to conceive a genetic match. As Anna, the genetically modified child who will serve as Kate’s reluctant donor and willing savior. To avoid being forced to donate a kidney to Kate, Anna saves up her own money and hire a lawyer, Campell Alexander, to sue her own parents: I want to sue [my parents] for the rights to my own body (19). It is the formal declaration of her desire to choose her own life, even if that choice directly affects her sister’ life. Anna’s whole existence happened because Kate was ill. It’s a weird situation to be in, kind of having to be grateful that your older sister has cancer: It made me wonder, though, what would have happened if Kate had been healthy Certainly, I would not be part of this family (14). Anna has some feeling that she does not fit into their family. Anna, though, for better or for worse, knows that this is her family”she was created specifically for them: I used to pretend that I was just passing through this family on my way to my real one. (57). The fact that Anna feels invisible. She feels like she is not a typical teenage girl with boy problems, a hockey game to practice for, and homework to do, and instead of her mom, Sara, sees her only as a donor. Being simply a mass of cells to keep someone else alive makes Anna feel less than human.To summarize, several characters in the stories have social needs and want to belong by using a variety of behaviors to bring themselves closer to being accepted by others and themselves. There are significant ties between understanding and belonging. One needs to be understood through their relationships with others before they can be accepted and effectively belong to society and themselves. The expectations of relationships, society, and perception of belonging can subsequently be a driving force for individuals to rebel against conformity. Belonging or connections with others allows one to develop a distinct identity characterized that by affiliation, acceptance, and association. To gain a full understanding of belonging, it is essential to experience some significant hardships. In struggling to belong to someone else, an opportunity arises to carefully decide how much or whether lessons can be learned or ignored. These endeavors shape and develop the understanding of belonging not just to society but themselves.

Women In The Society


In contemporary world of this twenty first century, where modern science and technologies, new life style has reached its great height, people consider that men and women are given equal rights in family, education and other affairs. But, speaking truly, women are deprived of their real rights. Moreover, women aren’t even regarded as humanbeing where they are illtreated, subjugated, brutally charged, seen and used only as wanton and lecherous creatures by the male folks for their least and meanest physical pleasure.

So, firstly, women are marginalized for being a woman and secondly, they are marginalized based on their colour or race etc.This research paper focuses in analyzing these issues of gender disparity, racial and sexual violence which are prevalent even in this modern world in the novel The Bluest Eye written by Toni Morrison. This novel presents the various struggles faced by African-Americans, especially by girls and women in deeper context.

Born on 18th February 1931 in Lorain, Ohio, U.

S, Toni Morrison is an well-known American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University. An acclaimed novelist and literary critic, Toni Morrison is dedicated to exploring and exposing the black experience. She is also the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. She wrote four novels, all dealing with various aspects of the black experience in America. Sula was published in 1973, Song of Solomon followed in 1977, and in 1981, she released Tar Baby. All three garnered critical acclaim and raised her profile as a writer, but it was Beloved, published in 1987, that really cemented her position as one of America’s most important literary voices, fetch her Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988. The central theme of Morrison’s novels is the black American experience; in an unjust society, her characters struggle to find themselves and their cultural identity.

Her use of fantasy, her sinuous poetic style, and her rich interweaving of the mythic gave her stories great strength and texture.

Chloe L Sell says,  Morrison offers a view of gender disparity through race in The Bluest Eye, showing that black women and girls are doubly oppressed because of their race and gender. Pecola is a triple victim, because she is young, black and female. The society has identified the woman as a person who belongs to the  fairer sex. It is equal to say that a female is perceived by the society from the point of view of sex. Males and females co-exist in this society for the harmonious growth and development of the nation. They share equal responsibilities in supporting the family but at the same time gender difference occurs even in the family. Females play a vital role in the reproduction process and still they are labeled as the second sex or the weaker sex. (Spivak’s theory of subalternity) De Beauvoir says: Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him: she is not regarded as an autonomous being The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems waiting in significance by itself Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man. And she is simply what man decrees: thus she is called  the sex , by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being.

For him she is sex  absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute she is the Other (16).In this novel, Pecola is the central character where she was highly humiliated by malefolks because of her colour and also being as a girl. She was ashamed by her schoolmates, where all boys surrounded her and spoke filth about her. These boys would tease her like,Black e mo. Black e mo. Yadaddsleepsnekked. Black e mo black e mo ya dadd sleeps nekked. Black e mo (The Bluest Eye) She was also treated as untouchable by the shopkeeper because of her dark colour, where he shows his complete distaste upon the girl, Pecola.  She holds the money toward him. He hesitates, not wanting to touch her hand… Outside, Pecola feels the inexpicable shame ebb. ( The Bluest Eye) Geraldine also mentions Pecola as black bitch when she is put to blame of killing her cat.

Get out. You nasty little black bitch.  (The Bluest Eye) Cholly, Pecola’s dad had started his physical desire from his childhood, where he sexually assaulted the girl named Darlene. Even after marrying Pauline, he didn’t alter his desire of sexual gratification a bit. He married her for his sexual pleasure and used her to fulfill his needs and brutally attacked her several times. He never considered he as a humanbeing and his only work was to drink and have merry. Her mother also beats Pecola whenever she was high or in stress. Despite all, being her own father, Cholly abused and molested her own daughter and she was impregnated by him. Chloe L Sell says,Pecola’s and Darlene’s right to security of person/freedom from sexual violence is violated when Cholly rapes them. Because of this, they no longer have control over their bodies. Actually it is doubtful as to whether Pecola ever had control of her body. Her mother constantly abuses her, her father uses her as sexual property, and the state forces her to have a baby born of incest. This is taking away her bodily autonomy.

Not only by white folks, she was even more criticized and humiliated by her own community people for Pecola being extremely dark, which heightens the tragedy. She be lucky if it don’t live. Bound to be the ugliest thing walking….Ought to be a law: two ugly people doubling up like that to make more ugly. Be better off in the ground. (The Bluest Eye) These unceasing wounds and tortures by her surroundings made her discomfort and she yearned for blue eyes, which according to Pecola and the society are very pretty, lovely and beautiful. The society and the surroundings where she lived made her think so. On the process of longing and converting for blue eyes, she became mad at last.

Frieda and claudia are the friends of Pecola. They also belong to black community of Pecola. Even they confronted whips and beatings from their mother for two reasons.

  •  To show out their stress, intolerance and family issues by beating their children.
  •  Being born as a girl and also in the black community.

Besides, she can’t do nothing but whip us…She wouldn’t kill us, or laugh a terrible laugh at us, or throw a bottle at us.(The Bluest Eye) This shows that they are usually prone to these thrashings. These girls are also faced sexual abuse by Soaphead church and by Henry, mainly affected by Frieda where she explains this to her sister, Claudia in the novel.  First he said how pretty I was. Then he grabbed my arm and touched me.  (The Bluest Eye) Even though Pecola and these girls faced more or less similar issues, their way of approaching the life and the world seem to be different. Though these girls, Frieda and Claudia also had issues for being born as blacks, never tried to go the extent of changing the colour of the eyes into blue as Pecola did.  A little black girl yearns for the blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment. (The Bluest Eye) Ms. Marie, China and Poland are prostitutes who live in the house upstairs to Pecola’s house. They are alienated and disregarded by the society. They were driven to this kind of job because of the male folks as they left these girls astray without anyconcern after having used them.

Rajni Bala says, Commercial sex in the form of three black prostitutes, China, Poland and Miss Marie, forms an important of the collage of sexuality in the black community being described in The Bluest Eye. Living on the margin of society, these women have banded themselves together and represent reverse exploitation. The society where they live is so cruel and selfish, where men are dominative and women are subjugated. This, ultimately lead their life into full of sorrows, humiliation by losing their chastity that tends to move them to the edge of their society.


  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Vintage, 2007. Print
  • De Beauvoir, Simone. Introduction. The Second Sex. Trans. and ed. H. M.Parshley.
  • London: Picador, 1988. 13  29.
  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. A Literary Representation of the Subaltern: A
  • Woman?s Text from the Third World. In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics.
  • New York: Methuen, 1987. 241  268.

Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison Book Report

Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison Book Report

The Bluest Eye is the first book written and published by Toni Morrison. The story tells of a teenage black girl( Pecolla) that wishes to look like a white girl. This drive to model the beauty of a white girl drove Pecolla into madness.

While Pecolla is only eleven years old,the mindset she that was put upon her by the society that she has lived in. A society that was dominated by the culture of superior white men. Pecolla wants to have the bluest eyes in order to impress her classmates and neighbors. She wants to do it because her both her classmates and neighbors have implanted the idea in her head that she is ugly. There are a couple of themes that can be extracted from this intriguing story.
The first theme that is found in the story The Bluest Eye is the standard of beauty is based off of one’s skin tone. There are other examples outside of the many provided b Pecolla.

The first being the white doll that was gifted to Claudia. Showing that being white is better than being any color that is darker than white. Even in the movies that are watched depict the ideal form of beauty is being white. Another possible idea that us being shared is that not only is it only acceptable to be white, but any skin tone that gives off the appearance of white, such as being a lighter-skin tone of black. Not only was Pecolla shunned by her classmates and neighbors, but also her family and her teachers.

Adult black women in the story even have the twisted idea on their head that, if one does not have the complexion of white then that person is ugly. That only person that is unaffected by this cruel way of thinking is Claudia. She seems to be immune to it because of her young age. However it would be no surprise to anyone if by the time she was in her early teenage years that she will eventually be hypnotized by the experiences that come with her growing up in such a cruel society, into thinking white is right. There is a second underlying theme that connects to the first one that has been presented.

The second theme that is found is that one must look from their own perspective first ,before opening their ears to those around them. This idea is reflected through the main character Pecolla. Pecolla believes that if she looked like the ideal girl/women, she wouldn’t be so heavily affected by the beliefs of all the people around her. Which the reader may find understandable and perhaps be convinced. However, this is not what drove Pecolla to madness . What drove Pecolla to madness is, Pecolla got to busy listening to what everyone had to say. If Pecolla , had found a way to ignore the critics she faced every day, she might have remained sane.

The wishing for blue eyes rather than lighter skin tone may confuse the reader. However it can be interpreted as Pecolla wanting to not only have some form of beauty but also for herself to convince herself that she is beautiful and not ugly. This problem showcases self awareness which is unfortunately a current issue to this day. The Bluest Eye, is not one story, but rather multiple told from different perspectives.

Society Tells People

Society tells people, as a generation, how to act, talk, and dress in a way that is socially acceptable. In a racialized society, society tells people that they need to look a certain way in order to fit in with the crowd. In today’s society, being a person having blonde hair and blue eyes is what is considered as beautiful. It is like living in a world where whiteness is used as a standard of beauty and anything other, African Americans for example, diminishes its value and affects people’s perspective and judgement.

Their beauty and value seems not as important because they are constantly told they are ugly and are not socially acceptable. In the novel entitled The Bluest Eye, written by Toni Morrison, the protagonist, Pecola, struggles with her own identity because of her community’s definition of beauty. Through the life of Pecola, it is established that African American suffer through the construction of femininity in a racialized society.

Pecola lives in a community where she is constantly put down thus affecting her state of mind and well being. Being told she was ugly from the moment she was born, it affects Pecola and how she acts now. In Pecola’s community, it is established that there are few options that women can do with their lives. They can either get married, work for rich white families, or become prostitutes. Having been treated badly be her family and those around her, Pecola seeks out other ways where she can feel loved. She is not given a lot of options as that is how society views the worth of African Americans.

She seems to think the only way people will love her is by having blue eyes. Femininity tells women how they should be to be socially acceptable. Society is telling Pecola that the way that she is, is not fit for society. Morrison states, You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question, (Morrison 39). A community is very influential on a person because others teach you different things and implement their own opinions onto the person. In this instance, it affects Pecola as her community’s opinions are expressed to her. Their opinions start becoming her opinion thus leading her to drive herself mad.

Furthermore, Pecola suffers throughout the novel because of what and how society defines beauty in a person. Pecola became a different person because of her community and their impact on her. In Toni Morrison’s other books, they share a common theme of community, roots and identity. In The Bluest Eye, Pecola struggles to deal with her identity. In most of Morrison’s works, it explores the theme of identity and calls upon the treatment of self-image. Believing that she having blue eyes would give her an ideal life, Pecola drives herself to the point of insanity. African Americans are treated as inferior, thus, the superior being white Americans. The impact of feminism and race in her society affected Pecola and the way she perceives beauty.

Morrison states, Adult, older girls, shops, magazine, newspapers, window signs – all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured, ?Here,’ they said, ?this is beautiful, and if you are on this day ?worthy’ you may have it, (Morrison 20-21). Growing up, it was implemented into Pecola’s mind that she was not beautiful as she was given a perfect example of what beauty was. The belief that she wasn’t beautiful diminishes who she is as a woman. Based on the society and community she lives in, the concept of beauty is portrayed as a person with blue eyes and blonde hair. The constant comments from her family and her community affects her as she starts to believe the things they are saying.

Through different forms of media, it is shown to Pecola what the standard of beauty is and represents. For example, for children, the toys that young girls receive is barbie dolls. The barbie dolls represent what is socially acceptable in society. They promote dolls that are mostly caucasian who have blonde hair. Mostly, they do not represent a variety of different people of color but focus more on people having white skin. Society tells Pecola that she is not socially acceptable because of her dark skin and brown eyes

Pecola is a good example of how in society, the minority is not equally represented.She lives in a society where a person having blonde hair and blue eyes is the ideal when it comes to beauty. In today’s society, it is harder for African American women because people seem to believe they do not meet the social norms. Women have to change themselves in order to be deemed as normal. According to the QZ, it states, The experience of a black woman differs from the experiences of Jewish and Irish women. In order to conform to the ideal of white femininity, black women characters despise their blackness which in turn leads to self hatred. Pecola hates the color of her eyes and begs for the bluest eyes thinking that it will offer her something better than the life she lived.

In The Bluest Eye, the protagonist, Pecola, suffers due to the construction of how society perceives women to be in a racialized society. Pecola suffers due to the repetition of hurtful words from those closest to her, thus, affecting her state of mind. Morrison challenges standards of beauty and demonstrates that the concept of beauty is socially constructed. In her novel, Beloved, it shares a common theme of loss of oneself and the loss of identity. Pecola is only one example of how African American women are perceived in today’s society.

A High-yellow Dream

Motif of Color 1. Quote: A high-yellow dream child with long brown hair braided into two lynch ropes that hung down her backThere was a hint of spring in her sloe green eyes (Morrison 62) Analysis: The ideal image in this book is of a fair-skinned girl who has blue or green eyes. Claudia describes Maureen Peal, a half-African and half-white classmate, in this quote.

Maureen is seen as a much more beautiful character based on the standards in this book because although she is part African, she is still lighter skinned than many of the other characters, and she has green eyes.

These characteristics are closer on the spectrum of traits resembling those of white people. In contrast, Maureen’s hair resembles brown lynch ropes which is a reference to lynching that occurred among many African Americans in the South. This comparison connects to the oppression of being dark-skinned because it shows the superiority and power among light-skinned people which was the underlying reason that lynching occurred in the first place.

Overall, despite being of African American descent herself, Maureen is the poster-child of beauty in Claudia’s school because she is not as dark and therefore, not as ugly as her African American peers. 2. Quote: it pulled a tooth right out of my mouth. I could have cried. I had good teeth, not a rotten one in my head (Morrison 123) Analysis: Ms. Breedlove’s persistent attitude towards conforming to white beauty standards is quite apparent throughout the novel. This scene is symbolic of that because she loses her white tooth. She says that she styled her hair to resemble that of Jean Harlow, a white actress.

When she sat down at movies to eat her candy, her front tooth fell out. Her positive mood while mimicking the stylistic choices of white celebrities was completely ruined because her white tooth came out. After this unfortunate event, Ms. Breedlove returned to being ugly and stopped following her beauty routine because she felt worthless and unworthy. Furthermore, the loss of her tooth symbolizes the idea that despite her efforts to act or follow white beauty standards, she will never fully attain them because of her race which essentially leads to the self-destruction and hatefulness that she forces on her family. 3. Quote: You don’t even go to school/ You don’t either/ I know. But I used to. / What did you stop for?/ I don’t know. After that first day at school when I had my blue eyes. Well, the next day they had Mrs. Breedlove come out.

Now I don’t go anymore (Morrison 197) Analysis: Beforehand, Pecola went to Soaphead Church, a misanthropic advisor, to request that he give her blue eyes. Although Soaphead couldn’t physically do so, he basically brainwashes Pecola to believe that she now has blue eyes. Later, as shown in the quote, Pecola speaks to an unidentified, imaginary figure regarding her no longer going to school. Pecola is pregnant with her father’s child which is the real reason for why she is ostracized and no longer in school. Oblivious, Pecola tells the figure that she is probably no longer in school because she now has blue eyes that people may be envious of. Pecola is clearly using her blue eyes as an escape from all her childhood trauma and to her, rather than comprehending the severity and oppressiveness that she had endured, she is still stuck on regarding blue eyes and white superiority as the main center of her livelihood.

Because of this, the yearning for blue eyes is associated with being both desirable and paralyzing to Pecola; thus, it is a blue, or sad, perception that Pecola believes to be true. Child/Mother Relationships 4. Quote: As long as his needs were physical, she could meet themGeraldine did not talk to him, coo to him, or indulge him in kissing bouts (Morrison 86) Analysis: Geraldine and Junior’s relationship is not loving and is toxic as it has instilled corrupt ideals into Junior’s mind. This relationship is atypical in comparison to how mothers usually try to nurture their children. Geraldine said that she provides Junior with physical necessities, but she also takes pride in being a colored person because she believes she is more distinguished and entitled compared to the average nigger, so she seems to provide Junior with a sense of confidence as well.

Junior’s confidence turns into an ego as he starts to view certain black people as being inferior to him. The lack of emotion between Geraldine and Junior has reared him emotionless and unempathetic, which is the reason that Junior believes it is justified to form a boundary and single out certain black people, as exhibited when he terrorized Pecola. 5. Quote: ?Hush, baby, hush. Come here. Oh, Lord, look at your dress. Don’t cry no more. Polly will change it’ Over her shoulder she spit out words to us like rotten pieces of apple. ?Pick up that wash and get on out of here, so I can get this mess cleaned up’ (Morrison 109) Analysis: Ms. Breedlove is known for being unaffectionate to Pecola throughout the novel. She made a pie for the white daughter of the family she works for, which Pecola accidently knocks onto the ground. The steaming pie splatters on Pecola’s legs and Ms. Breedlove responds by beating her daughter. She proceeds to say nasty slurs to Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda, but comforts the young, white girl.

These actions are atypical of a mother as readers would expect for a mother to comfort her daughter in such a situation. In addition, Ms. Breedlove allows the white girl to refer to her as Polly whereas her own daughter is restricted to calling her Ms. Breedlove. This portion of the novel distinguishes the way in which Ms. Breedlove disassociates herself from black community as exhibited through her attempts to tend to the white people and based on her desire to be a mirror image of them. 6. Quote: She put on some water to boil and then swept the porch; then she hauled out the curtain stretcher, but instead of putting the damp curtains on it, she swept the porch again (Morrison 98) Analysis: Ms. MacTeer was compulsively cleaning proceeding the conflict regarding Frieda being assaulted by Mr. Henry. In a sense, this portrays the mother’s love and concern as well as guilt for Frieda.

She was unable to prevent the assault, but if it wasn’t for her approval, Mr. Henry would not be comfortable with coming to Frieda’s house frequently. Ms. MacTeer cleans her house and sweeps the porch twice to show how she is trying to get rid of the dirty feeling following the assault. This is her way of trying to remove the negative and pervasive feelings accompanied by Mr. Henry’s presence. In a sense, although she doesn’t directly comfort Frieda, she does stand up for her and exhibit many forms of guilt which is her way of showing that she cares for her daughter. Childlike Understanding 7. Quote: ?How come you got so many boyfriends, Miss Marie?’ (Morrison 52) Analysis: Pecola’s na??ve perception of prostitution is apparent in this excerpt. She asked Miss Marie about her many boyfriends which are in fact, Miss Marie’s clients. Although Pecola knew that China, Poland, and Miss Marie were shunned and not accepted in society for their work, she didn’t understand the exact reason why that is so or what it is that they do. This explains why Pecola is not repulsed by the prostitutes like the rest of the community.

Pecola’s innocence is a symbol of having an open mind and being accepting of people despite any preconceived biases. 8. Quote: ?Like the Maginot Line. She’s ruined’ An image of Frieda, big and fat came to mind (Morrison 101). Analysis: Claudia and Frieda use the term ruined incorrectly. Their mother told them that Miss Marie, also known as the Maginot Line, is ruined. The implication of this is because she is prostitute, her emotions are dulled, and she is worthless because of the oppressive lifestyle of partaking in sexual activities. To Claudia and Frieda, being ruined means the same as being fat. They proceed to try to find whiskey for Frieda so that she can burn off the fat that they believe she will gain because she is ruined. In the correct use of the term, Frieda is thought to be ruined because Mr. Henry assaulted her which detracts from her childlike innocence. Because of their childish understanding and limited views of the cold world, the girls have been shielded from such unbearable and explicit topics. 9. Quote: We did not think of the fact that Pecola was not married; lots of girls had babies who were not married. And we did not dwell on the fact that the baby’s father was Pecola’s father too We thought only of this overwhelming hatred for the unborn baby (Morrison 190-191)

Analysis: Because of their childlike understanding of Pecola’s situation, Claudia and Frieda were much more accepting of Pecola being pregnant with her father’s baby. Their na??vete is the reason for their open mindedness. They didn’t quite understand the concepts of rape, incest, and sex in general, so they did not regard the situation as others in the community did. Instead of shaming and laughing at Pecola for a situation that was completely out of her hands, they were more concerned about trying to use Pecola’s baby to defy white beauty standards so that the baby could combat the oppression that was common among black people. Therefore, although na??ve, Claudia and Frieda certainly had a mature understanding and nonjudgmental view of the matters that Pecola went through. Ugliness and Beauty 10. Quote: She thinks, ?[Dandelions] are ugly.

They are weeds.’ (Morrison 50) Analysis: Previously, Pecola admired dandelions and didn’t understand why people overlooked their beauty and purpose which alludes to her positive acceptance of being black. When she went to the store, Mr. Yacobowski, a white, blue-eyed man, was hesitant when taking Pecola’s money for the candy that she was buying because he was disgusted at the idea of touching a black person’s hand. Afterward, her optimism regarding the underrated dandelions and the African American race plummeted. This scene is impactful because the audience can detect a distinct comparison between the underappreciated dandelions and the oppressed African American race due to the despotism ingrained by the white people and even the acceptance of white beauty among black people. When Pecola decided that she was ugly, readers learned about Pecola’s acceptance of society’s horrific view of race defining beauty and status. 11. Quote: Maureen appeared at my elbow, and the boys seemed reluctant to continue under her springtime eyes so wide with interest. They buckled in confusion, not willing to beat up three girls under her watchful gaze (Morrison 67) Analysis: The boys were taunting Pecola for her skin color despite being black themselves.

Claudia and Frieda stepped in for Pecola and the boys were ready to fight back until they noticed fair, green-eyed Maureen nearby. Although Maureen didn’t step in to help Pecola, the fight coincidently stopped because of her presence. The harsh reality of this is the idea of beauty equating to power. The boys didn’t respect Pecola, Claudia, or Frieda because they were black and therefore not worthy of being respected. However, Maureen shared many of the common attributes associated with white people, so she had a higher status. To the boys, it seemed inappropriate and disrespectful to quarrel in front of a respectable girl which was defined to them based on beauty. 12. Quote: They wash themselves with orange-colored Lifebuoy soap, dust themselves with Cashmere Bouquet talc, clean their teeth with salt on a piece of rag, soften their skin with Jergens Lotion They straighten their hair with Dixie Peach, and part it on the side (Morrison 82) Analysis: This excerpt is in regard to black people who follow a routine that emphasizes traits that white people have.

Cleaning excessively while using soap, talc, and salt is symbolic of trying to clean away the African American culture and attributes that they have in them. They aspire to be clean and pure like white people since this is what is believed to be true by the majority of society. The use of Jergens Lotion as mentioned later in the chapter by Geraldine is to avoid looking ashen.

Ashen skin is common among dark-skinned people, so this is representative of trying to stray away from being associated with being an ugly, black person. Lastly, these people would straighten their hair which is another way in which they are changing cultural aspects to fit in with the admired white people. It is apparent that the beauty standards set by white people are being accepted as the defining point of appearance and these people do not want to be singled out as their fellow African Americans are, so they are trying to mimic these cosmetic procedures to feel like they are in a place of superiority.

The Bluest Eye: Analysis

The Bluest Eye: Analysis

In the book, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, writes about a young African American girl named Pecola Breedlove who is convinced she is ugly because she does not have blue eyes. Through Pecola Breedlove, Claudia MacTeer, and several other characters in the book, Morrison demonstrates the result of the Western’s culture standard of beauty which leads to internalized racism and self-hatred. The standard of beauty created through advertisements and other media outlets has made it difficult to grow up in America as an African American.

Throughout The Bluest Eye, Pecola’s physical attributes affects her self-esteem because she is only exposed to a certain type of beauty due the exposure that she has access to. In the beginning of the novel, Morrison asserts, Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs- all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. (20) Even at such a young age it was ingrained in the brains of little black girls that this was what a beautiful woman should look like. Although, this is not the reality of it, it just goes to show you how much of an affect media has.

Claudia’s character does not show much or if any self-hatred that her other peers may have, she very much so realizes the prejudice ideal of beauty going on. For example, she asserts that I destroyed white baby dolls The truly horrifying thing was the transference of the same impulses to little white girls. (22) She even goes on to say, What made people look at them and say, Awwwww, but not for me? (23) This is one of the only times she questions her own beauty by comparing it white females. Claudia’s character tries to resist glorifying the dolls and white girls but even though she does the white beauty standard is still there.

Morrison demonstrates internalized racism that divides part of the African American community throughout the novel. Characters like Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda show signs of jealously towards Maureen Peal, who is a light-skinned, wealthy, well off African American girl. Maureen represents the obvious division of classes within the African Americans society. The girls were so envious of her they even claimed, We looked hard for flaws to restore our equilibrium, but had to be content at first with uglying up her name, changing Maureen Peal to Meringue Pie. (63) These self-conscious girls took it upon themselves to look for flaws in order to make themselves feel better about being less pretty and being considered lower class.

As tensions arise Maureen reveals her internalized racist thoughts by yelling at Claudia, Frieda, and Pecola, I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute! (73) Maureen believes she is more attractive because she is of a lighter skin tone, she associates being whiter as being more beautiful. She also uses the word black as an insult, she is calling those girls uglier because they are blacker than her, yet Maureen is still a black girl. Morrison implies that the world they live in is that not only are whites superior but lighter and wealthier African Americans are too. Another character who displays internalized racism is Geraldine, who is also a lighter skinned, middle-class African American.

Geraldine clearly shows racism when she is explaining to her son the difference between colored people and niggers Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud. (87) Geraldine’s character represents that same-race racism that is common throughout this novel and it can occurs to all ages. She even acts as if other black people are of a separate race by telling her son the differences and by doing so she is establishing a racial stereotype. The differences in class and skin tone in the African Americans community has lead to same-race racism due to this Western culture’s standard of beauty and superiority.

Pecola correlates being beautiful with those who have blue eyes and she believes she can only achieve this beauty if she has blue eyes. Morrison distinctly states, It has 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. (46) By different she means she would see herself as pretty instead of the ugly girl she sees when she looks at herself in the mirror. Her self-hatred stems from the beauty standards that are created through the white people’s society.

Growing up as an African American in this society is definitely difficult and unhealthy. Imagine being a young black girl such as Pecola who feels a ton of pressure to comply with this unrealistic standard of beauty. Pecola was so intrigued by the white icons during her time that they knew she was fond of the Shirley Temple cup and took every opportunity to drink milk out of it just to handle and see sweet Shirley’s face. (23) Pecola drinking milk comforts her in a false means because it lets her believe in flawed values. Her obsessiveness with drinking milk from the Shirley Temple shows the pedestal she puts these white values of beauty on and it later leads to her strong desire for blue eyes. Pecola also goes to store to buy a certain kind of candy so she can idolize this white girl with blue eyes on the front of the wrapper. Every time something negative happens to Pecola she wishes for blue eyes, believing that it would solve all of her problems. The ideas white society has created is damaging to young black girls growing up because they then have an unsuitable definition of real beauty.

In the novel, Morrison uses dandelions as a symbol for the less privileged African American society. Mainly called weeds, dandelions represent the lower-class black society as unattractive, ineffective, and undesirable. Pecola who is consider of the less privileged society is similar to the dandelion and she even thought they were pretty. (47) Morrison implies that Pecola seeing beauty in the dandelions is her actually seeing beauty in herself.

This beauty depicts the underlying beauty that people do not notice. People generally perceive weeds as unpleasant because they are inconvenient, but people don’t realize that they can be beautiful in their own way. Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda, are the dandelions in the sense that they too are seen as ugly because they do not represent the Western’s culture standard of beauty. Pecola only begins to think dandelions are ugly when Mr. Yacobowski makes her feel ugly by actions such like not wanting to touch her hand. (49) and displaying the total absence of human recognition. (48) Mr. Yacobowski repulsiveness towards Pecola makes her now think dandelions are ugly. They are weeds. (50) So now Pecola hates herself again for not having blue eyes and the feelings of anger take over her body. This shows how society as a whole can shape a young person’s thoughts and opinions into thinking what is beautiful and what is not beautiful. The ideals of the white society make characters like Pecola want to conform to this beauty standard even though it is unattainable. Morrison draws connection between nature and racism because both can be looked at as inevitable.

Toni Morrison conveys that the Western’s culture standard of beauty results in internalized racism and self-hatred largely among the African American community. The social norm of beauty in this novel which is light skin and blue eyes has caused young girls like Pecola to question her identity along with her beauty which is similar to what happens to young children growing up in America today. The definition of physical beauty in America effected the confidence of Pecola and other characters in the novel. Morrison sheds light on same-race racism in characters like Maureen and Geraldine by showing how it is a direct outcome of this social structure that white and lighter is more superior. Racism whether it is internalized or not has made it difficult to grow up in America as an African American.