A Look at the Idea of Confusion As Depicted By Morrison in His Book, The Bluest Eye, And I Want to Be Miss America by Alvarez
Identity crisis defined as a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. The Identity crisis influences the way woman of color view beauty by making them act differently and trying to assimilate. The Bluest Eye publicized by Toni Morrison uses character Pecola who is African American, and other people of color to expose the identity crisis as well as I want to be Miss America publicized by Julia Alvarez uses a young Dominican girl to expose it. Pecola and the Dominican girl both are stuck in the identity crisis and fail to come out that period.
Morrison uses her character “Pecola” to represent the identity crisis as she states “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror trying to discover the secret of ugliness” (45); Pecola has not yet to recognize her beauty or her purpose because she was told “you are ugly people” (39) and society has put this label on her that she fails to come out of. Jenkins corresponds that society traps her “The body is surrounded by an atmosphere of uncertainty” (423), Pecola being uncertain of what her beauty is, and how she can only bring in negative energy to herself made by society and can’t break out. Pecola “Each night without fail she prayed for blue eyes” (Morrison 46), Morrison’s Miltonian style displays that Pecola is trapped and is blinded of her beauty because it’s not the perfect known as “White beauty” and she prays ignorantly knowing that can’t happen. Jenkins states, “We have millions of people degrading their own physical characteristics and chasing the ethereal form of whiteness” (423), Pecola degrades herself because she does not have white characteristics clearly to the point she makes a prayer. Antagonist used to expose identity crisis of black woman in the novel The Bluest Eye, although they are minor characters. Morrison’s paradox “That they themselves were black… It was their contempt for their own blackness…, their exquisitely learned self-hatred”(65), the sole purpose of it is to show that people of color will degrade others because their own self-hatred, because they are hurting as well inside suffering the identity crisis.” Jenkins indicates” In the white world, the man of color encounters difficulties in the development of his bodily schema'(423), makes note on Morrison paradox because the black man fails to see that he is suffering an identity crisis while degrading someone of his own color.
Dominican girl of I want to be Miss America Julia Alvarez struggles with the cultural identity crisis, Alvarez Includes “As young teenagers in our new country, my three sisters and I searched for clues on how to look as if we belonged here …Where we discovered the Miss America contest” (91) The Dominican girl neglects her culture, because it’s not seen as beauty in America. Fong agrees “They may pursue social interactions with cultural and ethnic groups they identify with cultural and ethnic groups… (20)”, explaining that the Dominican girl wants to interact with the American beauty culture, while neglecting her. Fong explains the minority person wants to feel accepted rather than rejected… (21),thus they’ll do anything to be accepted even rejecting their cultural identity ,”This is what the Americans wear we would argue back”,(Alvarez 93) the Dominican girl without doubt wants to fit in with the dominate group to achieve that American beauty once more. Fong states if a minority person does not have exposure to his or her people and culture or does not have a support system, it will prolong the person’s identity struggle.(21), Alvarez agrees including ‘ I always felt let down” (95)and ‘ will never be the beauty queen’(96) as well as “Miss America… she never wears my face”(96). The Dominican girl clearly struggles to find her cultural identity and is affected by the crisis because American beauty of blonde hair and blue eyes wires her brain to think that the only type of beauty and fails to break out of her crisis. The Dominican girl was never given a support system because her culture is not how Americans view beauty.
The Identity crisis affects the way how women of color view beauty including Pecola from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and the Dominican girl in I want to be Miss America by Julia Alvarez. This motif of American beauty including blonde her and blue eyes affect the way women of color view beauty to the extent where they struggle in the identity crisis and have a negative view on how they view themselves and fail to grow as a character. The Identity crisis impacts women of color to a great extent, which they are stuck and fail to come out of this problem.
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