A Theme Of Black Identity In The Bluest Eye By Toni Morrison

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Bluest Eye is a novel by Toni Morrison, published in 1970. The novel tells the tragic story of a young black girl’s battle to achieve white standards of beauty and her subsequent decline into madness. The prelude tells the reader that Pecola Breedlove’s father rapes her. When Pecola’s baby dies, she is distraught and goes mad. Pecola spends the remainder of her days addressing her imaginary friend about her blue eyes which were given to her by Soaphead Church. The novel begins when Pecola Breedlove goes to live with Claudia and Frieda’s family, the MacTeers, after her dad, Cholly, torches their old house. Sometime after the Breedloves move into another house, Cholly rapes Pecola, impregnating her. When she learns of the pregnancy, she goes to see Soaphead Church, the town’s profound consultant, and requests that he give her blue eyes. When Pecola’s baby dies, she’s driven mad by grief and abuse and she spends the rest of her days staring into mirrors, talking to her imaginary friend about her big blue eyes. The Bluest Eye portrays how internalized white beauty standards deform the lives of black women. The implication that whiteness is superior is present everywhere, including Claudia’s white baby doll, the admiration of Shirley Temple, the belief that light-skinned Maureen is prettier than the other black girls, the glorification of white beauty in movies, and Pauline inclination towards the white girl she works for over her daughter. Adult women grow up learning to hate their black skin and take it out on their children. Amidst all this, Claudia, unbothered by this obsession with white skin, envisions Pecola’s unborn child as beautiful in its blackness.

However, it is suggested that Claudia will learn to hate herself as she grows older, as though racial self-hatred were an important part of development. Pecola is most affected by the white beauty standards. She connects beauty with being loved and believes that if she has blue eyes, the cruelty in her life will be replaced by affection and respect. This desperate need for blue eyes ultimately leads to her madness; the fulfillment of her wish to meet white beauty standards may be more unfortunate than the desire drive itself. Pecola’s craving for blue eyes, while exceptionally ridiculous, depends on one right knowledge in her reality; she accepts that the savagery she witnesses and encounters is associated with how she is seen. Pecola envisions that on the off chance she had excellent blue eyes, individuals would not have any desire to do monstrous things to her. The precision of this understanding is asserted by her experience of being prodded by young men — when Maureen acts the hero, it appears that they never again need to act seriously under Maureen’s appealing look. Pecola and her family are often abused for their dark skin. By wanting blue eyes as opposed to lighter skin, Pecola demonstrates that she wishes to see things differently as much as she wishes to be seen in a different way. She can fulfil this desire by blinding herself. Pecola is then ready to recognise her beauty, but loses her ability to see herself and her general surroundings accurately. The association between how one is seen and what one sees has an interestingly unfortunate result for her. The Bluest Eye is about both the joys and dangers of sexual inception. At the start of the novel, Pecola has her first menstrual period, and towards the end she has her first sexual experience which is harsh. Frieda thinks about and foresees bleeding, and her first sexual experience is when Henry Washington touches her. We are recounted the scarring narrative of Cholly’s first sexual experience. These mortifying and frightful encounters show that sexual transitioning is loaded with danger, particularly in an abusive situation. In the novel, guardians assume a significant part of the fault for their kids’ frequently traumatic sexual transitioning. The most unmitigated case is Cholly’s assault of his own daughter, Pecola, which may be a repetition of the sexual mortification Cholly experienced by the two supremacist whites. Frieda’s experience is less excruciating than Pecola’s as her parents promptly act the hero to protect their daughter.

However, Frieda is unable to comprehend what has befallen her. Rather, she is afraid of being ‘destroyed’ like the neighborhood prostitutes. The predominance of sexual brutality in the novel insinuates that prejudice isn’t the main thing that manipulates black girlhoods. There is an inescapable notion that womens’ bodies are accessible for abuse. Parents’ refusal to educate their daughters about sexuality makes the girls’ progress into sexual maturity troublesome. To Pecola, blue eyes symbolize the magnificence and bliss that she connects with the white working class world. They also symbolize her own visual impairment, for she reveres blue eyes at the expense of her mental health. The ‘bluest’ eyes could likewise mean the saddest eyes. Conclusion The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is one of the novels that depict how black people viewed themselves and how they were viewed by society, especially white people. ‘Black’ was viewed as sinister, evil and low class while being ‘fair’ or ‘white’ was viewed as just and superior. White women started the feminist movement which was about getting equal rights for women but this was not applicable to black women. Black women started a movement for basic rights rather than femininity and called it womenism. Gloria Willis pioneered this movement. It led to a cultural movement called ‘Black is Beautiful’.


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