The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – The Concept of Race
In the novel, The Bluest Eye, is about partiality, yet there are commonly a couple of case of mental maltreatment from relatives and the community. The characters in the novel are liable to a hidden game plan of characteristics which makes its own one of a kind cycle of abuse. It seems to demonstrate how the African American social measures are reliant on the shade of their skin to give some illumination. For all races and for all individuals, it is essential to totally perceive how society impacts our characteristics and feelings. By sketching out the effect of social objectives and advancing toward different psychical responses. It demonstrates how racial abuse works as white-portrayed magnificence camouflage and elucidates its hurting sway on African-Americans.
Morrison gives a clear understanding into the psychical procedure in light of direct racial segregation, by portraying the character of the young lady named, Claudia. Not affected by the white culture yet, little Claudia has not touched base at the defining moment in the improvement of her mind, which would enable her to cherish the blue-looked at, yellow-haired, and pink-cleaned dolls. What Claudia feels around then is oblivious contempt, which ranges from white dolls to all the white young ladies. The dark kids begin with a solid, direct scorn of white prevalence. Notwithstanding, when they get injured because of that disdain. For instance, Claudia gets admonished in the wake of dismantling the doll and get the support of the message that whiteness is wonderful and darkness is appalling. For instance, the light-skin dark young lady Maureen’s prevalence at school, they start to search for asylum. Also, another character Pecola, is deceived by a general public that conditions her to believe that her skin is not beautiful. She in fact doesn’t characterize white Western culture’s thoughts of magnificence. She describes how she wants to look, giving an example of the images of the prevailing white culture that gives the overall pictures of self-character. Morrison brings up forcefully that African-Americans’ love of white culture, alongside their sadness, similar to Pecola’s grotesqueness, is a condition of being that is both constrained upon and picked by them. To Morrison, just when individuals pick and acknowledge these white-characterized qualities, do they start to disguise them and view the world through the eyes of white culture. Popular culture can sometimes quicken this silent transformation, because the atmosphere it creates and racist messages are so prevalent that they are difficult to ignore. Therefore, African- Americans are especially vulnerable to the messages conveyed by popular culture that white beauty will inevitably dominate people’s life.
Another strong precedent is from Pauline’ mother, Mrs. Pauline Breedlove. Pecola’s very own mom strengthens the message the young ladies have been getting about the prevalence of whites. For Mrs. Pauline Breedlove, motion pictures are the essential vehicle for transmitting white pictures for open utilization. She ingests the arrangement of qualities from the cinema, at that point exacts a serious injury on her significant other and kids who bomb by the size of supreme excellence. Inevitably, Pauline abandons her very own family and takes shelter in the delicate magnificence encompassing the Fishers’ home. Her craving to deny her little girl is demonstrated when the white young lady asks who the dark kids are and Mrs. Breedlove abstains from noting her. She has repudiated her very own dark family for the group of her white business. It is never again the immediate mistreatment of dark by white, however persecution of a little girl by her mom who disguises the white standard of excellence and utilizations it as an instrument to hurt her very own little girl.
For all races, it is basic to completely see how mass culture contacts, impacts and shapes our qualities and convictions. Simply after completely understanding that, can individuals endeavor to battle and develop to their fullest potential. On account of Morrison’s striking representation of the unpretentious yet significant social impact, the book won extraordinary achievement, however the plot of The Bluest Eye isn’t so new or not quite the same as those of other African American books. Through her announcement on the harm that disguised prejudice can do to the most defenseless individual from a network. By representing the impact of social standards and moving toward dark individual’s’ distinctive physical reactions, this paper demonstrates how racial persecution functions as white-defi ned excellence disguise and clarifies its harming impact on African-Americans just as on others inside their families and the area.
The Quest For Beauty in The Bluest Eye
Any literature written in the United States or the original colonies is part of what is today considered American Literature. The variety of cultures that were welcomed into America gave way to a fantastic diversity in the types of literature it spawned. From the 1500s to today, America has delivered some of the finest writers of our time. The reason that American literature is unique is because America from it’s beginning had a special philosophy of life and freedom and reflected it in it’s writings.
The purpose of this paper is to study the quest for an ideal beauty in Toni Morrison’s famous work “The Bluest Eye”. She explores how Western standards for an ideal beauty are created and propagated among the black community. The novel not only portrays the lives of those who are dark skinned but it also shows how the standard of white beauty is imposed on black youth which drastically damage one’s self-love and esteem which in turn causes self-hatred. Morrison in this novel focuses on the damage that the black women suffer through the construction of femininity in a racial society where whiteness is used as a standard of beauty.
Toni Morrison is a well-known African-American woman writer of modern age. She is a celebrated American writer who has won several literary awards like National Book Critics Award, The Pulitzer Prize and The Nobel Prize. She has written seven novels so far and widely read by people all over the world. The works of African – American woman writers focus their attention on black audience. Under the influence of racism of European white civilization the blacks could not attain their identity or personality. She believed that for establishing their identity the African American should look into the black past and heart for a new vision and future instead of following racist European symbols and culture. A black artist does not live in solitude. The best art is political , it must effect change and improvement. It should be responsible to society and enlighten people. In her novel she writes in style asking the reader to participate in her story and ideas. She narrows down her audience to women. In her first three novels “the Bluest Eye” , “Sula” and “Beloved”, Pecola , Clandia and Frieda , are all black women and occupies central position in the story. She also believes that women have special knowledge about certain things which comes to them from the way the look at the world also from their feelings and imagination.
In the novel, Toni Morrison addresses a timeless problem of white racial dominance in the United States and points to the impact it has on the life of black females growing up in the 1930’s. Morrison started writing the novel in the mid of 1960s, but the idea came twenty years earlier when one of her classmates revealed a sad secret that she had been praying to God to give her blue eyes for the past two years. Morrison wrote this novel when the ‘Black is beautiful’ slogan movement was at the peak. She started to think why such movement was needed, ‘why although reviled by others, could this beauty not be taken for granted within the community? Why did it need wide public articulation?’
If an individual or group is constantly being put down, they themselves begin to believe it and consider themselves as inferior. She centers her story on an ordinary girl who is taught by her racial society that she is ugly to portray the cruel thoughts of society. For Pecola’s family, life was just one disappointment after another- Poor, black, and ugly and were left with no room for self-improvement. This ugliness that did not belong to them was always shadowing their lives; everywhere they looked the society shone back at them like a giant mirror portraying nothing but hideousness, a hideousness resulting from society’s prejudice and harsh standards against them. Morrison says that:
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.
The Bluest Eye provides an depiction of the ways in which internalized white beauty standards distort the lives of black girls and women. The superiority of white and their whiteness is made implicit through images like the white baby doll given to Claudia, the glorification of Shirley Temple, the consensus that light-skinned Maureen is beautiful than the other black girls, the worship of white beauty in the movies.. Adult women and the little girls hate the blackness of their own bodies. Mrs. Breedlove feels that Pecola is ugly. But Claudia remains free from this worship of whiteness, for her imagining Pecola’s unborn baby is beautiful. But once Claudia reaches adolescence, she too will learn to hate herself, as if racial self-loathing were a necessary part of maturation. Pecola suffers most from white beauty standards. She believes that if she possesses blue eyes, the unkindness in her life will be replaced by affection and respect. This hopeless desire leads ultimately to madness and barren life.
The novel explores the disastrous consequence of western notion of physical beauty on a young poor impressionable black girl Pecola. The idea is essentially racist it is dangerous because it equates white skin with personal worth and implies that those who do not have these features are not beautiful are thus inferior. Toni Morrison goes to extent that equating of physical beauty with virtue is one of the dumbest and destructive idea of western world and physical beauty has nothing to do with our past, present and future. It can damage one’s self image , destroy happiness and kills one’s creativity. This idea is worked out in terms of its devastating effect on a poor, luckless, loveless , black family called Breedloves. It focus on how whites and blacks in different ways help to push Pecola over brink of sanity. It indicts whole culture that has popularized these oppressive white standards through every available medium- from Hollywood movies to elementary school primers , drinking cups .
Inevitably color consciousness is a constant presence in text and together with economic status has a determining influence on how the characters view themselves and relate to others. There is a caste system within black themselves depending on lightness of their skin and economic means.
Pecola’s tragedy begins much before we find her praying for blue eyes- which are for her a symbol of white beauty. She accepts the conventional standards that she has absorbed uncritically from consumer society that surrounds her. But a more direct source of her obsession with blue eyes is her mother Pauline who in her younger days had given herself up to dreams fed by movies.
She was never able after her education in the movies, to look at a face and not assign it some category in scale of her beauty and the scale was one she absorbed in full from silver screen.
Pecola when born was a right smart baby with eyes all soft and wet and her head full of pretty hair but in her scale of absolute beauty she was ugly. Pauline transmits both self contem0pt and obsession with physical beauty to her daughter. Later she achieve acceptance and respectability in the only way possible for a black women of her class by being an ideal servant in a rich household. The groundwork of her tragedy is laid. Her journey brings in contact with different characters whose attitude towards her shows them up. Her fragmented narrative gives us an opportunity to study these attitudes by giving us close-ups of their meetings with Pecola.
The episode of Pecola’s visit to Mr. Yacobowski’s grocery store for Mary Jane candies illustrates the dynamics of color prejudice in the novel. For him, Pecola is metaphorically as well as literally beneath his notice. Because he sees blacks in mass , he does not see individual beneath the skin color. Maureen Peal , high yellow dream child is tolerant of her. But once her superiority is challenged she proves to be no less hostile and insulting to her than black boys who have been tormenting her. And after she has fallen out with Claudia and Frieda she runs away screaming:’I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly, black e mos. I am cute.’ The violence of blacks against blacks is evident. Geraldine’s hostility towards Pecola is even more pronounced when there is someone like Pecola to remind her of her blackness. Her sadistic son Junior had invited her to play in their house and later tormented by throwing his cat at her. She outbursts: ‘you nastily little black bitch: Get out of my house.
Even more tragic is Pecola’s humiliation at hands of her own mother in fisher kitchen. The kitchen is space that Pauline has made for herself in white household and represents her complete subservience to white masters. Pecola’s leg gets burnt by hot liquid but Pauline adds insult to injury by beating her and turning her out of her kitchen. Ironically this expulsion takes place in presence of fisher doll child who represents what Pecola has dreamt of becoming. Moreover, mother’s silence about Pecola ‘s identity amounts to a virtual disowning of her own daughter.
The biggest irony is that her own father and mother themselves the victim of racial society completes the process of her humiliation. The mother accomplish this by withholding her love while the father’s love ‘horrific love’ as it has been called , proves even more disastrous and all but pushes her over into inanity.’ Having being failed by most people around her including her own parents for her ugliness, Pecola is more convinced than ever before of her dire need for the miraculous gift of blue eyes , a gift she believes Soaphead Church can bestowed. Soaphead Church is sympathetic towards Pecola. His letter to god implies the unavailability of divine help in sorting out the color problem. In that sense, it ironically articulates the need to come to terms with it purely human terms.
The situation is not completely hopeless. The prostitutes are sympathetic to Pecola. But since the prostitutes are social pariahs their support to Pecola is not enough to sustain her ego. In time, according to adult Claudia, they all join the band that learned to worship Shirley temple. At the end Pecola is left to flounder all alone busily trying to seek assurance from an invented friend that the eyes that Soaphead Church has given her are the bluest of all.
In this novel, ugliness is attributed to poverty and blackness, as in the case of the Breedloves. The family features can be contrasted with the description of a doll to demonstrate the beauty scale. As a manifestation in Western thinking of an inner ugliness is a spiritual and moral failure and that which was ‘white’ was having connotations of benevolence and superiority. While that which was not white was debased and associated with malevolence and inferiority
They were poor and black their ugliness was unique. No one could have convinced them that they were not relentlessly and aggressively ugly.Their eyes, the small eyes set closely together under narrow foreheads. The low irregular hairlines, heavy eyebrows which nearly met. Keen but crooked nosed, with insolent nostrils.
The ‘ugly’ conviction directly affected Pecola. “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, but teachers and classmates alike”. She reduced to believe that she was ugly because her family believed that they were all ugly. There is a scene in the story where some boys, who are black, in her school are making fun of her on the playground and talking about how her father sleeps naked. This shows that not all of the racist acts in the novel are by whites. This is one of the examples in the novel that involves racism among black characters as well. However, Pecola mistakes their teasing for something personal.
“That they themselves were black, or that their own father had similarly relaxed habits was irrelevant. It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth,” the text reads, and then goes on to describe how this behavior was fueled by their “cultivated ignorance” and “self-hatred”. But Pecola believes that her own ugliness was the cause of the teasing, she suffered from self-pity. She believes that “if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different….If she looked different, beautiful, maybe Cholly, Pecola’s father, would be different, and Mrs. Breedlove, too”.
Pecola’s desire for blue eyes is imaginative and is based on one insight into her world: she believes that the cruelty she witnesses is connected to how she is seen. If she had beautiful blue eyes, people would not want to do ugly things to her. The accuracy of this insight is affirmed by her experience of being teased by the boys—when Maureen comes to her rescue, it seems that they no longer want to behave badly under Maureen’s attractive gaze. Pecola and her family are mistreated because they have black skin. By wishing for blue eyes rather than white skin, Pecola indicates that she wishes to see things differently. By blinding herself she can only then receive this wish.. Pecola is able to see herself as beautiful only at the cost to see accurately both herself and the world around her.
The Bluest Eye ends with Claudia’s indictment of the society which that ‘this soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live.’ The novel thus comes full circle to the images of infertility with which it began, and this search for a whole self is finished. It seems through the action of the novel that Pecola’s doomed quest is but a heightened version of that of her parents, of Church, and of countless others in her world. Having inherited the feeling of inferiority from her parents and community, Pecola is brought up with “a fear of growing up, fear of other people, fear of life”. Bell Hooks also addresses this destructive opinion in black people’s minds that disconnects them from the reality: “Like Pecola, black folks turn away from reality because the pain of awareness is so great”
Throughout the entire novel, the theme of whiteness as a standard of beauty is reflected. The title itself is a window into the desire Pecola has, “A little black girl yearns for blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment.” Pecola simply wish for blue eyes so that she too look beautiful, but at the end of the novel she sees through her blue eyes, that her wish has also caused her mental deterioration. Ignored by her teachers, other adults, classmates and ultimately raped by her father, Pecola experiences all forms of ugliness, retreating finally into her mad yearning to be the opposite of her self – that is, a white child, like the universally beloved Shirley Temple, with the blondest hair and the bluest eyes. Pecola’s death represents what happens when a society pushes its unachievable standards onto a miserable person. Pecola’s insanity was result of her father raping her, result of meeting Soaphead Church and result of the world telling her she was invisible and ugly. Pecola is a representation of desire to be beautiful, loved and respected by all. Perhaps this novel shows a dictum which is clearly expressed by Calvin Hernton: ‘if you are white you are all right; if you are brown you can stick around; but if you are black….get back’.
Beauty in The Bluest Eye English Literature Essay
In “The Bluest Eye”, the author, Toni Morrison, presents in the book that the ideal beauty is having pure white skin and blue eyes. During the 1940s, two psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie K. Phipps Clarks created an experiment using dolls. They use four identical dolls but a different color to test Childrens’. The children are ages three to seven and were asked to see which one they like. According to the study, most of the children chose the white doll. This is known as “the doll tests”. This shows how young children prefer the white dolls than the black dolls. I’m am writing about how beauty is one of the biggest topics in the story. The standard of beauty is having light-skinned and blue eyes. The beauty of being white, having blue eyes, and able to be seen is what Pecola wants in her. In order to learn why beauty is a central theme in the book, I will use secondary sources to back up my point. I am stating how beauty in The Bluest Eye is express thoroughly in the novel.
This novel goes by the four seasons. Through the four seasons, she repeated the prologue of the family Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane. This prologue helps us analysis the ideal home, family, race and the ideal of beauty. In this prologue, it shows the lack of connections between the parents and jane which also connects to the experience Pecola had for her family. The structures that the author uses to show the difference between the life of Pecola and white people. The repetition of the words is same but loses some as it goes through each season.
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl with dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes who grew up in 1940s who wants beauty. She wants blond hair and blue eyes and people will give her the attention she wants. Pecola grew up in a poor neighborhood where people in school would call her ugly and no one wants to play with her. “But their ugliness was unique. No one could have convinced them that they were not relentlessly and aggressively ugly.” The Breedlove family would consider themselves ugly and how the color white or being white is the ideal beauty. In the book, they describe how adults and girls would prefer blue eyes, yellow hair, and who wants to own a pink-skinned doll as a child. Shirley Temple was an American Actress who everyone admires because she has blue eyes, blonde hair and pale skin which during the 1930s and 40s was consider the ideal of beauty. Shirley Temple symbolize pure beauty and Pecola admire her and by drinking milk is showing the values of being white which foreshadow her for wanted blue eyes.
In the novel, Pecola had enter Mr. Yacobowski store. He didn’t bother to look at her. “At some fixed point in time and space he senses that he need not waste the effort of a glance. He does not see her, because for him there is nothing to see. How can a fifty-two-year-old white immigrant storekeeper with the taste of potatoes and beer in his mouth, his mind honed on the doe-eyed Virgin Mary, his sensibilities blunted by a permanent awareness of loss, see a little black girl?” He didn’t bother to look at her because she wasn’t white and doesn’t have blue eyes which catches the attention. Pecola thinks having blue eyes and being white would be the best thing ever for her. She can see the world differently and people will treat/see her differently too. “It had 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.” This explains Pecola really wants blue eyes, so it changes how the society and people see/treat her.
Here comes to the foreshadow in the beginning. When Pecola loves Shirley Temple, which symbolize pure white beauty and by drinking in her cup that made her wants blue eyes. “Please. If there is somebody with bluer eyes than mine, then maybe there is somebody with the bluest eyes. The bluest eyes in the whole world”. When Pecola asked for blue eyes and she think she has it, she wants it bluer. She obsesses with the blue eyes and the damage that she has done. “A little black girl yearns for blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment.” Pecola thought her eyes were blue but never did. She wanted blue eyes so badly because that’s what she thinks the standard of beauty is. Having blue eyes to be able to be seen and people would treat her differently. She never thought of what is going to happen. She been talking to an imaginary friend about her blue eyes.
In the White Beauty Standard in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Morrison explains how the standard of beauty is socially set up. She is saying how the black women challenges their daily life due to the white beauty standard. She claims how young African American had to blend in with beauty standard while growing up to be recognized. The structure of the writing is giving background information’s and an introduction to the story by giving a brief info of the character. She uses the story of Dick and Jane, and quotes in the Bluest Eye book showing how Pecola wasn’t seen because there is nothing to see. This support my thesis because it depicts the theme beauty and explaining how the standard of beauty was a huge part of the society during that time and how a young girl had to grow up facing.
The author state “Morrison portrays the psychological devastation of Pecola Breedlove who searches for love and acceptance in a world that denies and does not value people of her race. The white established European standard of beauty: white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. This Eurocentric standard of beauty which the black girl lacked was used in judging and qualifying beauty, thus causing blacks to develop disdain for their own black skin as it counters the dominant ideals”. This connects to my theme beauty because it connects to how Pecola wanted to look like an ideal beauty girl. People around her in school and community who called her ugly and won’t give her the attention which makes her think having blue eyes or being white has more priority.
Pecola thinks she has blue, but she doesn’t really know that she is still black, poor, and ugly. In the novel, she thinks she has blue eyes, but she wants it bluer. “Why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We must not do bad things in front of those pretty eyes”. However, regardless these stuffs, Pecola still is unaware that though her eyes were changes into blue she would still be regarded as a black, poor, and ugly. Nothing would change, obviously. “No one else will see her blue eyes. But she will. And she will live happily ever after”. It means that she still considered as ugly and black, the blue eyes she already has do not change her identity that she is black and ugly”. Pecola wanted blue eyes since the day she got call ugly and how she admires Shirley Temple. As long she gets her blue eye, she thinks the world is different, but she won’t realize she is still the same.
Another article called Out of Sight: Toni Morrison’s Revision of Beauty is about how Morrison analyzed the American culture and the nonacceptance of the ideal of white beauty in female in the novel. The author in this article is stating the standard of beauty. And how Pecola in the novel, is being compare to others why white standards. She gives examples from the novel. One example from the novel is when Pecola enter Mr. Yacobowski store. Because she is not the ideal of the white standard, she is not seen by the owner. Another example from this author is the “ugliness” that Pecola think she have to go through her rest of her life. The author said, “she hides her self behind the ugliness the mainstream culture won’t look at.”. Pecola is hiding from the society because of her color and where people absent her. The author gave background information from the Song of Soloman and What the Black Woman Thinks About Women’s Lib” And Discusses how Morrison explain the image of the black female beauty. This supports my thesis because not only explain the beauty in the novel but the image of being black facing the society of the white beauty.
Pecola is a young black girl who does not fit in to the white culture. She doesn’t have blond hair or eye blues. Because of this, she is absent for her existence. This article gave examples that connected to my theme and my examples. For example, “Pecola and the Breedlove internalize their absence and their invisibility. They “w[ea]r their ugliness,” because all the visual representations around them reject them as ugly”. Pecola think she is not beautiful and accept what people say about her, she absence herself to the society. She cares about what people judge her and the standard of beauty forces her to have lack of confidence in herself. The only way for Pecola to fit in was having blue eyes.
Another article is They Treated Me Like A Geography Lesson:” Beauty Culture and Ethnicity in Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ and Julia Alvarez’s ‘How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents’ is about not just the idea of beauty but the standards that woman wants to achieve. In this article the author uses the book The Bluest Eye and The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf. The author gave examples stating how beauty is determined by people and how it affects all women of any age or color. Wolf describes the different side of beauty. They gave an example from the novel The Bluest Eye, that people called the Breedlove family: Pecola, ugly, and that’s when Pecola took it from there. Just one word she held it forever. Since then, she prayed for blue eyes and wanted to be beautiful. This related to my thesis because all women want beauty that everyone will agree and be recognized. And Pecola is a great example since she is black, and she wanted blue eye so she can look like others and see the world differently.
An example in this article is “Using this standard, society punishes people for innate traits over which they have absolutely no control. Only the beautiful faces, those leaning from the billboards, movies, and glances, are worthy of notice”. This example connects to my theme and explanation because the society does affect what people see in them. Pecola classmates call her ugly and she wishes for blue eyes every day. In this article, it said society changes the people perspective and they can’t even control it. Also, people who are famous and are pretty are recognized. This connects to Shirley Temple in the novel. Shirley was an American actress and known for standard of white beauty because she has blond hair, white and pretty. Pecola relies on other peoples’ opinion, white culture, than having confidence in herself.
In the novels and articles, the author uses different perspective to explain “Beauty”. In the novel by Toni Morrison, she explains how beauty had affected Pecola through four seasons and how she wishes every day for blue eyes after she wasn’t accepted by other people. She then admires Shirley Temple and trying to be like her where she be recognized. In the article written by Cardona, she explains the white culture and how the society changes someone’s thoughts. She also uses information’s from other resources to connect to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. For example, “Beauty is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact”. In this case, beauty is being judge by other people. It is being judge from yourself to public. It will affect all women and no matter what age or race; all women want to be pretty. Another example from Walther, “Out of Sight: Toni Morrison’s Revision of beauty” states not only beauty but also connects to sexual desire. “Women look at other women to determine social status and to make comparisons to themselves, which is an objectifying act; men look at women as sexual objects”. Not only beauty, but women also cares about social status. Beauty to them is white, blond hair and blue eyes and the higher your social status the better it is. Also, in Islam article “White Beauty Standard in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” talks about status and beauty. “These studies have demonstrated that attractive people are more successful both socially and economically”. This remind us of Shirley Temple from the novel. She is a success American actress who represents the ideal of beauty. Clearly, the articles give us some background information’s and provides connection to the theme beauty in the novel. The differences are the articles had other resources and themes that connected to Pecola and the theme beauty.
In conclusion, the standard of beauty is connected to social classes and gender. In the novel, clearly states how beauty changes one young girls mind in wishing to have blue eyes but nothing will change for her. The ideal beauty is what every woman wants in the 30s to 70s. Being white and having blue eyes, blond hair and the nice appearance will sure give them attention. As I said in the introduction, young children prefer the white doll than the others. Just like Pecola, she is black and she wants to be white. The articles also explain the connection between the novel and other resources. Explains beauty, race, status, and gender. All these effected how women see and judge themselves. Pecola is a great example in the novel showing how beauty had affected her in her young life and she still thinks having blue eyes will change everything. The novel and articles give us a whole concept of beauty. Even though beauty in the 30s-70s, beauty standards still exist now. People still care about how they look and dress every day and afraid of what people will say to them. Not only Pecola, but we probably in the same situation as her too.
Paragraph About Soccer
The novel The Bluest Eye, takes place shortly after the great depression ended. During this time, whiteness was the epitome of beauty; from the porcelain skin to the oceanic blue eyes. This absurd standard of refinement created destructive insecurities and self-loathing in those who fell short of the expectations of society, especially in the young impressionable minds of children. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison utilizes the afflictions and tribulations of youth the emphasize that societal perceptions of beauty and innocence is a stimulant for oppression, low self-esteem, and antipathy for oneself.
Throughout The Bluest Eye, external beauty affects the self-esteem of almost every character because media outlets define it based on the biased white culture of the era. In The Bluest Eye Morrison states, ‘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’, which sheds light on the epitome of beauty that the media creates. Claudia tries to reject the racially biased social norm of what is beautiful while others worship the . Morrison uses the racial tensions in American society in the 40s to illustrate the pressure that the blacks feel to meet the unobtainable societal standards of beauty. Pecola was born into an impoverished family and is immersed in the radical ideals of racial beauty.
Within her very home, she is treated atrociously. Her family’s own insecurities manifest themselves through physical and emotional abuse. This causes her to associate being loved and her self-worth with external appearances. ‘It had occurred to Pecola that if her eyes were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different’. Pecola thinks that her physical appearance is the reason that she is treated so horrendously. Pecola defines beauty as one who has blue eyes and only then can she transcend from her ugliness to live in a world where everything is easier, including the abusive behavior her parents exhibit. Since she doesn’t have blue eyes, she concludes that she deserves the hardship she endures from her community.
Human Behavior in a Book The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is about what it’s like to be hated for things that are outside of your control. She addresses the larger implications of that, probably something that all of us have experienced in our lives. Specially, she is talking about what it’s like to be hated for being a poor black girl. For many people, knowing that they’re hated for things that are outside of their control actually makes that hate easier to dismiss, especially if they have the support of family, friends, and a community who validates them and can see that hate for what it is. The Bluest Eye is about people who internalize that hate rather than deflecting it. Specifically one young black girl who does not have the support of her family or a community, and life just keeps beating her up until there is no resistance left. Toni Morrison calls it “the death of self-esteem.”
An interesting thing about the way the book is written is that the story initially focuses on two young sisters so you think the story is about them. You don’t realize until they keep talking about their friend Picola that the story is actually hers. I thought that was very clever interesting writing, not because there is an element of surprise to it, but that you realize that Picola never could have told her own story. As Toni Morrison confirms, “She’s too passive to narrate her own life.” Only these other young girls in the community who do have the support of their families and some degree of self-esteem could tell the story. What makes this device so effective is that you realize this story is not just about Picola because she can’t even get her own story. The story is also about the people in her community who do see her and do not blame her for the things that have happened to her, and yet are really helpless to save her from this dilemma. These girls are not in a situation completely unlike Picola’s, so you see how little it could have taken for her to live a very different life. You see how little power these little girls have even if they are full of empathy in this one heartbreaking scene. They say that they want to change the course of events and alter a human life and they just can’t because they don’t have that power.
The feeling that her young classmates have in just helplessly watching her is something that I felt a lot as a child, but now I have more power and think about what am I doing with it. I think that my education very much has trained me to look at my role in things rather than immediately identifying with whoever is being oppressed. I think it’s actually more important to look at the role that you are playing in oppressing people, and yet I am not sure if I was doing that when I read The Bluest Eye. I don’t know if I felt maybe a little too removed from the situation so I simply pitied her or if I felt empathy where I was too much identifying with her rather than looking at my role in oppressing her. It is definitely a question I am going to be considering when I am reading other books. Another theme of the book is the idea that the community does not value the kind of beauty that Picola has and only values the beauty of white women, especially young, blonde haired, blue eyed girls. It relates back to a conversation that Toni Morrison had as a child with a girl her age who wanted blue eyes. She was writing this novel in the late 60s at a time where reclaiming racial beauty was a big movement and she wanted to get at the kind of self-loathing and internalized hate that would make a young black girl want to racially transform her appearance and think that would change everything. One thing I think is so powerful about The Bluest Eye is that the so-called villains of the book, the people who don’t just overlook Picola suffering but directly caused it, are given these really rich backstories where you have to somewhat empathize with them. At least you can see how they became the people that they are. It’s not simply that they are evil, it’s that they’ve also lived these difficult lives. It certainly makes for a more real and complicated moral message. You have to see your involvement in everything rather than simply blaming evil people.
The last theme I am going to touch on is the way that sexual assault and sexual abuse is written about where it is kind of removed. The way that authors write about sexual abuse, the language that they use and that Toni Morrison really deliberately uses, puts us at a distance from it. I don’t know if that is reflective of the experience of being sexually abused or if that’s the only way that we can stand to read about it or if it makes us think about it differently. I wonder about that distance and if it creates any problems where we feel so removed from it that it doesn’t feel real or that it saves us from some impact of it or what the consequences are of that and is it the best way to do it. The writing used about sexual abuse this way is interesting because it feels so removed as if the reader is not sure it’s really happening until at a certain point it becomes obvious, but it’s not clear from the beginning because there is almost a language barrier or this distance as if you are not in the situation. You are outside of it somehow, and I think that’s supposed to be a reflection of how the characters feel as well. I am just wondering about how authors write about sexual abuse and I would definitely like to consider that as I continue reading more novels that I know deal with this issue. There are so many other things in this incredibly rich novel and the story is so powerful and well-written. It is this kind of writing that feels so natural, and yet it feels like Toni Morrison considered everything that she was doing and was very deliberate about how she told this story and it just makes for such a powerful novel.
Comparison Of Main Themes in Everything Is Illuminated And The Bluest Eyes
Everything is Illuminated vs The Bluest Eyes
The novels, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison, both focus way that the past effects people in the present or future plays a significant role. In Everything is Illuminated we see how his upbringing and the anti-semantic culture in Ukraine has affected the life of Alex. In The Bluest Eyes we see how childhood trauma and bullying affect the main character, Pecola. Similarly, in both books we see how family relations can negatively impact children as they grow up.
Well recognized psychologist, Sigmund Freud, first introduced the idea of The Unconscious, the Desires, and the Defenses. This theory loosely suggests that humans tend to repress painful memories in our subconscious and because of that these repressed memories in turn into either desires or defenses. We are first introduced to Alex, in Everything is Illuminated, as a seemingly rich, popular, and vibrant young man, however in reality he lives a quiet, suppressed, and somewhat abused home life. He describes how his father yells at him and has a very hard hit and how his Grandfather sometimes berates him. Dealing with this from a very young age has causes Alex to desire a life away from his family and his “destined” path in the family business and his defense against his harsh home life is creating a whole new pers ona within himself. Pecola Breedlove, from The Bluest Eye, is the victim of bullying, hate, and abuse from the moment she is born. She is “ugly and black”, made fun of from the kids at school, talked about by the adults in the town, and hated by even her own parents. She desires to have blue eyes because she believes that with blue eyes, she will gain a new outlook on life. Her defense against all the negativity in her life is dreaming about her blue eyes and eventually convincing herself that she has blue eyes. These blue eyes give her a delusional sense of happiness which leads to everyone seeing her as mad.
In The Bluest Eye, the Breedlove family is full of misfortune, darkness, and tragedy. Cholly Breedlove is a devout alcoholic man, with a tragic past, who cannot support his family, but instead abuses them. Pauline a.k.a Polly Breedlove is Cholly’s wife who was once beautiful before she lost her front tooth and reverted to working as a house main. Sammy Breedlove, their oldest child has a habit of running away from home to escape from the depressing reality of his home life. Finally, Pecola Breedlove is the youngest in the family who passively endures the abuse and neglect from her family. In their small hometown, there was an air of sadness and shame that followed whenever someone brought up the Breedloves. “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) Nobody loved the Breedloves, including themselves, and this was most detrimental to Pecola.
At the tender age of twelve Pecola has gone through so much sadness and shame that no child at her age should suffer from. From the second she was born as a Breedlove she was doomed. She was ugly, dark, poor, abused, and impregnated and still no one wanted to help her. As, Morrison shows throughout the story, all of these things had a visibly negative effect on Pecola. Being a young child, still innocent in thought Pecola desperately wanted to have blue eyes. To her, having blue eyes would change her whole life for the better. “It had 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.” (Morrison) Tragically, however, Pecola’s fight for blue eyes mixed with her doomed reality, Pecola went mad.
In Everything is Illuminated, the first character we are introduced to is Alex. From the readers first impression of Alex, he is a handsome, intelligent, and rich young man who is often sought out by women. “If you want to know why so many girls want to be with me, it is because I am a very premium person to be with. I am homely, and also severely funny, and these are winning things.” (Safran Foer, 2) However, it does not take long for the readers to see that the depiction that Alex is sharing of himself, is a mere facade. The perfect, happy Alex is shown to be fictional as we meet Alex’s family and see the relationships they share. Alex lives with his father, mother, little brother, and grandfather. The most notable relationship is that of Alex and his father. From the very beginning Alex shares that he and his father do not get along and that his father uses his fists to discipline him. “When I look in the reflection, what I view is not Father, but the negative of Father.” (Safran Foer, 54). Alex wishes to be the opposite of his father, he wishes to leave the Ukraine and go to Russia and he wishes to be a better man than his father. However, his father does not care what he wants and often shuts down Alex’s dreams and desires.
Throughout the novel, we get to see Alex from a more vulnerable side and it is clear that he is struggling with finding himself. He has been hidden under the strong arm of his father for so long that when he gets the chance to be special, he lies about himself to others whenever he gets the chance. “This is a thing I have never informed anyone, and you must promise that you will not inform it to one soul. I have never been carnal with a girl. I know. I know. You cannot believe it, but all of the stories that I told you about my girls who dub me All Night, Baby, and Currency were all not-truths, and they were not befitting not-truths. I think I manufacture these not-truths because it makes me feel like a premium person. Father asks me very often about girls, and which girls I am being carnal with, and in what arrangements we are carnal. He likes to laugh with me about it, especially late at night when he is full of vodka. I know that it would disappoint him very much if he knew what I am really like.” (Safran Foer, 114). Eventually, Alex admits to Jonathan that the reason he lies about himself is because he is afraid of disappointing his father and others around him. From a psychology point of view, Alex uses these lies as a way of escaping reality and because he seeks validation from others, which is a result of his unhealthy relationship with his father.
“I knew that some victims of powerful self-loathing turn out to be dangerous, violent, reproducing the enemy who has humiliated them over and over. Others surrender their identity; melt into a structure that delivers the strong persona they lack. Most others, however, grow beyond it. But there are some who collapse, silently, anonymously, with no voice to express or acknowledge it. They are invisible. The death of self-esteem can occur quickly, easily in children, before their ego has “legs,” so to speak. Couple the vulnerability of youth with indifferent parents, dismissive adults, and a world, which, in its language, laws, and images, re-enforces despair, and the journey to destruction is sealed.” (Morrison) This quote from the General Introduction of The Bluest Eye, best encompasses both Pecola and Alex. Pecola allows herself to become passive and invisible, eventually succumbing to the negativity in her life. However, Alex tries to surrender his identity, he attempts to make a whole new version of the man he wishes he could be. Unlike Pecola, Alex has people in his life that love and care about him and because of this he is able to prevail and overcome his self-loathing.
External Pressure On Women in The Bluest Eye Novel
The Black Woman’s Burden
In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Morrison explores the duality between the external pressures of the white community on black communities as well as the internal segregation within the black community itself. Through the eyes of 9-year-old Claudia MacTeer, the book follows Pecola Breedlove and the Breedlove family. Throughout the book, Morrison focuses her work on a group previously voiceless and overlooked: African American women. Specifically, in the chapter titled “Spring”, Morrison analyzes the daily struggles and deleterious environment of these women. She delves into the role of white men and women as well as the role of black men on these black women. Ultimately, Morrison uses metaphors and irony to express African American women’s responses to societal oppression in the 1940s.
Morrison uses body part metaphors to demonstrate the unrecognized burdensome responsibility of black women. Morrison writes, “They patted biscuits into flaky ovals of innocence – and shrouded the dead,” (Morrison, 138). On one hand, these women have to shroud the dead; on the other hand, these women are able to enjoy some level of comfort in their hobbies. This juxtaposition represents the enormous responsibility of African American women in and out of the household but more importantly the societal need for these women to take up this work. Morrison describes the flaky biscuits of innocence to symbolize the unpredictability of their discomfort and volatile nature of the men around them. In addition, Morrison uses a hyphen to link the biscuits to the burial of the dead because the breaking of innocence itself directly leads to the conflict and death of people in these communities. These extreme circumstances with death directly lead to the deterioration of their mental state. Directly after the previously quotation, she describes the outcome of these conditions. Morrison says, “And the lives of these old black women were synthesized in their eyes – a purée of tragedy and humor, wickedness and serenity, truth and fantasy,” (139). The amount of pressure explained in the first quotation directly culminates in the contrast expressed in the second quotation. Morrison uses the metaphor of the eye to communicate the lives of these women in order to illustrate the comparison between the joys and burdens of life. Furthermore, the use of the word “purée” parallels the cooking imagery if the first quotation. Morrison hopes to invoke the sense of responsibility African American women held in the household and their contributions to the community around them.
Morrison uses irony to display the anguish of African American women in the 1940s. Morrison contrasts the power dynamics within these white households as the black female servants try to maintain a sense of self-respect. Morrison writes, “The only people they need not take orders from were black child and each other. But they took all of that and re-created it in their own image. They ran the houses of white people, and knew it,” (138). Morrison reveals that black women needed to take orders from everyone, even Caucasian children, because of the stark racial hierarchy in the 1940s. These African American women physically run through the houses and do all the labor work for the white families. This act mirrors house slaves before abolition of slavery in the US as house slaves also had to take care of the houses and children of white families. However, the women feel in control of their lives when they are in control of the materials of white people. Emboldened by their dominion over these houses, these black women feel a sense of dominance and self-respect. Although the women are subjugated, the ownership of the household empowers them. Despite this ephemeral delight, this liberation quickly subsides as the women are unable to maintain their freedom. Morrison describes, “They were old enough to be irritable when and where they chose, tired enough to look forward to death, disinterested enough to accept the idea of pain while ignoring the presence of pain,” (139).” Morrison writes this quotation at the end of the paragraph to parallel the end of the lives of these women. More importantly, Morrison invokes the idea of choice for these black women. While unable to control the other white men and women or the African American men, they have learned to control their own emotions and accept their state of being. The women “look forward to death” because they have been fighting against the oppressing forces their entire lives with little success. At the end of these women’s lives, they not only lose a sense of innocence and well-being, but also distance themselves from the ideals of humanity itself: love and hope. After decades of societal repression these women are forced to recognize the painful truth of subordination in the eyes of the men and women around them.
This passage itself represents the transition of the mental state of these African American women. Throughout the entire passage, Morrison explains how these women try to balance their sorrows with their moments of happiness and even try to demonstrate their authority. However, she ends with the previous quotation to point out that many African American women had learned to endure this type of injustice; Morrison not only criticizes this type of mistreatment but also hopes to improve on the issues facing African American women by giving them a voice in literature.
Issues Relating to Beauty in The Bluest Eye
Normative beauty standards are an essential tool that the patriarchy implements to oppress women. The American standard of being a young, white, skinny, able-bodied, cisgender, delicate, friendly, et cetera, woman is implemented in a multitude of ways, and it affects all women in their various non-normative appearances. We have studied this in several different contexts in class, in a couple of the readings from Women: Images and Realities, a Multicultural Anthology, compiled by Kelly, Parameswaran, and Schniedewind, and in The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. In my outrageous act, I hope to implement consciousness-raising techniques to get women at Wheaton College to think critically about their sense of self worth, as related to their physical appearance, and where this feeling of right or wrong beauty stems from. The goal of my project is to have women think about the patriarchy as it applies to both themselves and how they interact with others, and take this new knowledge to change themselves and the world around them.
The two key essays from both Women: Images and Realities, a Multicultural Anthology and the novel The Bluest Eye drove me to do a project surrounding women’s beauty. The first, which we read for class, is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. In it, Wolf proposes the connection between the exponential rise in prevalence of women in power and the simultaneous rise in cosmetic surgery. She explains that this is due to the rise of a new weapon used to thwart women’s advancement and maintain social control: the beauty industry.
This new weapon supersedes feminist mindsets to commodify and oppress them as human beings. The beauty myth is a specific, objective standard that every woman must strive to attain, or else be non-normative, with all of the negative social connotations this entails. This norm dictates an acceptable behavior in terms of “emotional distance, politics, finance, and sexual repression” (Wolf, 2011, p. 122) by shaming and oppressing women’s bodies, as a way to belittle their power in these areas. “Inexhaustible but ephemeral beauty work took over from inexhaustible but ephemeral housework…” (Wolf, 2011, p. 122).
This is done by the patriarchy, which aims to promote men’s institutional power. The need to promote men’s power is closely tied with the economic need for slavery. In this sense, there is economic need for propaganda to promote women as subservient beings, so as to normalize and justify the dominant-submissive relationship. The consumer is essential in promoting this culture, and thus the circle of oppression. The result of this—and the quantitative representation of the oppression of women—is clear in the wage gap between women and men in the United States. “Behavior that is essential for economic reasons is transformed into a social virtue…” (Wolf, 2011, p. 124). Therefore, when one defies beauty norms, or social virtues, one is defying the systemic and economic suppression of women. The patriarchy attempts to control women who deviate from the norm by insulting them, rendering them invisible, and systemically disadvantaging them. Women are psychologically depleted by the exhausting nature of sexism, and will need to find a new way to see in order to escape the confining nature of being “feminine.”
This relates to the most important part of the other sources that inspired my project, the first of which is The Body Politic, by Abra Fortune Chernik. This essay deals with combating an eating disorder, which are far too prevalent in our society, and how this disorder stems from the hegemonic patriarchy. The woman in the story struggles with anorexia, and eventually reaches the point where she is so sick that she is hospitalized. After going on an excursion from the hospital to the mall, and having an employee in a fitness store congratulate her on her health based on her low body fat, she began to change her outlook. She realized the connection between the patriarchy’s success and the continued prevalence of eating disorders, and begins to realize the complexity of how deeply ingrained these beliefs are. She realizes that gaining weight is a political act of protest in a society where “…women feel safer when starving than when eating.” (Fortune Chernik, 2011, p. 132)
By starving ourselves, or succumbing to other societal ideals, we diminish our power as women; we allow the patriarchy to win in their endeavor to oppress us. In this sense t is not through lack of equal employment and pay, although these issues still persist, but through forcing women to harm and even kill themselves to fit into an impossible beauty ideal. If we spend all of our energy working towards beauty ideals, not only will we become mentally and physically exhausted and ill, but we will waste time we could have spent making an impact in this world.
The final source that really struck me is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Throughout this book we see the main character, Pecola, become more and more overrun by society, as she is taken advantage of and beaten down. Beauty, for Pecola, is dependent upon having blue eyes, which she, as a young African American woman, does not have. The book shows the progression of her life in her struggle dealing with beauty ideals, as these ideals continue to oppress her exponentially throughout her story. We can see examples of this, from when she is little and receives a white skinned, blue eyed doll as a present, and tries to find its beauty by pulling it apart, to when she goes insane, driven by her desire to have blue eyes and be beautiful. The patriarchy’s beauty standards made her feel as if she was worthless, and alongside every character’s continuous belittlement of her and internalized racism, she slowly idealizes normative beauty standards more and more to justify why society treats her so poorly, and why she must change the way she looks.
All of these examples and the ubiquity of studies and activism surrounding the negative affects of beauty norms on women really enforce the extent of these harmful ideals. Since the patriarchy relies on depriving women of power through persistent and powerful visual and cultural messages, I wanted to combat that message and the patriarchy by empowering women to define their own ideas of beauty. This is especially important at Wheaton, where we simultaneously have a small, homogeneous population and are at an age where we are developing the critical skills to reject society’s ideals and create our own. I think this campaign, and others like it, that challenge the way society and the individual are conscious of themselves and others is essential to our progressive future and necessary in order to create a society where women are equal.
I went about this by creating a survey, asking self-identified women about the things they did not like about their body and why they thought they felt that way. I then collected the data of around 250 responses, the sheer number of which speaks to how these standards oppress so many women, and wrote them out on special transparent paper that clings to surfaces. I put this up on many of the mirrors in bathrooms around campus. Along with the text taken from the survey, I included a message about how the patriarchy decides beauty ideals in order to keep men in positions of power, and that by defining our own beauty standards, we can defy the patriarchy. I decided to do this act in the hopes that it will make the women who see it think about the things they don’t like about their body, or realize their privilege as they fit in to patriarchal beauty norms.
I want women at Wheaton to challenge the ideas they have about why these stereotypical notions of beauty exist—how they are driven by a systemic, external source that intentionally demeans and oppresses them in order to maintain dominance, as opposed to purely an internal process of negative self-worth. I hope they take this and feel a little empowered in their knowledge, either because they relate to the struggle they see or because they learned something new from what they read. The idea is that the person who reads these messages will combat the internalized sexism in their own mindset, while also possibly challenging the beauty standards they see in their daily lives.
While I will never see the extent of the result of my project, as I will not hear from every individual person who will see them, I plan on monitoring social media sites such as Yik Yak to see if anyone says anything about them. However, I have seen smaller effects. I have had some of the friends and family, whom I asked to take the survey, tell me that the questions I asked in my survey made them think critically about beauty norms and their causes. Additionally, in this process I have also learned a little about the different types of oppression women face on a daily basis. For example, I received a response from a seventy-three-year-old woman about her insecurities surrounding her physical signs of aging. Another response that surprised me was from a woman who talked about the insecurities she faced surrounding her teeth and how they indicated her lower socio-economic background.
Issues relating to beauty are directly related to the patriarchy’s control and domination of women. Examples of this are everywhere, from the media, to policy, to everyday social interactions; they are firmly imbedded in our lives. By consciousness raising about the oppression that women face, we can begin to see similarities amongst many women, and from there recognize larger social patterns of oppression. With this project I hope to raise awareness and break the cycle of the normative oppression of women as it relates to unjust beauty standards.
Dualistic Relationship Between Concept of Jealousy and Envy in The Bluest Eyes
In The Bluest Eye, the author Toni Morrison illustrates the difference between jealousy and envy. Morrison thinks jealousy is a feeling of hatred of another. Jealousy is felt when you feel hatred towards someone else because they have something you want and do not have. The feeling makes one either desire it, or wish that the one obtaining it, lacks it.On the other hand, Morrison thinks envy is a feeling of self hatred because of something you do not have. In my life, I often feel jealously but rarely feel the self hatred that Morrison defines as envy.
To Maureen, jealousy is a desire to have something another has, while envy is what her jealousy escalated to when she couldn’t stand it anymore. Jealousy is the first level of envy. One can be upset when someone possesses something that individual does not have. The individual is frustrated with the possessor. Maureen thinks jealousy is “natural- a desire to have what someone else had” (Morrison, 74). Maureen felt that this was a healthy and normal feeling. When Maureen felt envious, she had “such intense hatred” for herself and was afraid of the new feelings(Morrison, 74).The feeling of envy is often felt when one is no longer upset with another’s possessions but upset with themselves.Maureen has envious feelings and is scared of the feeling because it is new and she has not felt it before.
My experience with jealousy is similar to Maureen’s. I have been very jealous of my classmates’ possessions. As new technologies are created and new devices are created, people want the best and purchase it. I have been jealous of peers of mine that purchase new equipment that can do more than mine can. After having these feelings, my natural instinct is to try and get it too. In reality, I cannot get every piece of equipment each of my friends has, so I need to cope with the fact that some people have more or better possessions than I do. I have not had a negative feeling towards them because of their possessions. At Francis Parker, more than one person normally has the popular possession. I am not jealous of the person, but rather, the object they possess. Since so many people have these things, it is irrational to get upset with everyone for having them.
Envy is a feeling that is more serious and can be dangerous. It is normal for me to occasionally feel jealous, although envy normally leads to depression. The closest I have felt to envy is when I was younger and learning to read. In lower school, I was a much slower reader than my peers. To help me keep up, I worked with tutors and therapists every week. Most of my friends at school were progressing without the extra help while I was struggling. I felt like I was spending a lot more time practicing but my reading speed and comprehension was worse. I was not upset with my peers because they were doing what the teacher wanted and were all progressing. I felt upset with myself because I spent a lot more time practicing and didn’t see the same results. I don’t think I was fully envious because I don’t feel self hatred but I am unhappy with my reading level.
In the book, Maureen is jealous of the beauty the other girls have. She will do anything for these qualities. Then, her jealousy turns into envy when she realizes that she cannot have their qualities and must live with what she has. The envy I feel is not as intense, but I still am jealous of others’ possessions, although I am jealous of the possession and not the person. I am not envious of others reading abilities anymore because I don’t hate myself for it, despite not reading as well as most of my peers.
The issue of accepting ones inner beauty in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Pecola was an eleven year old black girl who feels as if being white is the true meaning of beauty to society and to herself. The Title of this novel is ‘The Bluest Eye’ written by Toni Morrison in the African American Literature. The novel’s focus, however, was on a young girl named Pecola Breedlove. And Pecola, as we are told in Chapter 11, will be raped by her father around the novel’s end.
The beginning states the story so that the reader can know about Pecola’s story ending tragic. The Breedloves were unhappy, and poor. Their story had seemed in many ways to be settled, as they were often the victims of events of which they have no control over. Their situation was a huge contrast to the MacTeers, who were of the slender means but had a really strong family force, The MacTeers were never really passive victims as in the way that the Breedloves were in this novel.
The use of descriptive imagery in this story is used in a way such as Pecola describing on how both the media and the public were looking up to women with “Blue eyes, Yellow hair and White skin” for being the most beautiful and that being the only way that beauty was to be seen as. Other than Women of color being used to promote beauty in the media like a white woman/girl could have been at the time, Shirley Temple was an example of the way that beauty was being represented through her time and it made Pecola feel as if she was not seen as beautiful.
Pecola Breedlove in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye was not at all any different from other little girls. She wanted to be beautiful, And though America had already set the standards for being beautiful a woman that must have ” blue eyes, blonde hair, and white skin” lead Pecola to nothing but insanity because just when society couldn’t accept an ugly little black girl neither could both she and those around her do so. Pecola wasn’t like the other children, she did not involve herself in any of the teasing, She was so used to all of the criticism she got because she is not only black but “ugly” too. And on Second thought, there was also Maureen Peal. Who also is not white but light- skinned which lead to her being accepted by everyone like the black boys wouldn’t trip her, the white girls didn’t suck their teeth at her as they did to Pecola, the white boys would stone her,and the black girls would step aside for her whenever she wanted to use the sink.
None of the treatment that Maureen had gotten from people was ever given to Pecola and this is part of what Pecola was explaining because of Maureen have lighter skin, she was seen as beautiful, she was given what Pecola wished she could have ever had and happiness…Happiness, Is what she wanted that so is the reason why She believed that being white could have given her, the Privilege of her having the slightest of Possibility to not having to go through what she has. She seen them smiling and she wanted that, Pecola wanted the beauty and the happiness. The Physical appearance of one lead to an alter in another’s psychological condition. “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes…were different,that it is to say,beautiful,she herself would be different.” Voiced by Claudia MacTeer and she was showing how Pecola felt strongly towards the fact that she was physically seen was “ugly” and she didn’t accept her for any of it whether she or others criticized her over how she was and This connects really strongly towards my thesis on how Pecola felt as if she were only seen as an “ugly” little black girl to the society around her who believed being white was the only beauty.
American culture had promoted the idea of whiteness that should be desired, and Pecola is along with society that being white was having beauty, she quoted that “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 child treasured.” This supports the claim being Beautiful, Happy and Accepted in society was about being white. To be happy was to know happy, Pecola did not know how to be happy, she didn’t know to accept that to be black is to be “ugly” in the society, and as Maureen pointed out to Pecola for being like a character who “hates her mother because she is black and ugly” and Maureen had been different because she has accepted the American Standards and Pecola didn’t not know how to accept it because all she has ever known about beauty was for being white and having blue eyes was always the right thing in American culture.
A person cannot be happy without knowing happiness, Pecola could have never been happy because she has never known happiness, From the beginning when her own mother wouldn’t see her as anything but “ugly” the person who is supposed to love her regardless the appearance she had, Pecola wanted to be happy, she wanted to be like the blue eyed white girls, the society that made blue eyed white girls the meaning of beauty was not able to become something that Pecola could have done, and without Accepting Ones Inner Beauty was to face the American Standards in her Society.