A Criticism Of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

2492 words - 10 pages

The black way has never been an easy way. By the constructions of society, by its demand that there be an innate, horribly valid separation between the black man and the white man– the black way has never been right, nor fluid, nor gorgeous, nor terribly affectionate. Not by any literary standard. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye has been no exception. This has been her message; and again, as if to suggest a chant, the black way has never been a good way.
To give some suggestion of a background to this piece, The Bluest Eye is told from the perspectives of two reflective women, Claudia and Frieda MacTeer, as they reminisce about their childhood, and the images of their friend, Pecola ...view middle of the document...

She embodies childhood in its purest form, expecting nothing apart from goodness and kindness from the world she has surrounded herself with. Her naivete and her bold outlook when the story begins is her affectionate way of displaying that childish nature that is all too soon corrupted. The starkness of her innocence in contrast with how she is brought to her ultimate ruin is utilized by Morrison to make her fall evermore tragic.
The house in which Pecola and her friends Claudia and Frieda spend the majority of their time is yet another symbol to be discussed. Or rather, the two houses they spend most of their time in. Houses in The Bluest Eye are representative of the state of not only a family’s socioeconomic status in this Ohioan town, but the state of affairs amongst the family, or families, themselves. The reader will note the nasty state of the Breedlove apartment. It is in conjunction then, that Pecola’s relationship with her parents, and the relationship between her parents, too, is in ruin. Everything is rotting, dead, black, in that apartment– just as the mental state of each of them. Recall the state of the MacTeer House, as well, and see what little repair it needed in conjunction with the state of the MacTeer household. The house itself is dark, old, due for some minor repairs, but it is not a dead place! Claudia even says that her house is full to the brim with fine love and acceptance otherwise unfound in this novel. The spaciousness of it allows the MacTeers room to grow, to prosper. The condensed size of the Breedlove apartment allows for just the opposite, and results, ultimately, in the rift that settles itself within the family. The schisms of the Breedlove house, and even the darkness of the MacTeers’ stands to present an air of negativity to the act of growing up in a colored household.
Another image, or place, to be discussed in order to further the idea that the black way has never been easy, is the candy store that the three girls frequent throughout the story of their younger years. Not that the candy store itself is terribly bad, no; instead, it is the people who occupy its counter space, the white, otherwise privileged old woman tending to the jars that sit just before the registers– the terribly rude customers that come in and out of its vicinity with scowls on their faces every time Pecola, Claudia, Frieda, or any other colored person really, steps foot inside. “Separate but equal” seems to stretch beyond railcars, beyond drinking fountains and buses, the more that is revealed through literature of this terrible time period. It is absolutely appalling that disdain reach these young girls; candy is candy! Sweet, innocent; what is there that blacks cannot share with whites for pure enjoyment– relishment of these little delicacies! What constitutes any one person’s ability to take away another’s right to enjoyment, to life? Candy is symbolic of the delicacies that many in the thirties could not indulge in, much...

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