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A Hunger For Love And Respect In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

3474 words - 14 pages

The Bluest Eye (1970), Toni Morrison’s first novel, is written during her teaching at Howard University, focuses on the oppression of the Black female characters Pauline, Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda. The American concept of beauty becomes necessary for black African- American in order to mingle into the mainstream. Pecola suffers an inferiority complex since from her childhood because she is ugly and black and nobody loves her as Pecola comes from a poor family, cut off from the normal life of a community and faces final humiliation and betrayal from her own father. Cholly rapes Pecola. Pecola’s move to the company of the whores shows the signals of her utter sense of loneliness. Pecola Breedlove in the novel is oppressed not only due to racism but also due to classism and sexism. Ugliness, poverty and violence are the reasons of her humiliation. Sufferings are the friend of Pecola and her hunger for love and respect leads her to the world of fantasy.
Key words: Oppression, inferiority, ugly,black, humiliation, betrayal, loneliness, racism, classism, sexism and fantasy.

The Bluest Eye (1970), Toni Morrison’s first novel and is written during her teaching at Howard University. The main character, Pecola is inspired by a real life girl whom Morrison met when she was 11 years old. She and the little girl argued whether or not there is a God. Morrison thought so but the little girl disagreed. The main conflict in this novel is about Black women that become the central object of oppression as black women characters in the novel are described as the victim of different sex or gender and also the victim of class and race that are imposed on them. The Bluest Eye is linked to the Black Power movement of the 1960s, which aroused the concerns of white America. The political activists of the 1960s advocated African-American features for black dolls, declaring “Black is Beautiful.” As Morrison accepts in the Afterword of the novel, “[t]he reclamation of racial beauty in the sixties stirred these thoughts, made me think about the necessity for the claim.” (210) However, Morrison’s anxiety is not limited to the question of racial beauty. In a 1974 New York Times Magazine article called "Rediscovering Black History," Morrison asserts that the slogan “Black is Beautiful” shows a romanticized image of African beauty that focuses solely on physical appearance rather than "intelligence" and "spiritual health” (14)
The aim of this paper is to analyze Pecola’s hunger for love and respect in The Bluest Eye. In this novel Pauline, Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda, the black female characters, face the oppression. Pecola is the only women characters that receive hard oppression than other Black female characters in the novel. Pecola’s hunger for love and respect is the central object of oppression in the novel and she is described as the victim of different sex or gender and also the victim of class and race that are imposed on...

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