Metamorphosis In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

2672 words - 11 pages

The transition from childhood to adulthood is not as clear cut as the physical traits would suggest. The female transition is no exception. Culture has a major role in deciding when the change occurs. Some mark a specific age as the point of passage while others are known to acknowledge physical changes. Regardless, cultures around the world understand that there is a distinct difference between the two. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells a story in the perspective of a young black girl, Claudia, as well as the perspective of her as a woman. Morrison uses a shifting narrative perspective to show that the abilities to understand and reflect are what separate the educated woman from the innocent girl. Morrison shows that a proper transition leads to a nurturing, independent, community driven woman, whereas obstructions in the transition will lead to unloving adults. The Bluest Eye focuses on images of the ideal child and the ideal woman by creating a contrast with characters that lack these qualities.
Early in the novel, Morrison primes the audience with how an ideal family should operate. She gives the audience a subtle taste of what the ideal girl should be. Jane, the subject of the excerpt, shows qualities of curiosity, friendliness, and happiness. By introducing Frieda, Pecola, Claudia, Rosemary, and Maureen Peal to the reader, Morrison adds vulnerability, confusion, and a worry-free attitude to the qualities of being a girl.
The Dick and Jane excerpt sets an early tone that girls can be care free. The imagery points out that Jane is wearing a red dress, she is always looking forward to playing, and even has a companion in the dog. The scene is lively and rich with assumptions to which the perfect girl would be accustomed to. Maureen Peal is incorporated into the novel to give a sense of the ideal girl. The quality that sets her apart is her carefree attitude. She shows fearlessness when she stops the bullies from harassing Pecola and she has a presence that demands attention wherever she goes. Once the boys feel Maureen’s presence, they are suddenly “not willing to beat up three girls under her watchful gaze” (Morrison 67). The reason that Claudia and Frieda are drawn to Maureen stems from the fact that they do not have the same carefree attitude. Morrison establishes the worry free attitude in order to show how status in society has a major effect on the development of girls. Maureen has money and attention and most likely will crave such as an adult. Claudia and the others have minimal expenditures in this novel which signals that they will likely think of spending as a privilege and not a necessity in their adult years.
An important part of being a child is being accustomed to the way people interact with each other. This curiosity is universal among all girls. Girls in Morrison’s novel are constantly trying to solve problems on their own. One such incidence comes with Claudia’s knowledge of puberty. By...

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