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Morrison Paper

1098 words - 5 pages

In the novel “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, the audience is provided with different interactions between white and black characters that gives the interpretation of whiteness as the standard of beauty, which distorts the lives of black characters through messages everywhere that whiteness is superior and equal to cleanliness. The theme of white superiority is portrayed through the lives and stories told by the characters Pecola, Claudia, and Pauline. Through the struggles these characters have endured with the internalized idea of white beauty, Morrison shows how the interactions between whites and blacks affect the characters in this book and how that has an effect on race in America.
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So. The distaste must be for her, her blackness. All things are in her are flux and anticipation. But her blackness is static and dread. And it is the blackness that accounts for, that creates, the vacuum edged with distaste in white eyes” (49). All that will ever matter to the white community is the color of her skin. Thus, leading Pecola fantasizing that her beauty lies in having blue eyes.
Similarly to Pecola, Claudia MacTeer suffers from the oppressive standards of beauty set by the white community, but she does not suffer the same insecurities as Pecola. Unlike Pecola, Claudia comes from a loving and stable family environment where her looks are not being scrutinize. Thus, leading Claudia to be secure in her black skin and not wanting to conform to the views of what beauty should be. Instead, Claudia is willing to fight against the white cultures belief of beauty. For example, when Claudia receives a white doll for Christmas it offends her and she dismembers it. Instead of conforming and embracing the concept of the “white is beautiful” theme, she decides to destroy the doll. Claudia questions why is the white doll used as a symbol of beauty, but Claudia does not realize that it is not the doll that is beautiful, the doll is beautiful because white culture makes the doll beautiful. Instead of idolizing popular beauty icons like Shirley Temple, Claudia has a disgust for them. Claudia “hated Shirley. Not because she was cute, but because she danced with Bojangles, who was… [her] friend, [her] uncle, [her] daddy, and who ought to have been soft-shoeing it and chuckling with [her]. Instead he was enjoying, sharing, giving a lovely dance thing with one of those little white girls whose socks never slid down under their heels,” (Morrison 34). Claudia feels Shirley Temple is another model of the standard of white beauty and feels as though Bojangles serves as a figure of how black people should idolize and glorify white beauty. Later in the novel Claudia begins to understand the standard of beauty and begins to accept it.
While Pecola’s mother, Pauline, plays a role in inflicting the pain that makes Pecola insecurity, Pauline also faces her own insecurities....

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