The Bluest Eye By Toni Morrison

1369 words - 5 pages

In The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, Pecola Breedlove attempts to measure up to the standard of beauty set by the Master Narrative: an ideological truth imposed by those in power. Pecola, persistent in her attempt to reach the convention of beauty, is never fully satisfied with herself, and quickly becomes obsessed in becoming ‘beautiful. Pecola begins to associate beauty with happiness and respect. This infinite pursuit for beauty has extremely destructive effects on Pecola’s self-esteem. By portraying Pecola’s perpetual, unrealistic endeavor to reach society’s standards and how she becomes submissive to these standards, Morrison reveals that one’s life can be overrun by viewing the world solely through the Master Narrative. Throughout the novel, Pecola is easily manipulated into believing what society tells her, and soon becomes fixated in achieving “beauty”. Due to certain events, Pecola comes to believe that beauty is the panacea to her life’s problems and the key to happiness, demonstrating how manipulating the Master Narrative can be. One of the more subtle events that affect Pecola’s mindset is when she goes to purchase a Mary Jane candy bar. When Pecola goes up to Mr. Yacobowski with her money, he barely acknowledges 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” (48). To Mr. Yacobowski, Pecola is so far from the socially acceptable standards: she is a black, poor, and ugly child. Mr. Yacobowski’s blunt ignorance is similar to many other people’s reactions when Pecola is around. Pecola doesn’t know how to think for herself yet, and from this encounter she is forced to see herself, in the eyes of Mr. Yacobowski, as ugly, because there is no one there to tell her otherwise. Morrison writes that, “[Mr. Yacobowski’s eyes draw back, hesitate, and hover” (48). This is the exact moment when Mr. Yacobowski takes a second to decide whether or not Pecola is worthy of acknowledgement. As he makes his decision, Pecola realizes that he has deemed her unworthy because she is ugly. Although his lack of a response doesn’t seem important to Mr. Yacobowski, Pecola interprets all his actions and thoughts, reinforcing her association between beauty and respect. Pecola buys these Mary Jane candies because she believes that Mary Jane’s blue eyes are pretty, and that by eating the candy she will temporarily feel what it’s like to have blue eyes. Pecola eats the candy and imagines that, “to eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane” (50). Pecola believes that by eating the candies is to somehow become beautiful Mary Jane. The idea, imposed by the media that blue eyes are beautiful, gives Pecola an intense and damaging desire for those blue eyes. Pecola thinks, “if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different” (46). Pecola has fallen into the...

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