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The Bluest Eye By Toni Morrison

2058 words - 9 pages

Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young girl living in Lorain, Ohio, who has to face harsh conditions from a young age. Pecola’s family has a reputation of “ugliness”, a reputation that their town despises them for. Pecola herself believes the allegations that she is ugly to be true, not only because of the constant abuse that she witnesses in her own family, but also because she has been told that she is ugly her entire life by everyone around her, including adults. The novel explores the standards that Pecola is held to, as well as her reactions to not meeting these standards. Some of the alleged qualities of her “ugliness” are her race, her family’s ...view middle of the document...

Claudia notices, “How strong was [Claudia’s mother’s] outrage. Tears threatened to erase the aloofness of [her] authority. The emotion of years of unfulfilled longing preened in [her voice]”(21). Claudia sees that because she does not love the dolls like all of the other girls she upsets her mother. Claudia continues to justify her actions by saying that no one asks her what she wants for Christmas, and that she would far prefer to sit in her mother’s kitchen as her father plays her the violin. This shows that Claudia admires her mother’s work in the kitchen and feels secure there, making Mrs. MacTeer a role model of Claudia’s. By imposing her own childhood dreams on Claudia, Claudia’s mother takes away Claudia’s individuality by assuming that she is like every other girl. By being disappointed when Claudia dismembers the doll, her mother shows her that incongruity is unacceptable. Not only does the sale of these dolls promote an ideal baby, but the purchase of these dolls also shows that the buyer agrees with the seller that this is the perfect baby. The ownership of this doll makes Claudia doubt herself and believe that she is not beautiful, because she is different from the baby, as well as all of the other girls who love the baby. Claudia’s desire to fit in causes her to desperately try to discover how to be normal. This incessant desire to fit in also causes her to feel irrational hatred, which drives her to destroy the baby’s perfection. The baby acts as a scapegoat for Claudia’s insecurities, and when she can defeat this white baby, she feels empowered by her small rebellion. However, the reactions her actions garner cause Claudia to understand that even this small act of rebellion angers her community, and that it is easier for her to pretend to like the doll in order to fit in. Claudia is forced to fit in as a result of the conformity society encourages. Conformity makes individuals hate aspects of themselves in order to adhere to the traits that society deems is best, and the dolls and other toys owned by Claudia act as a reminder of her divergence from cultural norms.
The influence of propagandistic advertising, especially for candy, causes Pecola to hate herself. Pecola is easily influenced by others, as evidenced by the fact that she makes it her paramount goal in life to have blue eyes, like all the dolls and movie stars have. She believes that if she has blue eyes all of her problems will be resolved because people will love her for her eyes. Where does she get these ideas of what will make people love her? Surely she did not wake up one day and think that blue eyes are magic. Throughout her entire life she has been taught what perfection is; even as a child the influence that marketing and media have on her are pronounced. She goes to the candy store and buys the prettiest candy, the Mary Janes. The narrator describes, “Mary Jane, for whom the candy is named… Blond hair… blue eyes… To eat the candy is to somehow eat the eyes,...

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