The Bluest Eye - Pecola as a Victim of Evil
By constructing the chain of events that answer the question of how Pecola Breedlove is caste as a pariah in her community, Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye attempts to satisfy the more difficult question of why. Although, unspoken, this question obsessively hovers over Pecola throughout the novel and in her circular narrative style Morrison weaves a story that seeks to answer this question by gathering all of the forces that were instrumental in the creation of a social mishap. By using what seem like tangents in the story, we are shown examples of how forces beyond human control such as nature, an omniscient being and primarily a legacy of rejection have come together to establish the heritage of desolation that has been passed on to Pecola Breedlove.
A pattern of precedence is pieced together in the story, showing the seeds of Pecola's present barrenness to have been planted in the lives of preceding generations. By profiling the lives of Soaphead Church and Pauline Breedlove, Morrison makes a case for the validity of generational curses. Their narratives are appropriately placed in the Spring division of the novel as an indication of the characters sowing the seeds that will be reaped by Pecola. Seemingly, as an example of the ways in which the transgressions of the fathers revisit the sons, the narrator gives an extensive account of Soaphead Church's family history, constantly citing instances in which traits of the fathers (or effects of their traits) followed the sons for generations. Of his family the author says, "They transferred this Anglophilia to their six children and sixteen grandchildren" and the family is described as one entity, the accomplishments and convictions of the sons are the same as the fathers. Soaphead Church, or more formally, Elihue Micah Whitcomb, inherited a predilection for ascribing selectively to truth and "the fine art of self-deception from his ancestors'" tendencies to ascribe to lies about their ethnicity and superiority. He inherited his trenchancy and pedophilia from his ancestors' "lecherous and lascivious" practices and his religious fanaticism from his own father's secret sect.
In the same manner Pauline Breedlove's personal history is shown to have played out in extreme measures in the life of her daughter. From the early part of her life up to the time the reader is introduced to Pauline, she has worn a shroud of shame. The novel says that it is due primarily to her injured foot that she felt a sense of separateness and unworthiness and also why she "never felt at home anywhere, or that she belonged anyplace" (Morrison, 111). This feeling was intensified by her experiences of exclusion and loneliness after moving up north. She was confronted by prejudice on a daily basis, both classism and racism, and for the first time, the white standard of beauty. These experiences worked to transform Pauline into a product of hatred and...