The Bluest Eyes, By Toni Morrison

958 words - 4 pages

In “The Bluest Eyes”, the author Toni Morrison portrays the idea of beauty and its standard on African Americans live in the white American society through a narrator named Claudia. The protagonist of Morrison’s novel, Pecola Breedlove, is the truest of all victims, for she is an innocent little girl born into a family that does not provide her with any support to endure society's racial prejudices. The little black girl Pecola is in a mad desire for blue eyes, which shows white-dominated culture has almost assimilated African American women and made them lost. The Bluest Eye reveals the truth that the black Americans will not be able to live with dignity if they give up the black culture under the impact of the dominant culture of the white people in the American society.
In “The Bluest Eye”, Morrison depicts the ways that white beauty standard changes the lives of black women. Whiteness is superior throughout the book from the doll that Claudia received during Christmas, admiration of Shirley Temple’s cup, Mary Jane on candy wrappers, to famous white actress Jean Harlow. The obsession of Pecola Breedlove for blue eyes acts as a way to transcend her own ugliness and to become beautiful as white females. "Each night without fail she prayed for blue eyes...she would never know her beauty." (Morrison 53) Pecola blamed on her ugliness as reasons people in her town dislike her and the love and support that is missing from her family. One important theme that illustrates her passiveness in believing her ugliness is in Mr. Yacobowski’s candy store. Pecola went into a candy store to buy candies but the store owner, Mr. Yacobowski stared at her as if he could not recognize her, “because for him there is nothing to see.” (Morrison 67) Pecola did not express anything but bought the candies and rush out of the store. She immediately connected her own blackness to why Mr. Yacobowski did not acknowledge her presence. Pecola believed once she has her eyes similar to the eyes of white girls, she will be able to receive the love that she has never received. Pecola was able to stop crying because to “eat the candies is to eat the eyes.” (Morrison 74) The candy here represents her desire to have white beauty similar to the ways she continues to drink quart after quart of milk just to be able to use the cup with Shirley Temple's picture on it, almost as if she was trying to drink Shirley Temple's beauty. It is not the actual sweets that comfort her but the white beauty on candy wrappers that makes her feel she can own the blue eyes that revitalize her life. Pecola's life is consumed by this desire, and after she is raped by her father, she is so desperate that she goes to the town's pedophilic fortune teller, Soaphead...

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