The Influence Of A Dominant Culture On People

1077 words - 5 pages

Toni Morrison’s novel the ‘The Bluest Eye’ is written about blacks in Ohio in the 1940s. The Black people are represented as people who feel self-hatred because of a dominant white culture. In the 1940s racism was an issue in the USA and especially in Ohio, where the story takes place. In this essay will be explained why black people feel self-hatred because of a dominant white culture.

The first reason why black people in ‘The Bluest Eye’ feel self-hatred is because they are said to be ugly, due to the white beauty ideal that society has. The main problem in the book is that Pecola wishes to have blue eyes, which is a symbol for the white beauty ideal. To Pecola, having blue eyes gives her something which is considered to be beautiful by American society. Next to being considered pretty, the blue eyes mean a different view upon the world for Pecola herself as well. She believes that she can lead a life just like a middle-class white girl (Shmoop citate).

When Pecola goes out to buy Mary Janes candies for herself and she has to pay a white salesman. In his eyes she sees the distaste for her, because of her skin colour (Morrison, 47). ‘She has seen it lurking in the eyes of all white people’ (Morrison, 47). Society shows the distaste of a black person just by looking at them. This shows that Pecola thinks she is ugly because of her black skin colour and as she wants blue eyes to solve this distaste for her, we can conclude that she feels self-hatred.

Another reason for the feeling of self-hatred by the blacks in ‘The Bluest Eye’ is the poverty in which they are represented. The house that the Breedloves live in shows their poverty, especially the furnishings in their house. They bought a new sofa, but when it arrived, it already was broken. They could not afford to buy a new one, the company did not want to give them warranty, but neither they could afford it to buy a new fabric (Morrison, 34). This shows that they can not afford to buy good furnishings and other facilties (clothes). The only people who do care about Pecola, although she is black, are three whores living above them. When she comes in, Marie asks her: ‘Hi dumplin, where your socks?’ (Morrison,49). If Pecola walks in on bare feet, this implements that the Breedloves are even too poor to buy proper clothes for their children.

The black characters in ‘The Bluest Eye’ are represented as people who feel self-hatred, due to ugliness and poorness, because of the white beauty ideal. Pecola is obsessed by the Shirley Temple, a white celebrity, cup. She agrees to the fact that white is the ideal beauty just like society says. Frieda agrees to this as well, and therefore the two of them love to talk about Shirley Temple (Morrison, 17).
Claudia, on the other hand, is the one character that disagrees with the white beauty ideal. The only dolls available in the 1940s were white dolls. Adults thought that every child wanted to have ‘a big, blue-eyed Baby Doll’ (Morrison, 18), because...

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