Toni Morisson's The Bluest Eye
Toni Morisson's novel The Bluest Eye is about the life of the Breedlove family who reside in Lorain, Ohio, in the late 1930s (where Morrison herself was born). This family consists of the mother Pauline, the father Cholly, the son Sammy, and the daughter Pecola. The novel's focal point is the daughter, an eleven-year-old Black girl who is trying to conquer a bout with self-hatred. Everyday she encounters racism, not just from the White people, but mostly from her own race. In their eyes she is much too dark, and the darkness of her skin somehow manifests that she is inferior, and according to everyone else, her skin makes her even "uglier." She feel she can overcome this battle of self-hatred by obtaining blue eyes, but not just any blue. She wants the bluest of the blue, the bluest eye.
Pecola Breedlove is an innocent little girl who, like very other young child, did not ask to be born in this cruel world. It is bad enough that practically the whole world rejects her, but her own parents are guilty of rejection as well. Her own father, who is constantly drunk, sexually molests his daughter more than once. The first time he has sexual intercourse with his daughter, he leaves her slightly unconscious, and lying on the kitchen floor with a guilt covering her frail, limp, preteen body. The next time he performs the same act, but this time he impregnates her. Of course, the baby is miscarried. This is obviously not a love a father should be sharing with a daughter. This act displays hatred in the worst way.
Her mother's rejection is subtle yet potent. When Pecola tells her mother about the molestation, Mrs. Breedlove does not believe her own flesh and blood. Pecola calls Pauline Mrs. Breedlove instead of calling her mother. Allowing this, Mrs. Breedlove shows that unconsciously she does not acknowledge Pecola as her daughter, and Pecola does not avow Pauline as her mother. Distance is quite evident in this so-called mother-daughter relationship. How can one learn trust if trust is not first manifested in the family?
Pecola endures physical and verbal abuse at home, and also at school. She is always the target of cruel and demeaning jokes which usually refer to her very dark skin. Once in the playground, four young black boys hold Pecola hostage inside a small circle that they have formed. They call her names such as "black e mo" (as if they are not black themselves). Every day Black people have to deal with outside racism, and that hurts a great deal, but when the racism is coming from your own race, it also hurts, and the bruise left is more severe.
I can relate to this quite well....