Instead of adoring and cradling the new gift, as most other children would have done, Claudia, in a fit of rage, dismembered and destroyed the doll. She hated the doll's blue eyes and blonde hair staring back at her, reminding her of how different she looked from the doll.
She knew that to destroy the doll was wrong, but she could not help it. The doll, so revered for its white established ideals of what beautiful was, made Claudia hate herself for being the complete opposite of those ideals. The Breedloves are described. They think they are poor and ugly, and it says that much of the reason they think this is because of the white American media. The media, as part of our culture, sets the standards for what defines beauty, and anything straying from these standards is viewed as ugly.
Pecola is constantly faced with the standards set on her society by American culture. She cannot even enjoy a piece of candy without feeling that she is different and lacking in some way in terms of beauty. When she goes to eat her Mary Jane candy, she is mesmerized by the little girl of Mary Jane on the cover, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl.
These cultural pressures of what defines beauty make Pecola aware of just how much she strays from that defined beauty. This eventually leads to her desire for blue eyes, which in turn leads her into madness. When Pecola, Maureen, Claudia and Frieda are walking home from the ice cream shop, they pass a theater with a picture of Betty Grable on it. Young girls are bombarded with American culture's ideals of beauty, such as pictures of famous actresses.
Betty Grable in particular, with her blonde hair and blue eyes, makes Pecola and Maureen want to look like her. However, despite all of their hopes and wishes, they will never be able to look like that, and they are left as the victims of a culture that standardizes and limits young children. During her younger years, Pauline Breedlove spent a lot of time at the movie theater.
It was here where she learned American standards of true beauty. Constantly faced with actresses like Jean Harlow, the ultimate Hollywood blonde bombshell, Pauline was forced to examine her own beauty in terms of Harlow's.
She realized that she did not look anything like Harlow, and based on this, came to the conclusion that she must be ugly. However, her feelings of ugliness were purely based on cultural standards set on her through the medium of Hollywood.
Claudia feels the need for Pecola's baby to be alive and healthy. She wants the baby to survive because she wants to counteract the cultural emphasis placed on white girls with blonde hair and blue eyes, exemplified by the types of white baby dolls most children adore dolls that look like Shirley Temple.
If Pecola's baby lives, maybe people can learn to love a black baby and see black as beautiful too. The narrator relates events from Pauline's early life, her marriage, and how she became a maid for an affluent, white family. The narrator next recounts Cholly's traumatic childhood and adolescence. Abandoned almost at birth, he is rescued by his beloved Aunt Jimmy, who later dies when he is sixteen. After her burial, Cholly is humiliated by two white hunters who interrupt his first sexual encounter with a girl named Darlene.
He flees to Macon, Georgia, in search of his father who is miserably mean and wants nothing to do with his son. Crushed by this encounter, Cholly eventually meets and marries Pauline and fathers her children. Years later, in Lorain, a drunken Cholly staggers into his kitchen, and overcome with lust, brutally rapes and impregnates Pecola. In the last section of The Bluest Eye Claudia remembers meeting Pecola after Cholly's baby is delivered stillborn and accounts for the whereabouts of Sammy, Cholly, and Pauline.
In The Bluest Eye, the opening excerpt from the Dick-and-Jane primer juxtaposed with the experiences of African American characters immediately sets the tone for Morrison's examination of a young black girl's growing self-hatred: American society tells Pecola happy, white, middle-class families are better than hopeless, black, working-class families. Victimized in different degrees by media messages—from movies and books to advertising and merchandise—that degrade their appearance, nearly every black character in the novel—both male and female—internalizes a desire for the white cultural standard of beauty.
This desire is especially strong in Pecola, who believes that blue eyes will make her beautiful and lovable. At the same time, every African American character hates in various degrees anything associated with their own race, blindly accepting the media-sponsored belief that they are ugly and unlovable, particularly in the appalling absence of black cultural standards of beauty.
In a sense, Pecola becomes the African American community's scapegoat for its own fears and feelings of unworthiness. Unlike Claudia, who possesses the love of her family, Pecola has learned from her appearance-conscious parents to devalue herself. Besides exposing the inherent racism of the American standard of beauty, The Bluest Eye also examines child abuse in terms of the violence that some African American parents subconsciously inflict on their children by forcing them to weigh their self-worth against white cultural standards.
Cholly's rape of Pecola in effect culminates the psychological, social, and personal depreciation by white society that has raped Cholly his entire life. As his surname implies, Cholly can only breed, not love, and his brutal act against his daughter produces a child who cannot live. Finally, Pecola's longing for blue eyes speaks to the connection between how one is seen and how one sees.
Pecola believes that if she had beautiful eyes, people would not be able to torment her mind or body. Her wish for blue eyes rather than lighter skin transcends racism, with its suggestion that Pecola wants to see things differently as much as to be seen differently, but the price for Pecola's wish ultimately is her sanity, as she loses sight of both herself and the world she inhabits.
Regarded by modern literary critics as perhaps one of the first contemporary female bildungsroman, or coming-of-age narratives, The Bluest Eye initially received modest reviews upon its publication in Commentators later claimed that they neglected the work because Morrison was unknown at the time.
Since then, however, The Bluest Eye has become a classroom staple, and scholarship on the novel has flourished from a number of perspectives. A recurring discussion has focused on the novel's ability to replicate African American vernacular patterns and musical rhythms.
Many critics have approached the novel in the context of the rise of African American writers, assigning significance to their revision of American history with their own cultural materials and folk traditions. Others have considered the ways The Bluest Eye alludes to earlier black writings in order to express the traditionally silenced female point of view and uses conventional grotesque imagery as a vehicle for social protest.
In addition, some have examined the influence of environment on the novel's characters, identifying stylistic affinities with literary naturalism. Others have offered Marxist interpretations of the novel's formal aspects in terms of the ideological content of its representation of African American life. Rac-ing Justice, En-gendering Power: At the end of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, the little black girl Pecola, a victim of incest, is pictured talking to herself in a mirror about her imaginary blue eyes.
Indiana University Press, Black Girlhood in The Bluest Eye. Little black girls learned their lessons in self-authentication from autobiographies of such artists as Mahalia Jackson, Maya Angelou, and Bessie Smith, which explained how, in spite of immense obstacles, one might The Bluest Eye is not only the story of the destructive effects of inter- and intraracial prejudice upon impressionable black girls in the midwest; it is also the story of Afro-American folk culture in process Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye , is an unusually effective exploration of racism in Southern Illinois University Press, This admission, hardly the admission of a lack of technique or craft, is, instead, Morrison's admission that The Need for Racial Approbation.
Susquehanna University Press, Specifically, she investigates the effects of the beauty standards of the dominant culture on the self-image of the African female adolescent. The role of class, the primary form of exploitation experienced by Many writers have noted the importance of names and the act of naming in Toni Morrison's novels but, surprisingly, no one in print has noted the ironies surrounding the name of Pecola Breedlove, the central character of The Bluest Eye.
The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison (Born Chloe Anthony Wofford) American novelist, nonfiction writer, essayist, playwright, and children's writer. The following entry presents criticism on Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye () through For further information on her life and complete works, see CLC, Volumes 4, 10, 22, 87, and
Bluest Eye literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Bluest Eye.
- The Importance of the Eye in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, the characters' eyes are everything. The word "eye" appears over and . In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison tells the story of a young African American, Pecola, and the social struggles of the time period, including the difficulties of growing up as a young black woman in the s.
In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, both racism and beauty are portrayed in a number of ways. This book illustrates many of the racial concerns which were. The Bluest Eye is a harsh warning about the old consciousness of black folks' attempts to emulate the slave master. Pecola's request is not for more money or a better house or even for more sensible parents; her request is for blue eyes — something that, even if she had been able to acquire them, would not have abated the harshness of her abject reality.