Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

1484 words - 6 pages

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

One of the most prominent themes found in Toni Morrison’s acutely tragic novel The Bluest Eye is the transferal or redirection of emotions in an effort on the part of the characters to make pain bearable. The most obvious manifestation of that is the existence of race hatred for one’s own race that pervades the story; nearly every character that the narrator spends time with feels at some point a self-loathing as a result of the racism present in 1941 American society. The characters, particularly the adults, have become bitter and hate themselves because of the powerlessness they feel in the situation. They transfer the anger and hatred onto themselves, or at times the others around them, because they must let their emotions out in some way in order to make the pain manageable. Morrison conveys this message even more profoundly with smaller, isolated incidents that illustrate how people redirect and transfer their emotions, and one of the most beautiful and memorable of theses moments is the scene in which Pecola buys candy at a food store.

The scene opens with Pecola walking down the street observing familiar inanimate objects, notably the sidewalk and dandelions growing at the bottom of a telephone pole. She wonders why adults dislike dandelions and “call them weeds” when she views them simply as flowers that are pretty (pg 47). Here Morrison is obviously drawing a parallel between the arbitrary label of an “ugly weed” versus a “flower” and the irrationality of racism. The aversion to dandelions is a social construction in the same way that racial differences are. This analogy also echoes the references to the ugliness of black people as opposed to whites that appear in so many places in the book, such as the scene in which the girls fight with Maureen Peal, who yells at them from across the street, “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos! I am cute!” (pg. 73). Pecola’s affection for the dandelions also tells the reader that she has not yet fully given in to self-loathing under the pressures of racism.

Part of the attraction that Pecola feels towards the flowers derives from the attitude they seem to display – bright and happy despite their low status in the flora hierarchy. She identifies a certain threatening aspect of them when she supposes that “Nobody loves the head of a dandelion… because they are so many, strong, and soon” (pg. 47). There is a resilience and perhaps a defiance in these weeds that people, according to Pecola, sense and therefore try to eradicate from their yards. Here she brings up another recurring issue of the novel: the contrast between the views of young people and those of adults. Claudia even more so than Pecola has also not yet succumbed to the cycle of race hatred that has consumed the adults of the book and even her older sister. This trend is worked into the dandelion analogy in that it is the adults who despise the dandelions, who “go into...

Find Another Essay On Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

The Breedloves in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

654 words - 3 pages In the third chapter of The Bluest Eye, entitled "Autumn", Toni Morrison focuses on Pecola's family, the Breedloves. Morrison goes in depth about the family dynamic of the Breedloves and how it affects Pecola and her self-image. The passage starts after one of many arguments between Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove, Pecola's parents, turns violent. Mrs. Breedlove wants Cholly to fetch some coal from the outside shed. Cholly spent the last night

A Criticism of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

2492 words - 10 pages . New York: Palgrave, 2000. Print. Grimes, William. "Toni Morrison Is '93 Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature." The New York Times 8 Oct. 1993, Late Edition ed.: n. pag. Print. Smith, Nicole. "Literary Analysis of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison : History and Slavery." Article Myriad. N.p., 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 4 June 2014. Bump, Jerome. Racism and Appearance in the Bluest Eye: A Template for an Ethical Emotive Criticism. Criticism. 2nd ed. Vol. 37. Austin, TX: U of Texas, 2010. Print. Sugiharti, Esti. Racialist Beauty: Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Thesis. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Collier, Eugeina. “Marigolds.” n.e., n.d. Print.

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye - Female Childhood Icons

1682 words - 7 pages Female Childhood Icons in Morrison's The Bluest Eye   In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison weaves stories of violation and hardship to examine the ugliness that racism produces. In this novel, the childhood icons of white culture are negative representations instrumental in engendering internalized racism. For the black child in a racist, white culture, these icons are never innocent. Embodying the ideals of white beauty, they expose the

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye - Pecola's Mother is to Blame

1494 words - 6 pages Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye - Pecola's Mother is to Blame A black child is born and twelve years later that same child asks, "How do you get someone to love you?" The answer can't be found in Mrs. MacTeer's songs or in the Maginot Line's description of eating fish together, and even Claudia doesn't know because that question had never entered her mind. If Claudia had thought about it, she would have been able to explain to Pecola that

Forms of Violence in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

2206 words - 9 pages Forms of Violence in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Works Cited Missing Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye is about the life of a black low class family, who resides in America in the late 1930s. Everyday they are confronted to the problem of violence. And we would see that this violence is present inside their own family as well as in all the community around them. Then we will explain that all this abuse comes for

Self-Hate in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

2430 words - 10 pages , parents must teach children about their culture and ethnicity instead of trying to adapt to another culture. By understanding one.s culture and embracing it, one can strive to combat negative societal influences and grow to their fullest potential. Works Cited Cormier-Hamilton, Patrice. “Black Naturalism and Toni Morrison: The journey away from self- love in The Bluest Eye.” Melus: 19.4 (1994): 109-127. Academic Search

The Importance of the Eye in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

1326 words - 5 pages 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 over with rich adjectives that describe color, movement, and nuance of expression to signify a character's mood and psychological state. Morrison emphasizes the paradox of eyes: Eyes are at times a window to enlightenment, however, what eyes see is not always

Toni Morisson's The Bluest Eye

915 words - 4 pages 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

Metamorphosis in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

2672 words - 11 pages The transition from childhood to adulthood is not as clear cut as the physical traits would suggest. The female transition is no exception. Culture has a major role in deciding when the change occurs. Some mark a specific age as the point of passage while others are known to acknowledge physical changes. Regardless, cultures around the world understand that there is a distinct difference between the two. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

1369 words - 5 pages In The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, Pecola Breedlove attempts to measure up to the standard of beauty set by the Master Narrative: an ideological truth imposed by those in power. Pecola, persistent in her attempt to reach the convention of beauty, is never fully satisfied with herself, and quickly becomes obsessed in becoming ‘beautiful. Pecola begins to associate beauty with happiness and respect. This infinite pursuit for beauty has extremely

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

2058 words - 9 pages Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young girl living in Lorain, Ohio, who has to face harsh conditions from a young age. Pecola’s family has a reputation of “ugliness”, a reputation that their town despises them for. Pecola herself believes the allegations that she is ugly to be true, not only because of the constant abuse that she witnesses in her own family, but also because she has been told that she is ugly

Similar Essays

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

2852 words - 11 pages Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye provides social commentary on a lesser known portion of black society in America. The protagonist Pecola is a young black girl who desperately wants to feel beautiful and gain the “bluest eyes” as the title references. The book seeks to define beauty and love in this twisted perverse society, dragging the reader through Morrison’s emotional manipulations. Her father Cholly

Cinema In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

1761 words - 7 pages Cinema in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, characters learn how to perform social roles though film. Pauline goes to the movies in search of a more glamorous identity. Instead, the unattainable beauty she sees onscreen reaffirms her low place in society. Laura Mulvey’s article, Visual and Other Pleasures, explains film’s ability to indoctrinate patriarchal social order. This ability is certainly

Racism In In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

600 words - 2 pages Both Toni Morrison's novel about an African American family in Ohio during the 1930s and 1940s, The Bluest Eye and Louise Erdrich;s novel about the Anishinabe tribe in the 1920s in North Dakota, Tracks are, in part, about seeing.  Both novels examine the effects of a kind of seeing that is refracted through the lens of racism by subjects of racism themselves.  Erdrich's Pauline Puyat and Morrison's Pecola Breedlove are crazy from

Structural Elements Of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

951 words - 4 pages The Bluest Eye:  Structural Elements        In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison employs structure as an aid for telling her story. She uses at least three unique structural devices for this purpose. First, Morrison begins the novel with three passages that prepare the reader for the shocking tale about to be told. Second, the novel is divided into four major parts with each quarter given the name of a
2 X Proiettore Led Rgb Testa Mobile Rotante Effetti Disco 7 Led Wash Dmx | 한국어 | [Read More]