The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The bluest eye is a mind-blowing novel written in 1970 by Toni Morrison, an American author. The issues of incest, racism, and child molestation are discussed in the book, and it focuses on the life of Pecola Breedlove.
Pecola Breedlove was an 11 years old African American girl in Ohio who went through turbulent times growing up. Her parents always fought for each other. Pecola was often told, she was ugly as a black girl.
Pecola was always faced with problems of maltreatment and hardship; thus, she believed it was her skin color and dark eyes that were responsible. She thought if she had white skin and blue eyes, her world would be different, and people would respect and love her (Morrison 39).
The essay is focused on explaining how a particular character’s mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling forces and how these forces contribute to the meaning of the whole work. These forces will also be identified. It is hoped that in the end, the whole work will be clear for easy comprehension.
A character whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires
Pecola Breedlove was from home full of hatred, hardship, and cruelty. Same as her parents, who are growing up, was also difficult.
Cholly Breedlove pecola’s father was a drunk who never knew his father and was rejected by his mother. He was raised by his Great Aunt Jimmy, who died when Cholly was still a boy. Pecola’s mother, Pauline Breedlove, was only concerned about working for a white, rich family, and that meant everything to her. She showed more love for the white family than her own family (Morrison 47).
With little or no love shown to her from her own home and outside her home, also the constant reminder that she was an ugly black girl, eventually pulled pecola’s mind towards believing that if she had white skin and blue eyes, things would change around her. (Alan 76). Furthermore, the favor and respect showed towards Maureen Peal at school also fuelled her desire for blue eyes. Pecola was thwarted at every attempt to find her own identity. In other words, Pecola’s real and true identity as a young black girl was diminished and condemned by the constant harassment she got for being a black girl.
Pecola’s plight to find her true identity as a black girl and simultaneously to wish to be a white girl with blue eyes, in order to stop the cruelty around her world, pulls her mind in conflicting directions and eventually leads her to insanity.
Two conflicting forces and how they contribute to the meaning of the whole work
The whole story is about pressured into something people, or somebody has little or no control over. Pecola’s race, gender, ignorance, and poverty are things she could never have been able to change. But the consistent maltreatment she got from her home where her parents always fought, she was raped twice by her father, and that lack of love led to her greatest desire of being a white girl with blue eyes. (Bernard 66).
The Mac Teer’s housed pecola since her house was burnt down, and their children, Claudia and Frieda Mac Teer, became the only friends Pecola ever had. She was not shown love by anybody, and it was even more amazing when Mr. Yacobowoski, a 52 years old white immigrant who was a grocery storekeeper, also took notice of an 11 years old African American girl (Alan 90).
This social insecurity and imbalance made Pecola lose her self esteem and never stood to defend her self even to the black boys who shared the same characteristics with her but always brought up the issue of her supposed ugliness.
Claudia and Frieda Mac Teer, unlike Pecola, had parental love. That parental love, gave them emotional security and confidence always to defend themselves, whenever the need arose. Also, Claudia, the narrator, was able to find her identity as a black girl in a white community due to the emotional security she got as a result of the parental love shown her in her home (Gordon 76).
In other words, Pecola’s life was full of cruelty and hardships beginning from her home, in her school, and in her society. She could not have been able to do anything to change her identity as a black girl. But the lack of parental love and abuse by her father took every hope of been loved and also took her confidence too.
That pushed poor Pecola to strive harder and harder for blue eyes, which she thought was the only way out of her misery. Rather at the end, she eventually lost sanity at a point where she thought she realized her dream and wished for blue eyes (Collins 102).
Alan, Trevor. History of blacks, Road to civilization: New York: Roxford Books 1991. Print.
Bernard, Alastair. Ohio A Disputed Legacy 1970-1998. Cambridge: Harvard University press, 2006. Print.
Collins, Peter. A History Littered with Hatred of Blacks. Cambridge: Harvard University press, 2003. Print.
Gordon, Charles. Unlawful Path to Civilization. 1975-1995. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 2002. Print.
Morrison, Toni The Bluest Eye. UK Vintage. 1999. Print.
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