The Bluest Eyes By Toni Morrison English Literature Essay

The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison presents an interesting position of how internalized criterion of white beauty has deformed the lives of black misss and adult females. Morrison ‘s novel The Bluest Eye tells the narrative of a immature black miss named Pecola Breedlove, who wants to hold bluish eyes, because she sees herself as worthless and ugly without them. Her community subscribes to a criterion of beauty imposed by the white dominant civilization. This means that holding bluish eyes and light tegument is the ultimate and best signifier of beauty. The Bluest Eyes opens with a narration of the narrative of Dick and Jane. Dick and Jane is the narrative of a [ white ] Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane who live in the green-and-white house along with a cat and a Canis familiaris. The household is a really “ normal ” one where the male parent is large and strong, the female parent is nice, and everyone is basically really happy. Morrison starts the novel with this anecdote to demo how a racialist system destroys the heads and psyches of [ black ] people. The dominate images of happy flush white households fundamentally tells black people that to be white agencies to be successful and happy and to be black means populating a life of poorness and sadness. As a consequence, Blacks begin to detest their ain heritage and tegument colour since it prevents them from populating in the happy universe of Dick and Jane. This undoubtedly affects the Black mind as they are invariably being told that they can ne’er accomplish the position of the dominant bulk chiefly because of their ascribed tegument colour.

W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folks states that ; the Negro is a kind of 7th boy born with a head covering and gifted with second-sight in this American universe, – a universe which yields him no true uneasiness but merely lets him see himself through the disclosure of the other universe. DuBois usage of the head covering refers to the debatable nature of Blacks non being able to themselves outside of what dominate white society has imposed on them. DuBois impression of the head covering can be applied to the bulk of the Black female characters in The Bluest Eyes. The characters of Pauline Breedlove, Geraldine, and Pecola are Black female characters who subscribe to the white imposed signifier of ideal female beauty. In seeking to suit to the ideal of image white beauty, these Black female characters abhor their inkiness which in bend leads to self-hatred. They are taught from a immature age to reject their inkiness and follow a white criterion of beauty. Their perceptual experience of beauty comes through the eyes of white people and they worship of white beauty. They are encouraged to absorb [ white ] cultural icons such as Shirley Temple and Jean Harlow who portraying physical beauty. This negation of inkiness finally affects the mind of black female. In consecutive experiments done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in their “ Doll Test ” , it was inferred that Black kids identified positively with white dolls and was declarative of their single and group hatred. It is besides deserving observing that findings from the Clarks ‘ “ Doll Test ” was cited in the Brown v. Board of Education as an indicant of the psychological harm done to black kids.

Harmonizing to DuBois, life behind the veil [ of race ] consequences in double-consciousness as Blacks ever looking at themselves through the eyes of others. Having dual consciousness causes a black individual to hold two individualities. One individuality is how they view themselves and the other is how others view or perceive them. In The Bluest Eyes, holding a dual consciousness is really deadly for both assorted characters throughout the novel. The racialized society nowadays in the novel situates blackness as a status to be despised therefore Blacks are perceived to be contemptible. Since inkiness is viewed with disdain, Blacks internalize the dominant civilization ‘s racialist thoughts of a superior goodness associated with whiteness and a physical and mental ugliness associated with inkiness. The combination of such positions finally leads to self-loathing and individuality crises. The character of Geraldine is a black adult female who represses her inkiness which is non fitted to white beauty as she labors to acquire rid of the awful funkiness. Besides deserving mentioning is the fact that the black characters who have internalized whiteness property cleanliness to whiteness and dirtiness to blackness. For case Geraldine positions Pecola as the incarnation of inkiness when she foremost saw her. Morrison writes ; she looked at Pecola. Saw the dirty lacerate frock, the braids lodging out on her caput, hair matted where the braids had come undone, the muddy places with the wad of gum peeping out from between the inexpensive colloidal suspensions, the dirty socks, one of which had been walked down into the heel on the shoe Geraldine ‘s reaction to Pecola ‘s visual aspect reminded her of the inkiness she was seeking to get away and exhibited no ounce of understanding for her. Pecola ‘s inkiness represented poorness and uncleanness and Geraldine calls her a awful small black bitch and orders her out of her house. She even goes farther to learn her son the differences between colored and black people: colored people were orderly and quiet ; niggas were soiled and loud. The line between colored and nigger was non ever clear.

While bulk of the Black female character in The Bluest Eyes worshipped the white criterion of beauty, there was one character that rejects the impression of white Beauty. Claudia MacTeer, the storyteller of the novel is a strong minded Black female who rebels against the Black community ‘s idealisation of white beauty criterions. When she is given a white doll as a gift, she dissects it believing possibly she will happen what the universe idea was so fantastic about pink tegument and xanthous hair. In their young person, Claudia and her sister Frieda were happy with their inkiness. She narrates ; Guileless and without amour propre we were still in love with ourselves so. We felt comfy in our teguments, enjoyed the intelligence that our senses released to us, admired our soil, cultivated our cicatrixs, and could non grok this unworthiness. She besides wondered why black people seemed to look up to small white misss ‘ she says what make people look at them and state, ‘Awwwww ‘ , but non at me? The oculus slide of black adult females as they approached them on the street, and the genitive gradualness of their touch as they handled them. At her age Claudia does non cognize about or even learned about the self-hatred that has plagued so many black females in her community. She was non a fan of Shirley Temple and was angry that Shirley Temple gets to dance with Mr. Bojanles, a black adult male, [ her ] friend, [ her ] uncle, [ her ] dada, who ought to hold been soft-shoeing it and chortling with [ her ] Claudia does non believe that whiteness peers goodness.

Talmadge Anderson and James Stewart propose the impression of Black self-concept in the 5th chapter of the book Introduction to African American Studies as a manner of placing the psychological experiences and self-derogation Blacks have faced. They define Black self-concept as the manner African Americans perceive their worthiness. The impression of Black self-concept is present in Morrison ‘s novel as the bulk of the Black characters view themselves as worthless since they have n’t achieved the white criterion of beauty. Since widespread impression whiteness is better everyplace and the understanding that being light tegument is better, some characters in The Bluest Eyes learned to detest the inkiness of their ain organic structures and view themselves as ugly. For illustration Pecola ‘s racial self-loathing is shown by her intense compulsion to hold bluish eyes. Without the bluish eyes she thinks she is ugly and worthless. Pecola connects [ white ] beauty with being loved and she believes that if she has bluish eyes, the ugliness and inhuman treatment in her life will be replaced with fondness and regard. Since the thought of white beauty has been imprinted on Pecola throughout her full life, she is ne’er satisfied with who she is which leads to low self-pride. She is invariably captivated by the images of Shirley Temple and Mary Jane.

Throughout Morrison ‘s novel, the formation of a racial individuality for most Black females was influence but the criterion imposed by the white dominant civilization. The minute a individual realizes that he/she is black, is besides the same minute he/she realizes they are a job or there is a job with them. These realisations frequently occur at a immature age and determine their psychological development. For a immature, black female like Pecola Breedlove turning up in a black community that idolizes everything white, she believes the lone manner to be accepted in her community is to follow the position quo. Pecola equates holding bluish eyes with the beauty and felicity of a white dominated universe to which she does non belong. She wants people to love her on the same degree as Shirley Temple, Mary Jane, Dick and Jane, the white misss at school. She believes if she had bluish eyes people would really look at and love her.