The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

"And Pecola. She hid behind hers. (Ugliness) Concealed, veiled, eclipsed—--peeping out from behind the shroud very seldom, and then only to yearn for the return of her mask" (Morrison 39). In the novel The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, the main character, Pecola, comes to see herself as ugly. This idea she creates results from her isolation from friends, the community, and ever her family. There are three stages that lead up to Pecola portraying herself as an ugly human being. The three stages that lead to Pecola's realization are her family's outlook toward her, the community members telling her she is ugly, and her actually accepting what the other say or think about her. Each stage progresses into the other to finally reach the last stage and the end of the novel when Pecola eventually has to rely on herself as an imaginary friend so she will have someone to talk to.
The first stage of Pecola coming to believe she is ugly starts with her family's attitude toward her. Right from the very start of Pecola's life her parents have thought of her as ugly on the outside as well as on the inside. When Pecola was born, Pecola's mother, Pauline, said: "Eyes all soft and wet. A cross between a puppy and a dying man. But I knowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly" (Morrison 126). Pecola became labeled ugly as soon as she was born. The reason people think of her as ugly relates to the way she gets treated by her family. Her parents never even gave her a chance to prove that she is worth something and not just a piece of trash. In the first stage of Pecola's realization of being ugly, she starts to feel the way she does because her family does not give her any support and tell her she actually means something to them. Pecola does not really have anyone that she can go to talk about things. All of the weight of her problems rests on her shoulders with no one to help her out, not even her parents, the two people that brought her into this very world.

The second stage of Pecola coming to think of herself as ugly simply compounds on the fact that she has no backup when her friends tell her that she is ugly and isn't worth a damn.

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The new girl at school, Maureen Peal, gets Pecola's spirits down by saying: "I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute" (Morrison 73). Pecola's classmates call her ugly and she has no one to tell her otherwise. The second stage of Pecola's problem takes place when her community and family both tell her she is ugly or at least do not give her any complements whatsoever. Eventually, overtime someone will start to believe something stands true if you hear it enough time without someone telling you it is not true. Human nature comes into place when Pecola starts to give in on her pride and listen to what everyone says. Only very strong willed people can take continuous criticism and not eventually start to believe it. Pecola simply does what almost anyone would do when she lets go of her self-pride and lets it get eaten up by the rest of the world. On top of it all, when Pecola gets into a fight with a white girl, her mother sides against her own daughter. These examples go to show that Pecola's parents do not care or at least show they care for their very own daughter.

The third stage of Pecola's road to believing she is not worth a thing comes into play when she gives in and actually admits that she is ugly. The exact point of time when Pecola admits she is ugly comes in when she wants to get blue eyes to make her prettier. She thinks that by changing the color of her eyes will change the way people think of her. It is a sad thing when someone will change how they look or who they are simply because after all the put downs and negative comments they have no other choice. "Sure it is. Can you imagine? Something like that happening to a person, and nobody but nobody saying anything about it? They all try to pretend they don't see them. Isn't that funny?" (Morrison 195). The road to Pecola realizing she is ugly is finalized when she thinks she has to change something to make people think differently of her. It shows that she has accepted what they have been telling her all along. Pecola has finally lost of self-respect for herself. She has nowhere else to turn but to thinking she has blue eyes and talking to her imaginary friend so she can actually have a conversation with someone and get her thoughts out.

Her entire life, Pecola Breedlove has put up with everyone, including her friends and family telling her she is ugly. Early in her life she does not buy into it but over time due to no one to turn to and continuous comments about being ugly, Pecola finally gives into the outside world and admits she is ugly by thinking she would have to change the color of her eyes to make people think otherwise. Pecola's rough life will stay like it is now for the rest of her life because she lost all that she had going for her when she let it all get to her. Can anyone blame the girl?


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