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Essay about Conforming to Beauty in The Bluest Eye

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Black Hole Sun
The characters within The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, all attempt to conform to a standard of beauty in some way. This standard of beauty is established by the society in which they live, and then supported by members of the community. Beauty is also linked with respect and happiness. Both people who reach the standard of beauty, and those who try, are never really satisfied with who they are. This never-ending race to become beautiful has devastating effects on their relationships and their own self-esteem. Geraldine, a respected woman living in the community, does conform to the standard of beauty, and she feels that anyone else is greatly inferior. So as to retain the beauty, Geraldine loses her culture and her individuality. Pecola Breedlove, a young girl, also feels that she must be aesthetically beautiful. She, on the other hand, believes that beauty is the only way for her and her family to be happy. When Pecola finally thinks that she has this beauty, she becomes temporarily happy, but is not really satisfied with what she has. Eventually, Pecola becomes obsessed with being more and more beautiful, a state that she can never truly reach because she is black. The fact that a rigid standard of beauty is established, and all of the members of the community are pressured to conform to it, causes overwhelming effects on those who do fit it, and those who merely try.
Geraldine is an example of the devastating effects of conforming standard of beauty, even if it is reached. Geraldine, and the other women like her work their entire life to reach and maintain a standard of beauty. The women are constantly concerned with their appearance or the cleanliness of their house and belongings. The house, th...


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...being as close to white as possible. Black people and black culture is looked down upon as being dirty and inappropriate. Beauty, in essence, is having blond hair, blue eyes, and a clean, plastic family. The roles of each member of the family are fixed, and each person fulfills them with good cheer. This standard of beauty is then applied to everyone as a kind of scale of quality. A person who matches this standard is "good" and is respected for being so. A person who does not match the standard, or does not choose to conform to it, is not looked down upon. Not only are all people measured by this standard, people are aware of it at an early age. The "Dick and Jane" books read by children in school, clearly define beauty. More importantly, these books show that happiness can only be attained through beauty, and that an ugly person can never really be happy or good.


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