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Racism and Sexism in the Bluest Eye Essay

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Toni Morrison, the author of The Bluest Eye, centers her novel around two things: beauty and wealth in their relation to race and a brutal rape of a young girl by her father. Morrison explores and exposes these themes in relation to the underlying factors of black society: racism and sexism. Every character has a problem to deal with and it involves racism and/or sexism. Whether the characters are the victim or the aggressor, they can do nothing about their problem or condition, especially when concerning gender and race. Morrison's characters are clearly at the mercy of preconceived notions maintained by society. Because of these preconceived notions, the racism found in The Bluest Eye is not whites against blacks. Morrison writes about the racism of lighter colored blacks against darker colored blacks and rich blacks against poor blacks. Along with racism within the black community, sexism is exemplified both against women and against men. As Morrison investigates the racism and sexism of the community of Lorain, Ohio, she gives the reader more perspective as to why certain characters do or say certain things.

Morrison provides the reader with a light-skinned black character whose racist attitudes affect the poorer, darker blacks in the community, especially the main characters, Claudia MacTeer and Pecola Breedlove. Maureen Peal comes from a rich black family and triggers admiration along with envy in every child at school, including Claudia. Although Maureen is light-skinned, she embodies everything that is considered "white," at least by Claudia's standards: "Patent leather shoes with buckles...fluffy sweaters the color of lemon drops tucked into skirts with pleats... brightly colored knee socks with white borders, a brown ...


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...m or desert him.

It should be understood that Morrison's novel is filled with many characters and many examples of racism and sexism and the foundations for such beliefs in the black community. Every character is the victim or an aggressor of racism of sexism in all its forms. Morrison succeeds in shedding light on the racism and sexism the black community had to endure on top of racism and sexism outside of the community. She shows that racism and sexism affect everyone's preconceived notions regarding race and gender and how powerful and prevalent the notions are. Within the community, racism affects how people's views of beauty and skin can be skewed by other's racist thoughts; sexism shapes everyone in the community's reactions to different forms of rape.

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Afterward by Toni Morrison. New York: Penguin, 2004.



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