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Essay on Woman Is The Nigger Of The Wolrd: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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Ignored as a person. Denied as a species. ‘The total absence of human recognition” (Morrison, 36). For decades, African-Americans have not only been looked down upon by white people, they have been dehumanized. Toni Morrison is controversial for pillorying this topic, that has been silenced by white society for years, not from the ‘Master Narrative’ perspective, that is the white male one’s, but from the exact opposite of this: an African-American girl. By doing this, she does not only awake pity for Pecola at the reader but also show how anti-black racism is constructed by social forces, interracially as well as intra-racially. Morrison represents African-Americans as people who suffer from the vacuum that white people create between them, the internalization of the white beauty ideal as well as the distancing behaviour towards their own people by African-Americans.
African-Americans feel inferior to white people, as a result of white people trying to distance themselves as far as possible from African-Americans. White people want to have clear boundaries between me and not-me, the Other, in order to retain their identity (Kolehmainen). In The Bluest Eye, African-Americans function as the Other for white people, thereby representing everything that they do not want to be. However, without the Other, there is no self. So people that consider themselves to be better than African-Americans can only feel so by contrasting themselves to them. For example, light-coloured Maureen Peal screams to Frieda, Claudia and Pecola “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos! I am cute!” (Morrison, 56-57), which proves she needs to juxtapose black with cute in order to feel cute herself. Therefore, the vacuum of white people looking upon...


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...ize the white beauty ideal, but also the act of distancing themselves from their own people. Therefore, “the discriminatory practices are set forth by people that are themselves the victims or the progeny of victims of racial discrimination” (Kolehmainen). What Morrison wants to convey, however, is that one must realize that beauty is not one virtue, “it is something one can do” (Morrison, Foreword).



Works Cited

Kolehmainen, Tuula. "And My Sign Didn’t Make Sense Without Hers: Challenging Stereotypes in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, “Recitatif”, and Tar Baby ." . University of Helsinki, 11 01 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2014. Barlaz, Hinda A.. "A Reading Guide to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye." . The Learning Center. Web. 20 Feb 2014. .
Morrison, Toni . The Bluest Eye. 164. London: Vintage, 1970. print.



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