The And Of White Culture Essay

The And Of White Culture Essay

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Although Cholly may seem monstrous, he is yet another product of the environment, like his wife and daughter. At first, he values his wife. However, as the weight of white culture begins to overburden him, he begins to see his wife as uglier and less attractive as their economic situation worsens. He has an issue with her attempts to become white, which they are expensive and that put a further strain on the budget. As a result, he begins to feel less and less satisfied with his wife because he feels emasculated because he cannot afford to have an even slightly better looking wife. He needs to be able to conquer her in effort to overcome his emasculation. He needs to make her feel as if she is not beautiful and that she is a worthless sex toy only there for his own amusement and more importantly, emotional validation. That is perhaps why he also marries the ugliest woman that he could find. Having to see her face every day justifies the fact that there is no beauty in being an African-American. It helps to placate his demons while also causing his wife’s self-esteem to plummet into an abyss of darkness while his feelings of emasculation temporarily subsist. Unfortunately “[f]or Pauline, sexual pleasure depends entirely on… a sense of herself as desirable”, so she has no chance of embracing her own sexuality which contributes to her sense of feeling beautiful (Kuenz). However, his actions towards his wife ultimately affect his daughter. By increasing his wife’s lack of self-worth, he is indirectly causing his daughter to feel less beautiful because he is contributing to Pecola’s lack of a healthy, primary role model in her life. All of this emotional abuse in conjunction with “the extent of their poverty…strips them of their sens...

... middle of paper ... interaction between Pecola and this family demonstrates that the perception of beauty is greater than just a dichotomy between black and white, because within the black community, discrimination exists based on the shades of color. Clearly, there is an informal caste system within black society based on variations in skin color with lighter hues at the top with darker hues at the bottom. As unfortunate as it is, this allows people like Geraldine to feel some sense of power and importance because of the color of her skin similarly to many of the white characters within the novel. Here is an instance where black people are dehumanizing other black people because of white society’s perceptions of beauty. Clearly, the standard of beauty has influence on not only outward appearances, but also how people interact with other people even of a similar racial background.

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