The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Length: 1122 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Beauty is dangerous, especially when you lack it. In the book "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, we witness the effects that beauty brings. Specifically the collapse of Pecola Breedlove, due to her belief that she did not hold beauty. The media in the 1940's as well as today imposes standards in which beauty is measured up to; but in reality beauty dwells within us all whether it's visible or not there's beauty in all; that beauty is unworthy if society brands you with the label of being ugly.
In the 1940's as well as present day, the media pushed on society an image of perfection and beauty. This image is many times fake, but the naive cannot deceive, and it can become an icon of beauty. If you do not fall within the image then you are ugly. In the book "The Bluest Eye," we witness the power that the media has on specific characters: Pecola Breedlove, Claudia and Frieda MacTeer. The icon of beauty at that point in time is Shirley Temple, a white girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She is also the first reference to beauty in the book. Claudia explains her feelings towards Shirley Temple by saying, "...I had felt a stranger, more frightening thing than hatred for all the Shirley Temples of the world" (19). Claudia is relating the hatred that she felt towards Shirley Temple to the envy she has towards girls who are beautiful like Shirley. Claudia herself knows that the media is trying to imply this image she says, "Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs—all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured" (20). This idea is repeated repetitively throughout the story, the idea that blue-eyed is beautiful. Frieda and Pecola love Shirley Temple while Claudia despises her with envy. Pecola once goes to purchase some candies called Mary Janes, she is very intrigued by the blue-eyed, blond girl in the wrapper. The narrator tells us that Pecola feels Mary Jane's eyes are pretty and that by eating the candy she feels the love that she has for the girl on the wrapper and she finds herself closer to her (50). The idea pushed by the media that blue eyes are beautiful builds up a strong destructive desire in Pecola.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison." 18 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Metamorphosis in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

- The transition from childhood to adulthood is not as clear cut as the physical traits would suggest. The female transition is no exception. Culture has a major role in deciding when the change occurs. Some mark a specific age as the point of passage while others are known to acknowledge physical changes. Regardless, cultures around the world understand that there is a distinct difference between the two. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells a story in the perspective of a young black girl, Claudia, as well as the perspective of her as a woman....   [tags: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye]

Research Papers
2188 words (6.3 pages)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Essays

- 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....   [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Analysis]

Free Essays
952 words (2.7 pages)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Essay

- The Bluest Eye There are many themes that seem to run throughout this story. Each theme and conflict seems to always involve the character of Pecola Breedlove. There is the theme of finding an identity. There is also the theme of Pecola as a victim. Of all the characters in the story we can definitely sympathize with Pecola because of the many harsh circumstances she has had to go through in her lifetime. Perhaps her rape was the most tragic and dramatic experience Pecola had experiences, but nonetheless she continued her life....   [tags: Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye]

Research Papers
1195 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In the novel, The Bluest Eye, the author, Toni Morrison, tells the tragic story of Pecola Breedlove. Pecola longs for acceptance from the world. She is an innocent little girl, however, she is rejected practically by the whole world, and her own parents. Pecola endures physical and verbal abuse at home, and also at school. She is always the main character in the jokes that usually refer to her very dark skin. Her mother cherishes the white daughter of the family she works for and calls her own daughter a "rotten piece of apple....   [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]

Research Papers
480 words (1.4 pages)

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye provides social commentary on a lesser known portion of black society in America. The protagonist Pecola is a young black girl who desperately wants to feel beautiful and gain the “bluest eyes” as the title references. The book seeks to define beauty and love in this twisted perverse society, dragging the reader through Morrison’s emotional manipulations. Her father Cholly Breedlove steals the reader’s emotional attention from Pecola as he enters the story....   [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]

Research Papers
2708 words (7.7 pages)

Essay on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye One of the most prominent themes found in Toni Morrison’s acutely tragic novel The Bluest Eye is the transferal or redirection of emotions in an effort on the part of the characters to make pain bearable. The most obvious manifestation of that is the existence of race hatred for one’s own race that pervades the story; nearly every character that the narrator spends time with feels at some point a self-loathing as a result of the racism present in 1941 American society....   [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]

Research Papers
1449 words (4.1 pages)

Cinema in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

- Cinema in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, characters learn how to perform social roles though film. Pauline goes to the movies in search of a more glamorous identity. Instead, the unattainable beauty she sees onscreen reaffirms her low place in society. Laura Mulvey’s article, Visual and Other Pleasures, explains film’s ability to indoctrinate patriarchal social order. This ability is certainly applicable to Morrison’s novel. Film reinforces the Breedloves’ place in society, teaches Claudia to love Shirley Temple and constructs women as sexual objects for pleasure....   [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]

Research Papers
1582 words (4.5 pages)

Evil of Fulfillment in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

- Evil of Fulfillment The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, tells the sordid story of Pecola, a young colored girl, as she struggles to attain beauty, desperately praying for blue eyes. Depicting the fallacies in the storybook family, Morrison weaves the histories of the many colored town folk into the true definition of a family. Through intense metaphor and emotion, the ugliness of racial tension overcomes the search for beauty and in turn the search for love. Pecola, a twelve year old from a broken home, is first introduced when she is sent to live with Claudia (the narrator) and her family....   [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]

Free Essays
653 words (1.9 pages)

Narrative Voice in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

-  The narration of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is actually a compilation of many different voices. The novel shifts between Claudia MacTeer's first person narrative and an omniscient narrator. At the end of the novel, the omniscient voice and Claudia's narrative merge, and the reader realizes this is an older Claudia looking back on her childhood (Peach 25). Morrison uses multiple narrators in order to gain greater validity for her story. According to Philip Page, even though the voices are divided, they combine to make a whole, and "this broader perspective also encompasses past and present......   [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]

Research Papers
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Social Issues in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

- The Bluest Eye Social Issues With The Bluest Eye, Morrison has not only created a story, but also a series of painfully accurate impressions. As Dee puts it "to read the to ache for remedy" (20). But Morrison raises painful issues while at the same time managing to reveal the hope and encouragement beneath the surface. A reader might easily conclude that the most prominent social issue presented in The Bluest Eye is that of racism, but more important issues lie beneath the surface....   [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]

Free Essays
562 words (1.6 pages)

Related Searches

Pecola longs for blue eyes, she thinks, ".if those eyes of her were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different "(46). Pecola has fallen into a misconception that blue eyes can make someone beautiful and be liked more. She is constantly praying to be endowed blue eyes. We can relate to the feelings that Pecola is encountered today by looking at all the icons of beauty. Celebrities push the general public to get surgeries, loose weight and other trends so that they can achieve that picture of perfection planted into heads. The media has long built a misconception of beauty, which in the end emotionally rips apart victims like Pecola that do not fall into that image.
No one is truly ugly, we all posses a beauty whether it be virtual or visual. In the book we learn that the Breedloves were not ugly, "they believed that they were ugly" (38). Their belief that they were ugly made them ugly. Sometimes when one is attached to an idea after awhile that idea becomes a reality even if it is not true, that is what occurred to the Breedloves. The Breedloves were at the bottom of the social ladder. With them being at the bottom it was a simple task for others to boost up their self-esteem by comparing themselves to the Breedloves. The way they portrayed themselves as ugly was painted by the fabricated idea that they were ugly, and the people surrounding them enforcing the idea. We learn how Mrs. Breedlove acquires this ugliness when she is at the movies and she looses a tooth, from that moment on her whole life turns upside down and she no longer tries to exhibit her beauty but rather let it go. Cholly Breedlove on the other hand, acquires his ugliness through the humiliations he has undergone; starting with the one when he was young and was caught having sexual relations by two white men and they insisted he continue while they watched. The beauty of his character was then stolen and he started to fall into the ugliness he had earned by his actions. Those being: beating Mrs. Breedlove and raping Pecola. At the end of the book Claudia says, "All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us" (205). This quote is talking about how Pecola was beautiful, but her beauty was stolen from her as others looked down upon her to only selfishly bring themselves up. Unfound or beauty that is covered up can be harmful until it is discovered.
Humans are harmful creatures and when they repeatedly push an idea into someone's head it begins to form a scar. Pecola is a victim of human cruelty. Pecola and her family are the towns image of ugly. She in particular is constantly reminded of her ugliness. For example: the instance after school, when the boys were making fun of her. We learn that the boys made fun of her to make up for their own blackness (65). Also, this label stamps her once again when Geraldine calls her a "nasty black bitch" (93). Pecola is an easy target to aim to make up for one's own flaws. Living in a world where all she hears is the same opinion over and over that she is ugly, eventually collapses Pecola. Pecola collapses at the end after she becomes pregnant by her father. Her being pregnant only makes her uglier in the eyes of the people. This causes Pecola to become crazy. She becomes delusional, she starts to believe that she does have blue eyes and talks to herself. The opinions of those who surround you can build a harmful opinion of yourself even if it is not true.
The lack of beauty that Pecola held destroyed her that force led her to being mentally ill, the media was an element that played part in her downfall, her beauty was buried beneath the scars people had brought to her. Beauty is something we all want, but when it is not visible to the eye it can have damaging effects. Beauty is a destructive force that brings pain to those who do not hold it.

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Penguin Group, 1994.
Return to