Analysis Of Cholty In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

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Throughout her novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison asserts the convoluted association between blackness, masculinity, and corporeality through the complicated character of Cholly Breedlove. Under the white gaze, Cholly is a victim to his identity as a black man because the trauma provoked by his lack of agency, particularly over his own body, prevents him from fulfilling the expectations society has of him as as a male, husband, and father. Cholly’s inability to achieve these societal expectations severely contaminates his masculinity and creates a self-abhorrence in his black manhood. Illustrated when he is sexually violated by the two white men and rejected by his own father, Cholly’s inadequate control over his body reinforces his inferiority,…show more content…
Shortly following the flashlight scene, Cholly flees to Macon, Georgia in search of his father, whom he believed would be sympathetic of his “wildly irrational” (151) fear that Darlene might be pregnant. In this, Cholly’s naïve confidence for his father’s welcoming nature and attempt to escape responsibility demonstrates his child-like immaturity. The disheartening reality of Cholly’s enraged, drunk, and gambling father cause Cholly to brutally abandon his optimism for a superior black role model and foreshadows his own catastrophic future. When Samson ruthlessly rejects Cholly, exclaiming, “get the fuck outta my face,” (156) Cholly attempts to preserve his manhood by restraining himself from crying; however, while “focusing every energy on his eyes, [Cholly’s] bowels suddenly opened up” (157). Cholly’s mortifying defecation illustrates his literal inability to exercise authority over his body and constrains him to a metaphoric state of infantilization. This is further portrayed when the narrator describes him to be laying in a “fetal position, paralyzed, his fists covering his eyes,” (158) an image that mirrors the image of a crying baby. Cholly’s forceful return to a childlike state, despite his blatant efforts to uphold his masculinity, reinforces his position of inevitable…show more content…
Because it comes at the cost of other characters, Cholly’s “dangerous freedom,” (160) though acquitting him from societal rules, expectations, and ethics, strips him of all morality and emphasizes his beastly qualities. Like an animal, Cholly is only interested in satisfying his own needs and desires and is willing to do whatever is necessary to fulfill these corporeal voids. His mere interest in “his own perceptions and appetites” (160) prevents him from empathizing with other characters and reinforces his enslavement to his lustful desires. As a result, Cholly’s animalization allows him to be capable of horrifically raping his own daughter. This is illustrated when Cholly is overcome by a repulsive remembrance of Pauline from “the first time he saw her in Kentucky,” (162) when he sees Pecola “[shift] her weight and [stand] on one foot scratching the back of her calf with her toe” (162). The irony in Cholly’s admission that “he wanted to fuck [Pecola]- tenderly”(163)— in which the narrator employs an unexpected combination of “fuck,” an action that is often associated with a lack of connection or intimacy, and “tenderly,” an adverb that can be used interchangeably with “softly” and “lovingly”— resembles his inability to repress his savage-like desires while revealing

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