Metamorphosis in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

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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. Morrison uses a shifting narrative perspective to show that the abilities to understand and reflect are what separate the educated woman from the innocent girl. Morrison shows that a proper transition leads to a nurturing, independent, community driven woman, whereas obstructions in the transition will lead to unloving adults. The Bluest Eye focuses on images of the ideal child and the ideal woman by creating a contrast with characters that lack these qualities.

Early in the novel, Morrison primes the audience with how an ideal family should operate. She gives the audience a subtle taste of what the ideal girl should be. Jane, the subject of the excerpt, shows qualities of curiosity, friendliness, and happiness. By introducing Frieda, Pecola, Claudia, Rosemary, and Maureen Peal to the reader, Morrison adds vulnerability, confusion, and a worry-free attitude to the qualities of being a girl.

The Dick and Jane excerpt sets an early tone that girls can be care free. The imagery points out that Jane is wearing a red dress, she is always looking forward to playing, and even has a companion in the dog. The scene is lively and rich with assumptions to which the perfect girl would be...

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...ted to the cycle that keeps many families out of the safeness of a community.

The Bluest Eye focuses on the difficulties of transitioning from child to woman. Morrison says that the ideal child is worry-free, vulnerable, and curious by introducing characters like Pecola, Claudia, and Jane. She contrasts the girls by giving adult qualities of maturity, the ability to nurture, independence, and community bonding. In the form of rape or a lack of interest from mother figures, the feeling of being unloved is detrimental to girls in their transition. In order to make the transition a woman needs to find herself through community and family. Morrison reminds us that in reality the vital transition from childhood to adulthood is filled with barriers that many fail to overcome.

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Vintage, 2007. Print.

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