The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

1650 Words7 Pages
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young girl living in Lorain, Ohio, who has to face harsh conditions from a young age. Pecola’s family has a reputation of “ugliness”, a reputation that their town despises them for. Pecola herself believes the allegations that she is ugly to be true, not only because of the constant abuse that she witnesses in her own family, but also because she has been told that she is ugly her entire life by everyone around her, including adults. The novel explores the standards that Pecola is held to, as well as her reactions to not meeting these standards. Some of the alleged qualities of her “ugliness” are her race, her family’s income, her father’s sleeping habits, and her eye color. With these criticisms as impetus, Pecola strives for beauty, and tries to fix the material problems in her life. Pecola, however, is not alone; other characters in the book are strongly affected by physical goods and propagandistic advertisement as well. In The Bluest Eyecultural standards are imposed upon the characters by their consumer goods. The narrator, Claudia, realizes from an early age that conformity is rewarded when she receives a doll for Christmas. She does not find the prospect of dolls amusing, because she has no interest in fake, or real, motherhood. Claudia desires to understand why everyone loves the doll, so she dismembers it. She observes that, “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 treasured”(20). She discovers nothing as she dismembers the doll, except for her mother’s reaction. Most adults see this act of curiosity as a sign that Claudia is not ... ... middle of paper ... ...isement, people will compare themselves to the unrealistic body types and hate themselves because they don’t have them. Many Parents fear that their children will develop eating disorders because of the portrayal of skinny people in advertisement. According to CNN, eighty percent of all ten year olds are afraid of being fat, and forty-two percent of first to third grade girls want to be thinner . Though beauty has changed since the time that the book is set in, its message about the dangers of insecurity still resonate to this day, as beauty is a standard which is constantly changing. Society expects people to live up to this unattainable standard, and causes them to feel bad when they don’t. By calling out the dangers of insecurity, Morrison brings attention to self-hatred invoked by an ideal image, and inspires readers to fight the unrealistic archetype of beauty.

More about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Open Document