The Uses of God and the Church in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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The Uses of God and the Church in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Morrison places a responsibility for the social dilemma; tragic condition of blacks in a racist America so prominent in the 1940s, on an indefinite God and/or the church. This omniscient being, the creator of all things, both noble and corrupt, and his messengers seem to have in a sense sanctioned the ill fated in order to validate the hatred and scorn of the "righteous." In her introduction of the Breedlove family, Morrison holds accountable the Breedlove's acceptance of ugliness to a higher power saying, "It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear" (Morrison, 39). This divine being not only created ugliness for them but it also ambiguously created an environment that rejected and scorned this ugliness. In her youth Pauline struggles with the same type of uncertainty and contradiction in trying to "hold her mind on the wages of sin," while "her body trembled for redemption, salvation and a mysterious rebirth that would simply happen, with no effort on her part" (Morrison, 113).

Ironically, at the end of the novel it is Soaphead Church, an individual well acquainted with theology, who alone speculates an answer to Claudia's initial question of "why. Soaphead Church, or more formally, Elihue Micah Whitcomb, inherited "the fine art of self-deception" from his ancestor's tendencies to credit lies to their ethnicity and superiority. . Of his family the author says, "They transferred this Anglophilia to their six children and sixteen grandchildren," and the family is described as one entity; the accomplishments and convictions of the sons are the same as the fathers. Soaphead inherited his persuasive...

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...hame, loneliness, and inadequacy. More significantly, just as in the Soaphead's family, the Breedloves as a whole are at one point said to be one distressing unit. They are unified in their acceptance of the shroud of unexplained ugliness, shame, and social dysfunctionality.

However, Morrison doesn't place the blame on Pauline, neither does she blame it on racism, rudeness nor ignorance. In The Bluest Eye she depicts Pecola as a victim of an evil that has roots deeper than human conviction and can't be understood in such terms. This vicious cycle of rejection, this embodiment of supernatural forces of the creator, creation, and the created combined to produce the evil that left Pecola Breedlove barren and unable to know how or why.


Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1993.
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