Toni Morrison introduces readers to a concept called a “master narrative” in her novel “The Bluest Eye.” She is critical of these world views, but not blatant. She presents this master narrative in a way that makes the reader feel the effects of it, not just see them plainly in black and white. Morrison criticizes two main views. The first is that being white automatically gives a person superiority. The second is that ugliness is equivalent to worthlessness, and specifically, that blackness constitutes ugliness. Morrison captures the reader’s attention with her excellent stylistic choices and forces the reader to see the danger of accepting everything the world tells you at face value.
To begin, Morrison uses her novel to challenge the master narrative that claims that whiteness is synonymous with superiority, especially over African Americans. Even black characters in the novel tease Pecola for being black. Morrison claims that “it was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult [regarding blackness] its teeth (Morrison, pg. 65).” This supports the idea that even though no one says it, even the school age children know that being black is undesirable. Similar racism incidents occur, but no characters blatantly state that “white is superior.” It is an unspoken rule that everyone should want to be white. In the novel, white baby dolls are seen as the ideal Christmas gifts, even to young African American girls (Morrison, pg. 20) Morrison illustrates how incredibly damaging this white superiority is to a child. Pecola’s mother watches over a little white girl and constantly coos, coddles and shows affection towards her, while she yells at her own daughter. Even when ...
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...ed as ugly by the world’s standards? Is being black a concrete reason to be considered ugly? Morrison eloquently causes the reader to grab the master narrative, look it in the eye, and decide whether or not he or she buys into it.
Morrison did an excellent job presenting the master narratives, showing the reader the negative effects and problems with them. It would be less effective to simply present the narratives and tell readers all the horrible things they caused. In a successful effort to be more effective, Morrison shows the reader what can happen when he or she buys into the narrative. The reader must then answer the question: will I believe that black equals ugliness and ugliness equals worthlessness? Will I believe that white is superior to black? Will I choose to love the Pecola’s of the world, or will I actively allow the master narrative rule their life?
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