One of the most prominent themes found in Toni Morrison’s acutely tragic novel The Bluest Eye is the transferal or redirection of emotions in an effort on the part of the characters to make pain bearable. The most obvious manifestation of that is the existence of race hatred for one’s own race that pervades the story; nearly every character that the narrator spends time with feels at some point a self-loathing as a result of the racism present in 1941 American society. The characters, particularly the adults, have become bitter and hate themselves because of the powerlessness they feel in the situation. They transfer the anger and hatred onto themselves, or at times the others around them, because they must let their emotions out in some way in order to make the pain manageable. Morrison conveys this message even more profoundly with smaller, isolated incidents that illustrate how people redirect and transfer their emotions, and one of the most beautiful and memorable of theses moments is the scene in which Pecola buys candy at a food store.
The scene opens with Pecola walking down the street observing familiar inanimate objects, notably the sidewalk and dandelions growing at the bottom of a telephone pole. She wonders why adults dislike dandelions and “call them weeds” when she views them simply as flowers that are pretty (pg 47). Here Morrison is obviously drawing a parallel between the arbitrary label of an “ugly weed” versus a “flower” and the irrationality of racism. The aversion to dandelions is a social construction in the same way that racial differences are. This analogy also echoes the references to the ugliness of black people as opposed to whites that appear in so many plac...
... middle of paper ...
... Toni Morrison uses the dandelion scene to show an emotional transformation process that both reflects the larger themes of the book and mimics on a miniature level the outcome of the story. The themes of the waning innocence of the children’s perception of their race, the irrationality of racial beauty or ugliness, and the use of anger as a defensive tool are all chronicled in Pecola’s relationship with the dandelions and her shifting emotional channels. The parallel with the ending of the book when Pecola goes mad from a lack of an effective emotional outlet for her strife provides the opportunity both for foreshadowing the outcome and for reinforcing the power of the previously stated themes. This scene is one of the most powerful of The Bluest Eye, and Toni Morrison is successful in using it as an embodiment of both the plot and the moral messages of the novel.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Beauty is dangerous, especially when you lack it. In the book "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, we witness the effects that beauty brings. Specifically the collapse of Pecola Breedlove, due to her belief that she did not hold beauty. The media in the 1940's as well as today imposes standards in which beauty is measured up to; but in reality beauty dwells within us all whether it's visible or not there's beauty in all; that beauty is unworthy if society brands you with the label of being ugly.... [tags: Bluest Eye Toni Morrison]
1122 words (3.2 pages)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In the novel, The Bluest Eye, the author, Toni Morrison, tells the tragic story of Pecola Breedlove. Pecola longs for acceptance from the world. She is an innocent little girl, however, she is rejected practically by the whole world, and her own parents. Pecola endures physical and verbal abuse at home, and also at school. She is always the main character in the jokes that usually refer to her very dark skin. Her mother cherishes the white daughter of the family she works for and calls her own daughter a "rotten piece of apple.... [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]
480 words (1.4 pages)
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison "And Pecola. She hid behind hers. (Ugliness) Concealed, veiled, eclipsed--peeping out from behind the shroud very seldom, and then only to yearn for the return of her mask" (Morrison 39). In the novel The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, the main character, Pecola, comes to see herself as ugly. This idea she creates results from her isolation from friends, the community, and ever her family. There are three stages that lead up to Pecola portraying herself as an ugly human being.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Analysis]
952 words (2.7 pages)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye provides social commentary on a lesser known portion of black society in America. The protagonist Pecola is a young black girl who desperately wants to feel beautiful and gain the “bluest eyes” as the title references. The book seeks to define beauty and love in this twisted perverse society, dragging the reader through Morrison’s emotional manipulations. Her father Cholly Breedlove steals the reader’s emotional attention from Pecola as he enters the story.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
2708 words (7.7 pages)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye One of the most prominent themes found in Toni Morrison’s acutely tragic novel The Bluest Eye is the transferal or redirection of emotions in an effort on the part of the characters to make pain bearable. The most obvious manifestation of that is the existence of race hatred for one’s own race that pervades the story; nearly every character that the narrator spends time with feels at some point a self-loathing as a result of the racism present in 1941 American society.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
1449 words (4.1 pages)
- The Bluest Eye There are many themes that seem to run throughout this story. Each theme and conflict seems to always involve the character of Pecola Breedlove. There is the theme of finding an identity. There is also the theme of Pecola as a victim. Of all the characters in the story we can definitely sympathize with Pecola because of the many harsh circumstances she has had to go through in her lifetime. Perhaps her rape was the most tragic and dramatic experience Pecola had experiences, but nonetheless she continued her life.... [tags: Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye]
1195 words (3.4 pages)
- Cinema in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, characters learn how to perform social roles though film. Pauline goes to the movies in search of a more glamorous identity. Instead, the unattainable beauty she sees onscreen reaffirms her low place in society. Laura Mulvey’s article, Visual and Other Pleasures, explains film’s ability to indoctrinate patriarchal social order. This ability is certainly applicable to Morrison’s novel. Film reinforces the Breedloves’ place in society, teaches Claudia to love Shirley Temple and constructs women as sexual objects for pleasure.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
1582 words (4.5 pages)
- Evil of Fulfillment The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, tells the sordid story of Pecola, a young colored girl, as she struggles to attain beauty, desperately praying for blue eyes. Depicting the fallacies in the storybook family, Morrison weaves the histories of the many colored town folk into the true definition of a family. Through intense metaphor and emotion, the ugliness of racial tension overcomes the search for beauty and in turn the search for love. Pecola, a twelve year old from a broken home, is first introduced when she is sent to live with Claudia (the narrator) and her family.... [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]
653 words (1.9 pages)
- The narration of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is actually a compilation of many different voices. The novel shifts between Claudia MacTeer's first person narrative and an omniscient narrator. At the end of the novel, the omniscient voice and Claudia's narrative merge, and the reader realizes this is an older Claudia looking back on her childhood (Peach 25). Morrison uses multiple narrators in order to gain greater validity for her story. According to Philip Page, even though the voices are divided, they combine to make a whole, and "this broader perspective also encompasses past and present...... [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]
1114 words (3.2 pages)
- The Bluest Eye Social Issues With The Bluest Eye, Morrison has not only created a story, but also a series of painfully accurate impressions. As Dee puts it "to read the book...is to ache for remedy" (20). But Morrison raises painful issues while at the same time managing to reveal the hope and encouragement beneath the surface. A reader might easily conclude that the most prominent social issue presented in The Bluest Eye is that of racism, but more important issues lie beneath the surface.... [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]
562 words (1.6 pages)
- William Shakespeare's King Lear
- Comparing Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
- Elizabeth Curren in J. M. Coetzee's Age of Iron
- Franco Zefferelli's film Hamlet
- Symbolism and Style in Yeats' Byzantium and Joyce's The Dead
- The Brilliant Comedy of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night