Morrison's Sexual Depictions Essay

Morrison's Sexual Depictions Essay

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Morrison's Sexual Depictions


Toni Morrison incorporated vulgar sexual depictions into her novel with distinct literary intentions. Although many challengers of the novel contest that these scenes contain no value, Morrison composed these depictions with specific intent and purpose. It was not for shock value or merely to be obscene, but to illustrate to her audience the damaging effect society can have on its most vulnerable members. She spoke through the silence to lobby the destruction of an innocent black girl and became the voice for suffering individuals who did not have the ability to speak. She successfully reveals that societal abuse of the African American race as a whole has grave effects on the development of specific individuals. Describing Pecola’s sexual experiences so graphically, and with such brash severity, was meant to impact the reader into inciting societal reform. Her social commentary was not intended to drive simply sympathy for the oppressed children she described, but change. In her novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison demonstrated the repercussions of rejecting a population of people through explicit descriptions of sexual abuse.

The cycle of oppression that is illustrated throughout the novel is a prominent cause and result of sexual abuse. Various characters were born in purity and innocence but were degraded by societal treatment. This concept outlines Cholly’s experience in particular. As a child, he was unable to combat or resist oppression. The only reaction he could marshal to injustice was silence, depression and self contained rage. Because he developed under such damaging conditions, he was ultimately unable to love, express compassion or have virtue. Instead, he was only capab...


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...female children was an outcome of societal abuse on African American males. By incorporating such sexually graphic depictions, Morrison leaves a lasting impression with her reader and more effectively conveys her message in order to incite reform.

Works Cited

Lazarescu, Lisa. “Themes of The Bluest Eye.” April 3, 2005. Eastern Oregon University. http://web.cocc.edu/lisal/thebluesteye/themes.htm. 2003.

Mayo, James. "Morrison's The Bluest Eye." Explicator 60.4 (2002): 231-235. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Central Oregon Community College Lib., Bend, OR. 12 May 2003

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York, NY: Plume-Penguin Group, 1994.

Napieralski, Edmund A. "Morrison's The Bluest Eye." Explicator 53.1 (1994): 59-63. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Central Oregon Community College Lib., Bend, OR. 12 May 2003

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