Topic: Discuss the issues of self-hatred and the aesthetics of beauty in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. What role do they play in the novel and how do they relate to its theme?
Self-hatred leads to self-destruction…
Self-hatred is something that can thoroughly destroy an individual. As it was fictitiously evidenced in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, it can lead an individual to insanity. Toni Morrison raises the idea that racism and class can detrimentally influence people’s outlook on themselves.
It is unfortunate that we live in a society that places such a great emphasis and consideration towards the aesthetics of beauty. What is more unfortunate is that beauty itself is not defined by any realistic qualities or pragmatics. Rather it is defined by society and what the particular or dominant class in society feels beauty is. In today’s society in order for a woman to be looked at as beautiful she must posses a combination of qualities, such as, a slim body, straight hair, fair skinned, full lips, straight sort of raised nose and so on. In the society that the Breedloves lived in, beauty had a lot to do with racism and the dominant class that influenced it. To be a woman of beauty in that society you had to be blond hair, blue eyed and fair skinned. If you couldn’t exactly look like that the closer you came to it the better you were viewed. You also had to behave in a certain manner i.e. well groomed, soft spoken, and have high morals. In other words you had to look like a stereo typical European and for colored women loose all the funky things that made them who they were: “The careful development of thrift, patience, high ...
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... improve their race: “From the outset, Morrison is interested in having the characters achieve a more authentic existence than those who submit to conventional standards, one that emerges from their personal efforts to realize their responsibility to become fulfilled individuals.”
She wanted them to see themselves through their own eyes, not the eyes of another race. If they can only accept who they were, they would become happier and more prosperous as individuals and lead to improvement of the entire race. The goal is for them realize their own beauty and self worth before it leads to destruction.
Mbalia, Doreatha Drummond, Toni Morrison’s Developing Class Consciousness, (Associated University Presses, Inc. 1991) P. 31.
Samuels, Wilfred D. and Hudson-Weems, Clenora, Toni Morrison, (Twayne Publishers, Boston) P. 10.
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