The concept of physical beauty and desire to conform to a prescribed definition of what is considered beautiful can destroy a person's life. In Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye, many characters are obsessed with attaining the idealist definition of what is considered beautiful. The characters of Geraldine, Pauline, and Pecola all believe that physical perfection leads to acceptance; however, it is the same belief that causes their personal downfalls and prevents them from recognizing their own inner beauty.
Geraldine's anxieties over wanting to comply with what others think is beautiful, damage her existence. For example, the character of Geraldine is so consumed with physical perfection that she prevents herself from accepting her black heritage. When the author illustrates how woman like Geraldine act, she asserts, "They hold their behind in for fear of sway too free; when they wear lipstick they never cover the entire mouth for fear of lips to thick, and they worry, worry, worry about the edges of their hair" (Morrison 83). Geraldine is so ashamed of her black characteristics that she tries to hide them. She thinks black people are ugly, and she wants to appear white because she equates having lighter skin with being a better person. Geraldine thinks she will be discriminated for being black, therefore, she refuses to accept and own any physical features of her culture. In addition, when the author illustrates how Geraldine is more concerned with her baby's physical appearance than with his emotional needs, she writes, "He was always brushed, bathed, oiled, and shod. Geraldine did not talk to him,coo to him, or indulge him in kissing bouts, but she saw that every o...
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...ining an ideal appearance in order to accommodate what others view as beautiful can ruin one's existence. The characters of Geraldine, Pauline, and Pecola all erroneously believe that obtaining a certain look will enhance their lives. However, as a result of their search for a perfect outward image they are never able to value their inner selves.
Bayles, Martha. "Special Effects, Special Pleading." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Michigan: Gale Research Inc., 194-213.
Davis, Cynthia. "Self, Society, and Myth in Toni Morrison's Fiction." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Draper, James P., ed. Michigan: Gale Research Inc., 1994. 215-273.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York, New York: Plume, 1994.
Steiner, Wendy. "The Clearest Eye." Contemporary Authors. Trosky, Susan, M., ed. Michigan: Gale Research Inc., 1994. 239.
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