Since childhood, we all have been taught that “racism is bad” and should be avoided at all costs. We have been told that “everyone is a child of God and we are all created equal.” In fact, Americans are praised for the so-called equality they possess. However, renowned author Toni Morrison sheds light on the sheltered and unspoken truth that everyone—to some extent—is racist. “Home” is a reflective essay in which Morrison explains that her triumphs against racist ideologies are evident throughout her various novels (“Home” 3). In Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, instead of establishing a home where race does not matter—a home which she dreams of in her essay—she creates just the opposite (3). In this novel, by using direct characterizations, symbolic imagery, and racial tensions in a black society, Morrison unlocks the door to the secrecy of the inevitable racisms in American culture.
Knowledge of American history is an important factor in understanding The Bluest Eye. The novel was written during the 60s and 70s, but is set during the 40s. Despite the setting, her novel reflects the happenings of the late 60s and early 70s in which African American culture was becoming well defined and recognized as a part of the once dominantly white American culture. However, racism was and still is quite common in American society and in fact, racism was taking new forms in 1940s America. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison took a different approach to the traditional white-versus-black racism. She acknowledged that most people are unaware of the racism that exists within a culture and often the racism that exists within themselves.
Morrison’s essay describes a world free of racial hierarchy as “dreamscape” and unrealistic (“Home” 3). Inste...
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...3). To further her explanation, Morrison produces symbols that are easily identifiable and understood (an ugly flower versus a conventionally beautiful one, a perfect doll, and a constantly-preening cat). Combining characters and symbolism creates a racial tension unlike any other—one that exists not only in humans, but in our actual environment. Racism affects and dwells within each and every one of us—it is part of everyday life whether we recognize it or not. Judgments, fear, questions, and hate are all part of human nature and in Toni Morrison’s first novel The Bluest Eye, such knowledge is printed in plain black and white.
Morrison, Toni. “Home.” The House That Race Built. Ed. Wahneema Lubiano. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997. 3-12.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume, 1970.
“Psychosis.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. New ed. 2004.
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- Since childhood, we all have been taught that “racism is bad” and should be avoided at all costs. We have been told that “everyone is a child of God and we are all created equal.” In fact, Americans are praised for the so-called equality they possess. However, renowned author Toni Morrison sheds light on the sheltered and unspoken truth that everyone—to some extent—is racist. “Home” is a reflective essay in which Morrison explains that her triumphs against racist ideologies are evident throughout her various novels (“Home” 3).... [tags: Essays on The Bluest Eye 2014]
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