By constructing the chain of events that answer the question of how Pecola Breedlove is caste as a pariah in her community, Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye attempts to satisfy the more difficult question of why. Although, unspoken, this question obsessively hovers over Pecola throughout the novel and in her circular narrative style Morrison weaves a story that seeks to answer this question by gathering all of the forces that were instrumental in the creation of a social mishap. By using what seem like tangents in the story, we are shown examples of how forces beyond human control such as nature, an omniscient being and primarily a legacy of rejection have come together to establish the heritage of desolation that has been passed on to Pecola Breedlove.
A pattern of precedence is pieced together in the story, showing the seeds of Pecola's present barrenness to have been planted in the lives of preceding generations. By profiling the lives of Soaphead Church and Pauline Breedlove, Morrison makes a case for the validity of generational curses. Their narratives are appropriately placed in the Spring division of the novel as an indication of the characters sowing the seeds that will be reaped by Pecola. Seemingly, as an example of the ways in which the transgressions of the fathers revisit the sons, the narrator gives an extensive account of Soaphead Church's family history, constantly citing instances in which traits of the fathers (or effects of their traits) followed the sons for generations. Of his family the author says, "They transferred this Anglophilia to their six children and sixteen grandchildren" and the family is described as one entity, the accomplishments and ...
... middle of paper ...
...g the Girl's Own Story." The Girl: Construction of the Girl in Contemporary Fiction by Women. Ed. Ruth Saxton. New York: St. Martin's P, 1998. 21-42.
Kubitschek, Missy Dehn. Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion. London: Greenwood, 1998.
Kuenz, Jane. "The Bluest Eye: Notes on History, Community, and Black Female Subjectivity." AfricanAmerican Review 27.3 (1993): 421-31.
Middleton, David. Toni Morrison: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1987.
Middleton, David. Toni Morrison's Fiction: Contemporary Criticism. New York: Garland, 1997.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1993.
Peterson, Nancy J. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
Pettis, Joyce. "Difficult Survival: Mothers and Daughters in The Bluest Eye." SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women 4 (1987): 26-29.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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)
- 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)
- The Bluest Eye: Conformity The basic theme of the novel, The Bluest Eye revolves around African Americans' conformity to white standards. Although beauty is the larger theme of the novel, Morrison scrutinizes the dominant white culture's influence on class levels. Morrison sets the foundation of the novel on issues of beauty in an attempt to make African Americans aware that they do not have to conform to white standards on any level. Morrison's main character, Pecola Breedlove, unquestioningly accepts the ideology that white features correlate with beauty.... [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]
893 words (2.6 pages)
- At a time when blue-eyed, pale skin Shirley Temple is idolized by white and black alike, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove desperately seeks out beauty for herself. In order to attain beauty in her culture, Pecola must do the impossible: find white beauty. Toni Morrison shows the disastrous effects that colorism and racism can have on a whole culture and how African- Americans will tear each other apart in order to fit into the graces of white society. The desire to be considered beautiful in the white world is so compelling, that the characters in The Bluest Eye loathe their own skin color and feel shame for their culture.... [tags: Essays on The Bluest Eye 2014]
2420 words (6.9 pages)
- I believe that The Bluest Eye is a very good piece of literature, but it should not be considered a “Great American Novel”. I do believe that the novel is eye-opening to the horrors of being an African-American child during the 1940’s, but that these awful situations are not enough to make it a “Great American Novel”. This novel is supposed to become reality for the reader, which is successfully done, except when there are coincidences that occur seemingly to drive whatever plots, if any, that the novel contains.... [tags: african american, pecola, boring]
787 words (2.2 pages)
- A social issue Toni Morrison emphasizes in the bluest eye that majority of people believe whiteness as the symbol of beauty and disdain those who are different. Sometimes people do discrimination without realizing that and hurt others’ feelings. Morrison shows this by telling how light skin people feel that they are superior to those of darker skins even in the same race. First, Morrison uses the symbol of white doll, white God, and white movie actresses to reveal that whiteness is the symbol of beauty.... [tags: Black people, Race, Human skin color, White people]
1861 words (5.3 pages)
- The Story of Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison The story of Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is very dramatic. Like a seed planted in bad soil and in a hostile condition, Pecola, a very young and innocent African American girl, does not have a chance to grow up normally like her peers. Her parents' personal history is shown to have played out in extreme measures in her life. Her father, abandoned since childhood, does not have a sense of fatherhood. Her mother is a product of hatred and ignorance.... [tags: Papers]
949 words (2.7 pages)
- The Uses of God and the Church in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Morrison places a responsibility for the social dilemma; tragic condition of blacks in a racist America so prominent in the 1940s, on an indefinite God and/or the church. This omniscient being, the creator of all things, both noble and corrupt, and his messengers seem to have in a sense sanctioned the ill fated in order to validate the hatred and scorn of the "righteous." In her introduction of the Breedlove family, Morrison holds accountable the Breedlove's acceptance of ugliness to a higher power saying, "It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear" (Morrison, 39).... [tags: Papers]
650 words (1.9 pages)
- THE BLUEST EYE The Bluest Eye is a complex book. Substance wise it is a disturbing yet relatively easy read, but Toni Morrison plays with the narrative structure in a way so that complexity is added to the hidden depth of the text. From the beginning to the end of the book, the author takes the reader through a series of point of views that take turns in narrating the story. But by the end of the book, the author leaves the reader unclear on who the actual main character of the book is. Pecola Breedlove, although never the narrator, seems to be the constant victim and equally the main character of the story.... [tags: essays research papers]
877 words (2.5 pages)
- Toni Morrison, the author of The Bluest Eye, centers her novel around two things: beauty and wealth in their relation to race and a brutal rape of a young girl by her father. Morrison explores and exposes these themes in relation to the underlying factors of black society: racism and sexism. Every character has a problem to deal with and it involves racism and/or sexism. Whether the characters are the victim or the aggressor, they can do nothing about their problem or condition, especially when concerning gender and race.... [tags: American Literature Toni Morrison]
1790 words (5.1 pages)