Race And Beauty in Toni Morrison's Novel The Bluest Eye Essay examples

Race And Beauty in Toni Morrison's Novel The Bluest Eye Essay examples

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Throughout Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye, she captures, with vivid insight, the plight of a young African American girl and what she would be subjected to in a media contrived society that places its ideal of beauty on the e quintessential blue-eyed, blonde woman. The idea of what is beautiful has been stereotyped in the mass media since the beginning and creates a mental and emotional damage to self and soul. This oppression to the soul creates a socio-economic displacement causing a cycle of dysfunction and abuses. Morrison takes us through the agonizing story of just such a young girl, Pecola Breedlove, and her aching desire to have what is considered beautiful - blue eyes. Racial stereotypes of beauty contrived and nourished by the mass media contribute to the status at which young African American girls find themselves early on and throughout their lives.
     While the ideal of beauty is mass marketed the damage it does to society is devastating. By idealizing and pronouncing only one absolute standard of the "blonde and blue-eyed" as beautiful and good, it fosters the opposite and negative belief that young black girls would be defined as the opposite. For a young girl internalizing this it would be defined as the opposite. For a young girl internalizing this it would certainly develop a negative sense of self and worth. With black skin and brown eyes the young girl would find herself in a world where she could never find acceptance as someone physically beautiful and special. This stigma produces a feeling of absolute subservience and lesser purpose and worth creating a mindset of needlessness. A young African American girl would begin to feel invisible in these isolating conditions and create a world where esteem was non-existent. As noted by Gurleen Grewal:
As Pecola demonstrates, this socially mandated charade of being something she is not (middle-class white girl) and of not being something one is (working-class black girl) makes one invisible, while the split mentality it entails approaches insanity (26).
This belief that one is not worthy of a stereotype is completely devastating to the soul and eventual quality of life.
     The creation and belief in the mind of such a negative self-concept would produce a shame and anger oppressing the spirit of its true purpose by yieldi...

... middle of paper ...

...era of an absent Shirley Temple contribute to Pecola's loss of insanity…" (22). The constant feeding of the media-contrived standard of beauty contributes heavily to the feelings of self a young black girl feels in society and these racial stereotypes nourished by the mass media creates a status at which young African American girls find themselves early on and throughout their lives.

Works Cited
Grewal, Gurleen. Circles of Sorrow, Lines of Struggle - The Novels of Toni Morrison. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 1998.
Harris, Trudier. Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.
Matus, Jill. Toni Morrison. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998.
Mbalia, Dorothea Drummond. Toni Morrison's Developing Class Conscious. London: Associated University Presses, 1991.
Miner, Madonne M. "Lady No Longer Sings the Blues: Rape, Madness, and Silence in The Bluest Eye" Toni Morrison. Ed. Harold Bloom. Chelsea House Publishers: New York, 1990. 85-99.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
Rigney, Barbara Hill. The Voices of Toni Morrison. Columbis: Ohio State Press, 1991.

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