The Tragic Symbol Of Black Identity And By Nicole Smith, Jan 15, 2012poetryno Commentsprint

The Tragic Symbol Of Black Identity And By Nicole Smith, Jan 15, 2012poetryno Commentsprint

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Posted by Nicole Smith, Jan 15, 2012PoetryNo CommentsPrint
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While her mother repeatedly engaged with the notion of white superiority and neglected herself and her daughter as well as engaged in self-hatred, her case pales in comparison to that of her daughter. Pecola represents the most complex case of the destructive idealization of white culture and subsequent denial and obliteration of black identity and is the tragic symbol in Morrison’s attempt to detail this legacy of racism. By the end of the novel, she exchanged her mind for the blue eyes she thought would make her loved and is even further ostracized by the community that failed to see its part in what happened. The inherent sense of being ugly and unworthy is a main part of Pecola’s character as she spends “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike” (45). Aside from her good treatment by Claudia and Frieda, Pecola is ostracized in her community and even by her mother, who prefers cleanliness and the orderly life of the white family she works for or the simplicity of beautiful women and men on film to her real life in the storefront. By thinking that having blue eyes will make people love her, Pecola is expressing a wish that has double-significance to the main ideas Morrison is presenting for readers. On the one hand, there is the more obvious idea that blue eyes, which are associated with whiteness (which is, in itself, a non-color) means that she will be racially accepted. On another level, by wishing to change her eyes and thinking that this change will allow her to see things differently, Pecola is wishing that she could ...

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...llow the cultural images that have such an influence on everyone’s lives are with particular emphasis on the devastating impact these have on those who have little else to help guide them in terms of social icons. Although this is a painful novel African American to read on multiple levels, it is a cathartic one in terms of how it addresses the opposing ideals of white culture and how these ideals are internalized by those who are under-represented and marginalized. This novel is the working-through of the constantly perpetuating self-hatred that is the result of frustration of being unable to live up to the ideals of white society and ultimately, the tragic ending where the ground is unfertile and the future is stunted is a message about how we need to dig deep in the black earth to look for identity since the surface offers little in the way of nutrients for growth.

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