Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Bluest Eye Social Issues
With The Bluest Eye, Morrison has not only created a story, but also a series of painfully accurate impressions. As Dee puts it "to read the book...is to ache for remedy" (20). But Morrison raises painful issues while at the same time managing to reveal the hope and encouragement beneath the surface.
A reader might easily conclude that the most prominent social issue presented in The Bluest Eye is that of racism, but more important issues lie beneath the surface. Pecola experiences damage from her abusive and negligent parents. The reader is told that even Pecola's mother thought she was ugly from the time of birth. Pecola's negativity may have initially been caused by her family's failure to provide her with identity, love, security, and socialization, ail which are essential for any child's development (Samuels 13). Pecola's parents are able only to give her a childhood of limited possibilities. She struggles to find herself in infertile soil, leading to the analysis of a life of sterility (13). Like the marigolds planted that year, Pecola never grew.
The concept of physical appearance as a virtue is the center of the social problems portrayed in the novel. Thus the novel unfolds with the most logical responses to this overpowering impression of beauty: acceptance, adjustment, and rejection (Samuels 10). Through Pecola Breedlove, Morrison presents reactions to the worth of physical criteria. The beauty standard that Pecola feels she must live up to causes her to have an identity crisis. Society's standard has no place for Pecola, unlike her "high yellow dream child" classmate, Maureen Peals, who fits the mold (Morrison 62).
Maureen's influence in the novel is important. "She enchanted the entire school... black girls stepped aside when she wanted to use the sink in the girl's toilet... She never had to search for anybody to eat with in the cafeteria--they flocked to the table of her choice" (62-63). In contrast, Pecola's classmates insult her black skin by chanting "Black e mo Black e mo Ya daddy sleeps nekked/ stch ta ta stch ta ta" (65).
The most damaging interracial confrontation related to color involves Pecola and an adult, Geraldine (Samuels 12). When Pecola enters Geraldine's home at the invitation of her son, Geraldine forces her to leave with words that hurt deeply, saying "Get out... You nasty little black bitch. Get out of my house" (92).
How to Cite this Page
"Social Issues in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Aug 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Social class is a major theme in the book The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison is saying that there are dysfunctional families in every social class, though people only think of it in the lower class. Toni Morrison was also stating that people also use social class to separate themselves from others and apart from race; social class is one thing Pauline and Geraldine admire.Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda are affected by not only their own social status, but others social status too - for example Geraldine and Maureen Peal.... [tags: social class theme, literary analysis]
1109 words (3.2 pages)
- “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”: A Marxist reading of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison born Chloe Walker was born in Lorain, Ohio in 1931. In 1949, after graduating from Lorain high school, Morrison attended Howard University. Where she majored in English and minored in classics, also while attending Howard University Morrison was an active socialite. By 1954 Morrison graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Upon graduation Morrison devoted her time to teaching at prestigious universities such as Yale, Princeton, Howard and Southern University.... [tags: Sociology, Social class, Marxism, Bourgeoisie]
1649 words (4.7 pages)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye provides social commentary on a lesser known portion of black society in America. The protagonist Pecola is a young black girl who desperately wants to feel beautiful and gain the “bluest eyes” as the title references. The book seeks to define beauty and love in this twisted perverse society, dragging the reader through Morrison’s emotional manipulations. Her father Cholly Breedlove steals the reader’s emotional attention from Pecola as he enters the story.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
2708 words (7.7 pages)
- ... That no matter what Pauline attempts to do, she will always be inferior to the actors whom she so desperately wants to look like. The larger tragedy is that Pauline passes this white beauty standard scale on to Pecola, her daughter, “But I knowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly.” (Pg. 124). Morrison is critiquing Pauline’s acceptance of this false beauty standard because it is preventing her from loving and showing affection to her own daughter, which is destructive.... [tags: social conceptualization of beauty]
2180 words (6.2 pages)
- Cinema in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, characters learn how to perform social roles though film. Pauline goes to the movies in search of a more glamorous identity. Instead, the unattainable beauty she sees onscreen reaffirms her low place in society. Laura Mulvey’s article, Visual and Other Pleasures, explains film’s ability to indoctrinate patriarchal social order. This ability is certainly applicable to Morrison’s novel. Film reinforces the Breedloves’ place in society, teaches Claudia to love Shirley Temple and constructs women as sexual objects for pleasure.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
1582 words (4.5 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)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye In the novel, The Bluest Eye, the author, Toni Morrison, tells the tragic story of Pecola Breedlove. Pecola longs for acceptance from the world. She is an innocent little girl, however, she is rejected practically by the whole world, and her own parents. Pecola endures physical and verbal abuse at home, and also at school. She is always the main character in the jokes that usually refer to her very dark skin. Her mother cherishes the white daughter of the family she works for and calls her own daughter a "rotten piece of apple.... [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]
480 words (1.4 pages)
- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye One of the most prominent themes found in Toni Morrison’s acutely tragic novel The Bluest Eye is the transferal or redirection of emotions in an effort on the part of the characters to make pain bearable. The most obvious manifestation of that is the existence of race hatred for one’s own race that pervades the story; nearly every character that the narrator spends time with feels at some point a self-loathing as a result of the racism present in 1941 American society.... [tags: Toni Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]
1449 words (4.1 pages)
- 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)
- Both Toni Morrison's novel about an African American family in Ohio during the 1930s and 1940s, The Bluest Eye and Louise Erdrich;s novel about the Anishinabe tribe in the 1920s in North Dakota, Tracks are, in part, about seeing. Both novels examine the effects of a kind of seeing that is refracted through the lens of racism by subjects of racism themselves. Erdrich's Pauline Puyat and Morrison's Pecola Breedlove are crazy from their dealings with racism and themselves suffer from an internalized racism that is upheld and maintained by social and cultural structures within which they live.... [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]
599 words (1.7 pages)
Pecola is a delicate character because of her young age, but her delicacy lies even more in her innocence. Pecola actually believes that Soaphead Church has helped her to receive the blue eyes that she fervently prayed for. Pecola "got blue eyes, bluer than theirs" (Morrison 197).
Dee describes the impact of the novel, saying "(Morrison) has split open the person and made us watch the heart beat. We feel faint, helpless and afraid - not knowing what to do" (20). Morrison herself claims that "One problem was centering: the weight of the novel's inquiry on so delicate and vulnerable a character could smash her and lead readers into the comfort of pitying her rather than into an interrogation of themselves" (211). Morrison didn't want readers to ''remain touched but not moved'' (211) The issues raised truly do touch the reader in an indescribably deep and special way. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison has created a powerful novel with a strong social impact.