The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye

Length: 1144 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Bluest Eye is a brilliantly written novel revealing the fictional trauma of an eleven-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove. This story takes place in the town of Lorain, Ohio during the 1940’s. It is told from the perspective of a young girl named Claudia MacTeer. She and her sister, Frieda, become witness to the terrible plights Pecola is unintentionally put through. Pecola chooses to hide from her disabling life behind her clouded dream of possessing the ever so cherished “bluest of eyes”. The Breedlove’s constant bickering and ever growing poverty contributes to the emotional downfall of this little girl. Pecola’s misery is obtained through the touch of her father’s hand and the voice of her community’s struggle with racial separation, anger, and ignorance. Her innocence is harshly ripped from her grasp as her father rapes her limp existence. The community’s anger with it’s own insecurities is taken out on this poor, ugly, black, non-ideal, young girl. She shields herself from this sorrow behind her obsessive plea for blue eyes. But her eyes do not replace the pain of carrying her fleeing father’s baby. Nor do they protect her from the shady eyes of her neighbors. Though this book discuses negative and disturbing situations, it teaches a very positive lesson.

The theme of The Bluest Eye is that of depending on outside influences to become aware of one’s own beauty and to fabricate one’s own self image can be extremely damaging. I feel that Toni Morrison showed this through each of her characters especially the obvious, Pecola Breedlove.

One incident, for example, is when Claudia, Frieda, Pecola, and Maureen Peal, a well-loved “beauty” of Lorain, are walking home from school. As the girls saunter down the street, they begin to bicker. The conversation ends with Maureen stomping away and establishing the fact that she is indeed “cute”. Claudia then thinks to herself, “If she was cute--and if anything could be believed, she was--then we were not. And what did that mean? We were lesser. Nicer, brighter, but still lesser. Dolls we could destroy, but we could not destroy the honey voices of parents and aunts, the obedience in the eyes of our peers, the slippery light in the eyes of our teachers when they encouraged the Maureen Peals of the world. What was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it important? And so what?. . . And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Bluest Eye." 17 Jul 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Nobel Prize and The Bluest Eye Essay

- The Nobel Prize and The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison's Nobel prize acceptance speech has many interesting parallels between that and her novel The Bluest Eye. The speech opens up new ideas and interesting correlations between the address and the story. In this paper, I will document how parts of Morrison's speech uses situations in The Bluest Eye. The first being that of the story about the blind woman and the bird. Morrison says, "Her answer can be taken to mean: if it is dead, you have either found it that way or you have killed it....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Free Essays
444 words (1.3 pages)

The Clear Message of The Bluest Eye Essay

- The Clear Message of The Bluest Eye The Bluest Eye fits into our study of the American novel because it tells the story of a group of Americans, men and women and children who are descendants of slaves, and live in a society where, even though many people deny it, the color of your skin determines who you are and what privileges you are entitled to. I think that Morrison does a wonderful job of telling a story that is real, that makes the reader feel something, and that makes the reader relate, regardless of your skin color....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Free Essays
430 words (1.2 pages)

Cholly as the Father that Was Not There in The Bluest Eye Essay

- "Father of mine, tell me where have you been. You know I just closed my eyes, and my whole world disappeared." These are words sung by the singer Art Alexakis of the band Everclear. Alexakis grows up and experiences life without a father to guide him. Although Alexakis becomes a successful musician, he lives his life with a void left by his father. Toni Morrison presents an extreme view of life without a father in The Bluest Eye. His incapability of showing love and feeling are shown through his interaction with those closest to him: his wife and children....   [tags: The Bluest Eye Essays]

Free Essays
928 words (2.7 pages)

The Power of The Bluest Eye Essay

- The Power of The Bluest Eye America has been described by various terms such as melting pot and tossed salad, but what these terms are trying to convey is that America is a country of great diversity. The literature of this country reflects its population in its diversity of genres, themes, language, and voices. One of these voices is Toni Morrison, an author who knows and appreciates the power of language, and uses it. In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech she states, "The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers"....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Free Essays
536 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Importance of the Eye in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

- The Importance of the Eye in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye       In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, the characters' eyes are everything. The word "eye" appears over and over with rich adjectives that describe color, movement, and nuance of expression to signify a character's mood and psychological state. Morrison emphasizes the paradox of eyes: Eyes are at times a window to enlightenment, however, what eyes see is not always objective truth, but instead a distortion of reality into what a person is able to perceive....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Research Papers
1210 words (3.5 pages)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Personal Response to The Bluest Eye

- Personal Response to The Bluest Eye Dear God:       Do you know what she came for. Blue eyes. New, blue eyes, She said. Like she was buying shoes. "I'd like a pair of new blue eyes." Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye Pecola thought that if she had blue eyes she would become beautiful and her parents would stop fighting. She was just one of the many who believed that having blue eyes would make her and everything around her beautiful, only to end up with self-hatred and self-mutilation....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Research Papers
1456 words (4.2 pages)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
1195 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

- 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]

Research Papers
480 words (1.4 pages)

Beauty and The Bluest Eye Essay

- Beauty and The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye contributes to the study of the American novel by bringing to light an unflattering side of American history. The story of a young black girl named Pecola, growing up in Lorain, Ohio in 1941 clearly illustrates the fact that the "American Dream" was not available to everyone. The world that Pecola inhabits adores blonde haired blue eyed girls and boys. Black children are invisible in this world, not special, less than nothing....   [tags: Bluest Eye Essays]

Free Essays
416 words (1.2 pages)

The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us.”(74) Claudia and Frieda are engulfed in the mindset of this “picture perfect” girl all of the parents and friends ogled over. They allow this incident to not only let Maureen rise above them with her power of snobbish beauty, but to shrink their self-esteem into what Maureen had decided it should be.

Pauline, Pecola’s self-centered mother, has also been caught up in the excitement of radiance. She constantly is depending on the movies to decree the characteristics of beauty. “She was never able, after her education in the movies, to look at a face and not assign it some category in the scale of absolute beauty, and the scale was one she absorbed in full from the silver screen”(122). As many people now a-days do, Pauline relies on the movies to dictate to her who was beautiful, and who was not. This forces Pauline to immediately decide whom she would care for and whom she would ignore. Since her daughter, Pecola, is black, and therefore non-ideal, she chooses to love a little white girl more than her own flesh and blood

Pauline’s obsession with the white girl she cares for causes Pecola’s life to head downwards in a destructive spiral. This spiral for Pecola includes assuming that everyone is jealous of her new found beauty, her blue eyes. She decides that the reason her neighbors refuse to talk to her is because they are resentful of her imaginary eyes. “I’d just like to do something else besides watch you stare in that mirror. You’re just jealous. I am not. You are. You wish you had them. Ha. What would I look like with blue eyes? Nothing much”(194). In Pecola’s world, pulchritude is what keeps everyone away. This concept of beauty is driving her into a world of delusion. In order for Pecola to be happy, she creates the reverie of being beautiful. She assumes that there is no beauty to be found within her thin, black, little self. So she generates the idea that if she possesses the ideal blue eyes, people will start looking at her with the same respect and love as the rich white girls.

Ultimately, this novel discloses the insecurities about beauty found in everyone; not just young black girls like Pecola. Toni Morrison stunningly proves the overlooked fact that to depend on outside sources for your happiness, you deny yourself the chance at being and loving who you are; that is the worst thing you could do.

Unfortunately, many young girls have trouble with insecurities about their looks, just as Pecola does. Friends and myself included. In many instances, I have struggled with the way I looked.

I remember growing up with the popularity of Barbie-Dolls. I looked down upon myself for not having that long blonde hair and those dreamy blue eyes. On a few occasions, I had paraded around the house in a blonde wig. I praised myself for the beauty I had acquired. But as soon as the wig fell to the floor, the real me was revealed and I was ashamed. “Why was I cursed with brown hair and eyes?” I had repeatedly asked myself. I didn’t realize the destruction I was imposing upon myself with these depressing questions. As I grew up, I became fond of my puppy dog eyes and flowing hair. I became aware of the fact that one does not have to have long legs, sea blue eyes, and white-like hair to be considered beautiful. Luckily, I was able to understand this concept; some friends of mine did not however.

My friend refuses to leave her house without a mirror because she’s so terrified that her makeup will smudge or her hair will twist in the wrong direction. And if this terrible ordeal ever did happen to her, she would look nothing like the model on the cover of the magazine she’d just read. It makes me sad when I see her hound herself for not being the perfect height or the perfect weight or the perfect color. It’s depressing to see someone so beautiful at heart to look in the mirror with disgust at her/his reflection. Hopefully she’ll grow up and learn to love herself. But until then, she is sadly stuck in the same boat as little Pecola Breedlove.
Return to