In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, both racism and beauty are portrayed in a number of ways. This book illustrates many of the racial concerns which were immense issues in the 1970s when the book was written, however not as many issues in today’s current society.
The author was thirty-nine years old when her work “The Bluest Eye” came out. An interesting feature of the book is that it contains no “controlled” plot like the other works by the author do. Since the author decided to choose a child as her protagonist, Toni Morrison decided to show the horrible effects that incorporate racism may have on kids.
The novel contains four parts. Each section is named for one of the seasons. For instance, “The Bluest Eye” starts with the section called “Autumn” and ends with the one titled “Summer.” What is more, these four parts are further divided into several chapters. When it comes to the titles of the chapters, each comes from the simulated text that belongs to a Dick and Jane reader. At the very beginning of “The Bluest Eye,” the readers can see three versions of the simulated text. The first one is logical and correct grammatically. The first version is about “Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane,” with the main focus on Jane trying to find a playmate. As for the second version of the simulated text, it is based on the message of the first version. However, it contains no capitalization or correct punctuation. And finally, when the readers get their hands on the third version, they see that it has no capitalization, spaces, or punctuation.
At the very start of “The Bluest Eye,” the readers notice that the main focus is clearly on Pecola Breedlove, a ten-year-old girl. But the reality is that the author of the book could not keep Pecola as the central focus of the whole book. In the middle section of the novel, the author does her best in order to bring in her parents to support the girl’s reasoning why she believed she was ugly and that if her eyes were blue, she would finally become attractive and beautiful. As things are moving faster, it turns out that the girl’s mom and dad have lived through some tough times as well. For instance, Pecola’s mother had suffered from loneliness and truly believed that devout love was something that only white (in other words – beautiful) people had the right for. The protagonist’s mother tends to channel her feelings through encouraging the violent actions of her husband. What is more, she does her best in order to escape from the real world by cleaning the house that belonged to a white woman. Then again, the father of the little girl was abandoned as a kid. What is more, he has an emotionally unstable personality disorder. Later in the story, the readers find out that the main character was raped by her father and impregnated, as a result.
Before you even open the book, both racism and beauty are revealed through the title of the book – “The Bluest Eye.” When the book was written, blonde hair and blue-eyed people were the stereotypical portrayals of paramount flawlessness. Anybody who didn’t fit into this class was considered ugly. Even the dolls, such as Betsy Wetsy or Barbie dolls had the massive, round, deep blue eyes. Claudia, the narrator, along with the other girls, looked up to these stereotypes of splendor and were also very envious of them. “I destroyed white baby dolls,” Claudia said after describing the dolls with big, false blue eyes.
One of the winning aspects of the book “The Bluest Eye” is the way the author decided on who would become the best narrator for her work. Why do we use the term “narrator”? The reasons are that even though the narrator of the book is Claudia MacTeer, the author presents her narrating as of a child, and when the girl is getting older, she narrates as an adult. Two perspectives in one story.
As for the viewpoints of “The Bluest Eye,” the ones of Pecola and Claudia are central to the last page. It is important to pay attention to the structure of all points of view throughout the novel. They are purposely structured in order to provide the readers with a strong sense of experience that every other character has, as well as to help readers imagine themselves in the characters’ shoes.
One of the things to stress is that even the adults admired the blue eyes. Just take a look at the moment, when Mrs. Breedlove was working for the Fishers. She took pride in the way she kept their house, received a nickname, and comforted the little white girl before her own daughter. When Pecola dropped the steaming blueberry pie on the kitchen floor, Mrs. Breedlove hit her daughter to the floor and calmed the young “beautiful” white girl.
Throughout the novel, Pecola was depicted as ugly because she was always miserable. She would always saunter around with a sad, grim look on her face, and rarely talked to anyone. The only time when she was content, however insane, was when she thought she had received her blue eyes towards the conclusion of the novel. Despite the fact that the very idea of getting “the bluest eyes” was insane itself, it became the kind of accomplishment that made Pecola feel as if she was equal and relevant to the society. She wanted her neighbors, schoolmates, and family to accept her, even though they were the ones to convince Pecola about her ugliness.
Maureen Peal was portrayed as beautiful because she was different. Maureen was a “high-yellow dream child with long brown hair braided into two lynch ropes that hung down her back. She was rich, at least by our standards, as rich as the richest of white girls, swaddled in comfort and care.” Maureen gave everyone a new light in the dead of winter by wearing bright colors and wearing expensive, stunning fur coats.
Toni Morrison especially integrated these themes into the novel to show that the stereotypes about blonde hair, blue-eyed people were misleading, to show that all races are beautiful, and also to convey a story. These were the representations of racism and beauty when the book was published in 1970. However, society hasn’t changed very much since. There is a great deal less racism, and most races are publicized to be beautiful. However, the media portrays models, especially the ones that are lean and anorexic, as the stereotype of what everyone in society should look like. All men are supposed to be ripped, hairless, and skinny, while all women are supposed to be tall, skinny, and have long legs.
Taking into account the fact that the novel “The Bluest Eye” is a worthy one, it is important to mention the author’s rich language that is spoken intelligently, with warmth and easiness. The point is that the story that depicts the difficult lives of people under the pressure of deep-rooted racism and financial deprivation has a natural tragedy.
Racism and beauty played big roles throughout the novel. Toni Morrison’s intentions in writing this book were to show that racism and beauty are within the mind of the beholder.
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