The Bluest Eye Essay, Research Paper
Analysis of LiteratureMay 4, 1999 When considering the novels that I have read by African American writers, I would say that the book that displays the most importance to me would be The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Importance, in my opinion, has displays certain qualities that a novel must have. Some of which are that the novel must characterize and reflect upon real people dealing with real situations in real places. What makes a novel so real would be the ability for a reader to really feel the challenges that some of the characters face.In The Bluest Eye some of the challenges that existed were the racial disintegration issues that were not only engrained in the minds of the white, but the way they were engrained in the minds of the black. This is where Toni Morrison decided to focus when writing her novel. Some of the real issues that were addressed in this novel were how blacks of the time were perceived as beautiful to society. This was clearly based on the complexion of their skin and society placed little regard to any notion of inner beauty. However, as the reader, we are constantly asking ourselves why is Pauline putting her daughter through all of this? Doesn t Pauline realize how beautiful Pecola is from the inside? We are made to feel sorry for that community and the irony that exists in their day to day lives.Some of the irony can be seen when Pecola and her friend go to visit her mom at the workplace. A blueberry pie that rests on the counter tempts Pecola. She reaches over for a bite however she clumsily drops everything, which makes a loud noise, and before she knows it, she is covered in extremely hot pie. Pecola s mother comes thrashing out at her and beats her, then immediately turns to the daughter of the house (who happens to call her by her first name, when Pecola has never been allowed to) and begins to comfort her. Pecola is devastated that her own mother would rather nurse another man s daughter rather than her own. To her dismay, the daughter of the house is a little blonde girl with the blue eyes that Pecola always wanted. I feel that it is repeated incidents similar to these that form the root of what the perception of beauty has become in the community. Toni Morrison is ever so familiar with this society. This perception of beauty (blue eyes) is then engrained in the minds of the African American, which try to live by the standards set by the white. One can clearly see how this could not work. Thus, the African American is left feeling ugly, only because they perceive beauty to be something that simply is not them. One could see how the African American would be hopeless in trying to attain their perception of beauty. The question then arises, how should they measure beauty?In today s world, fuzzed by glitzy fashion magazines and super models being paid by the millions, would go to show that there is always a breed of people who are still living by the standards set by the suburbia that Pecola was once a part of. Nevertheless, within the educated few exists a breed of people that measure attraction form one another based upon traits like character, morals, and values. Each of which comprises of what I call inner beauty. In my opinion, I saw Pecola to simply be a beautiful person. I feel the misery that she goes through when she is losing the rat race imposed upon her by that community. We know that she tried and failed, but what we must really appreciate is exactly how hard she tried.These are all examples of the real situations and challenges faced by real people. Even today, we see people living by unattainable standards all over the place. This is one of the timeless realities in Toni Morrison s novel, there are always a number of Pecola s living in the world today, and the same applies for the future. They may not have faced the identical situations that she did; yet the general guidelines by which they live are nevertheless similar. Therefor, someone doesn t have to understand suburban culture in Pecola s town in order for them to appreciate this novel. Thus, what also makes this novel so important to me is the timelessness of it.
Her novel also deals with issues of the racial segregation. In today s world of so called racial integration , one would not have to be black to have felt some prejudices against them. We have all felt prejudiced against in frequent small moments of our lives. Today, people all over the world are facing prejudices. Those who are overweight those that are not pretty to look at, and those that are elderly. Let alone those that are still battling with racism in so many parts of the world today namely in states where repugnant organizations such as the k-k-k still exist. In any part of the world, no matter what prejudices may exist, those who have had to face them would be able to relate to Morrison s extraordinary novel. The timeless adaptability of this novel is central to why The Bluest Eye is so important to me. In order to aid the adaptability of Toni Morrison s novel, she carefully uses words and metaphors that enable the reader to really picture what she would like to describe. She does this by contributing some words to our sense of smell, touch, hear, taste, and vision. Such words make it easy for a reader to live the novel as they are reading it. For example, in the novel, there is a powerful scene while Pauline is describing what sex was like with Cholly prior to their marriage. The powerful orgasms were described as being, multicolored, she felt herself becoming a deep purple of ripe berries, the cool yellow of lemonade flowing with streaks of green and all the colors coalesced when Cholly touched her, like a laughing between her legs (Morrison, Pg. 115). These metaphors and use of language makes it very vivid for a reader, who can use these words to relate it to one s own sexual experience. This is another example of how Toni Morrison s novel is so adaptable, which in turn contributes to the importance of it. In turn, I find that in this world there will always be a Pecola. I wonder if someday people will truly see past the color of one s skin without stereotyping them. As Toni Morrison said in her interview with Time magazine, Race is the least reliable information you can have about someone. The racial differences between us are exploited for political and economical purposes. We carry a great deal of baggage, personal feelings about other races because society has been constructed along racial division. In fact, when we meet another person whose race we are familiar with, we pull from that large baggage stereotypical information, of learned responses, of habitual reaction, which is the easiest, laziest way to evaluate others. The difficult and important thing is knowing people as individuals. (Time Interview) As Toni Morrison explains, we have a great deal of stereotypical information about other races, which leads me to question whether society will ever be ready to let go of this useless baggage . However, in the future, for all the Pecola s that lack self-esteem and confidence, for those who have lost faith in themselves, I strongly recommend that they read this novel that gained importance to me. The solutions to these genres of problems do exist within this novel. It is important that society, especially those closely related to the one in Pecola s hometown, adopt a new course that will heal the deep wounds that our world has inflicted upon so many of us.
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