Themes in “The bluest eye”
Whiteness is beauty
In this book whiteness stands for beauty. This is a standard that the black girls can not meet, especially Pecola, who has darker skin than the rest. Pecola connects beauty with being loved and believes that if she would just have blue eyes all the bad things in her life would be replaced with love and affection. This hopeless desire leads her tomadness by the end of the novel.
Love is only as good as the lover
The Bluest Eye is a novel that contains several relationships, although the relationships never end pleasantly. Morrison sees love as a dynamic force, which can be extremely damaging depending on who is doing the loving. The biggest example of this is the relationship Cholly has with his daughter Pecola. Cholly is the onlycharacter in the whole book that can see past Pecola’s seemingly revolting shell enough to touch her. While this sounds like a beautiful thing, in actuality it is the violent rape that serves as the climax of the story. As Claudia points out in the final chapter of this novel, “Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly,stupid people love stupidly” While Cholly definitely loves, the core of his personality forces him to manifest this love in violent ways. Because he is not a good person, his love is extremely tainted. The reader can look at this in one of two ways. It can be seen as a very pessimistic view, claiming that true love can only be achieved if the lover is a good, honest person. However, the reader canalso see this as uplifting. Even though love can be distorted, Morrison makes the point that everyone can, in fact, love. Even if an evil person loves in an evil manner, they are still able to love.
The bluest eye is a novel based on the lives of black women and it is written by a black woman. Toni Morrison has described the world wide gender disparity by her characters likePecola, Frieda, Pauline and the narrator Claudia,who once mentions in the novel that three things have greatly affected her life: being a child, being Black and being a girl. All the women characters are abused by both white women & men, as well as by Black men.
Morrison continually places the idea and image of dirt and impurity-both figuratively and literally-in each newsetting. In the beginning she introduces an ill Claudia plagued with bronchial and flu-like symptoms, cooped up in an “old, cold, green” house. The Breedloves own appearance and home is poor and ugly. Pecola befriends the prostitutes living above her, who are impure in their own nature. They sleep around, refute religion, are caked with make-up, surrounded themselves with smoke and areoverweight. Altogether, the characters live in a dusty, hot town, separate from the upper-class whites. They themselves are dark and not pristine in appearance. Pecola is especially insecure about her differences and imperfections. Morrison uses this repetitive concept to emphasize the severity of their lifestyles and their desperation to keep up appearances.
Most of Morrison’s characters aremartyrs to some cause or some person. Claudia and Frieda’s mother gave up youth and her own life to stay at home and care for a family. Pecola believes she’s ugly so that others may be beautiful. Her body is sacrificed to Cholly for his self-fulfillment. Claudia and Frieda gave up their bike money and flower seeds to “make magic” for Pecola and her baby. Mrs. Breedlove gave up her family, wealth,and status for Cholly and the trouble he brings economically, physically, and emotionally. Even Maginot Line and China gave up their bodies and social position to have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. The book’s constant discussion of sacrifice, sin, and an unattainable redemption stresses a larger idea of life’s real purpose and the struggle to make it through something that...
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