The Bluest Eye
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison tells the story of a black girl, Pecola Breedlove, who wishes for her eyes to turn blue so that she can look like all the light-skinned, blond and blue-eyed girls that are so beautiful. In the novel Morrison explores the ideas of where Pecola gets this notion of being ugly, and secondly, what the influences are of thinking this way. One question that is raised throughout the novel is whether Pecola is responsible for her victimization.
To begin with, there are many reasons, that Morrison shows us, as to why Pecola thinks she is so ugly. From the moment she is born her mother tells her how ugly she is. Instead of comforting her child and telling her that she is beautiful the way she is, right from the start she incessantly tells her that she is ugly. She shows her no warmth or love as a mother should do and the only thing she presents her with is negativity. The fact that Pecola doesn’t even refer to her as “mother” and instead calls her “Mrs. Breedlove” shows the distance between the two. Then, there is also the same case with her father, Cholly. He is basically drunk all the time and doesn’t pay any attention to her or give her the father figure that she
After seeing all the roots of Pecola"tms sense of ugliness, one important question to ask is whether or not she is responsible for her victimization. When Morrison is talking about the Breedlove"tms sense of ugliness, she says, "They had looked about themselves and saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance. She sees Shirley Temple and knows that everyone thinks she is the most beautiful thing alive and therefore comes up with the idea that if she looks like her, then people will think the same thing about her. This raises the question of how she gets the conviction to disagree with all the ideas of beauty that are placed in front of her. The only explanation there can be is perhaps she experiences other ideas or situations. Culture has a radical effect on the way people think about beauty, and that includes Pecola because that is what others consider to be beautiful. Then, all she sees or hears around her is that the light-skinned, blond and blue-eyed girls are the beautiful ones, which is the exact opposite of what she looks like, and therefore she concludes that she is ugly. The effect of being put outdoors and coming "with nothing", as Morrison puts it, is very serious. This probably has the most severe result because her parents are the first people she saw when coming into the world and are the most influential people in her childhood. One example is when the three young girls are talking about Shirley Temple. She sees them getting all the attention, having fun and being called beautiful, and then looks at herself, with no possessions and simply having the opposite of what they have. Maybe she feels better about herself and the way she looks and that is why she does not feel like she needs to have blue eyes and blond hair. At the end of the novel is the one time he gives her some attention, yet in a very horrible way, when he rapes her.