Essay about Racism and Sexism in the Bluest Eye
1798 Words8 Pages
Toni Morrison, the author of The Bluest Eye, centers her novel around two things: beauty and wealth in their relation to race and a brutal rape of a young girl by her father. Morrison explores and exposes these themes in relation to the underlying factors of black society: racism and sexism. Every character has a problem to deal with and it involves racism and/or sexism. Whether the characters are the victim or the aggressor, they can do nothing about their problem or condition, especially when concerning gender and race. Morrison's characters are clearly at the mercy of preconceived notions maintained by society. Because of these preconceived notions, the racism found in The Bluest Eye is not whites against blacks. Morrison writes about…show more content…
Despite knowing that they are "nicer, brighter," they cannot ignore "the honey voices of parents and aunts and the obedience in the eyes of [their] peers, the slippery light in the eyes of [their] teachers" when Maureen is around or the topic of conversation (74). The way Maureen dresses and behaves in front of adults is not the only way she affects Claudia and Frieda. With racist comments such as, "What do I care about her old black daddy...[and] you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute," she infuriates the girls, for in their eyes Maureen is black too. Racist attitudes like Maureen's affect the poorer, darker blacks and can eventually lead them to think racist thoughts of their own.
Pauline Breedlove, Pecola's mother, experiences racism within the black community when she moves to Lorain, Ohio. Being a dark-skinned black woman from the south, she does not understand why "northern colored folk was different... [and why they were] no better than whites for meanness" (117). She recognizes the hierarchy, or the "difference between colored people and niggers" within the black community, especially from the light-skinned women she encounters (87). One of these light-skinned black women is Geraldine, Junior's mother, who believes "colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud" (87). She even tells her son
Racism In In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
Both Toni Morrison's novel about an African American family in Ohio during the 1930s and 1940s, The Bluest Eye and Louise Erdrich;s novel about the Anishinabe tribe in the 1920s in North Dakota, Tracks are, in part, about seeing. Both novels examine the effects of a kind of seeing that is refracted through the lens of racism by subjects of racism themselves. Erdrich's Pauline Puyat and Morrison's Pecola Breedlove are crazy from their dealings with racism and themselves suffer from an internalized racism that is upheld and maintained by social and cultural structures within which they live. Pauline and Pecola become the embodiment of world sickness, of social pathologies as they become increasingly alienated from their bodies.
Pecola, driven to want blue eyes by her observations that is is those with blue who receive and thus "deserve" love, eventually loses her mind after she experiences repeated violence at home, at school, and on the street. These violences are all rooted in racism. Pecola begins to believe the lie of racism: that to be black is to be "ugly," undeserving, and unloved. It is Shirley Temple and the Mary Jane on the wrapper of the candy by that name who are the models of lovable girls in Pecola's world.
Pauline Puyat, a mixed blood Chippewa Indian, sees herself through the eyes of whites and thus learns to hate herself, desperately attempting to claim only her "half white." She has a vision of Jesus who "tells" her that "despite (her) deceptive features, (she) was not one speck of Indian but wholly white. He himself had dark hair although His eyes were blue as bottleglass, so I believed" (137). Alienated from her culture, she joins a convent and, in addition to working much mischief within the Anishinabe community, she adopts an acetic way of life that becomes increasingly self-mutating. ...
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