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Racial Self Loathing The Bluest Eye, Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 970 words Published: 1st May 2017

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Morrison in the book "The bluest eye" also brings out the theme of racial self loathing through Pecola because the novel indicates that once the father raped her twice she hates herself and believes that the main motive behind her father's inhuman act was her ugliness. she always wondering why she is this ugly as it is brought out in the novel, "Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike" (Morrison 42).Even in the world of today many women have a problem of beauty for they feel that being thin, tall and beautiful is that magic to the solution of some of the problems they have in life for they will be loved. Pecola hates herself because many of the adults think of her as an ugly bastard. For example in according to Morrison (65) pecola receives some hateful remarks "Black e mo. Black e mo. Yadaddsleepnekked. Black e mo...." from some of the classmates. Some of the adult abuses received included "You nasty little bitch, Get out of my house" (Morrison 92) whereby she was abused by the people who had given her shelter. Pecola does not only encounter racism that makes her feel ugly just from the white folks but from her own black race who tell her that she is much too dark and that kind of darkness symbolizes inferiority. Again according to her community, her skin makes her even uglier.

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The ugliness of the black Americans is also evident in the Gerald Early's work in the book "Life with daughters: Watching the Miss America Pageant" where he asserts that most of the American beauty contests were mainly made for and won by the white Americans. This is because most of the Americans (white) were considered to be beautiful compared to the black Americans. According to Early, the pageant is exactly an entity, "The worst sort of 'Americanism,' the soft smile of sex and the hard sell of toothpaste and hair dye ads wrapped in the dreamy ideological gauze of 'making it through one's own effort'" (225-6). Like teen magazines, the pageant presents image after image of beautiful youths, heralding this small percentage of women as the ultimate ideal toward which their peers should strive. In this sense the pageant was the perfect choice as an example of total bombardment of the victim (the audience) with both stereotypical images of femininity and advertisements that feed off these images.

The idea of racial self-loathing is also depicted by Pecola when she decides to be associated with dirt or un-cleanliness due to the mistreatment experienced from the community and family. This is because Pecola befriends some prostitutes yet we know that most of prostitutes are always associated with impurity or immorality. This is because the prostitutes sleep around with many people, always refute religion, and are always associated with excessive drinking and smoking. The racial self loathing of Pecola is also propelled by the mother (Pauline) who despises her daughter due to the ugliness she sees in her.

Morrison uses Pauline in conjunction with Pecola so that she may bring out how the popular culture has encouraged the idea of self -loathing in the black community. This is because as she is working in the white wealthy family, she idolized the family members and their lifestyles. For example she adored the white little blonde haired, and blue eyed daughter up to the point of being referred by her as Mrs. Breedlove Polly when her daughter Pecola referred to her as Mrs. Breedlove. Pecolas self hatred is also associated with the skin color due to inferiority (Omi 1). For example in the playground little boys come to tease her but Maureen who has a light skin accompanied by blue eyes emerges and the boys shy away because they feel she is equal to them unlike Pecola. This concept of self hatred is elaborated in the novel bluest eyes as it is quoted "It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth. They seemed to have taken all of their smoothly cultivated ignorance, their exquisitely learned self-hatred, their elaborately designed hopelessness and sucked it all up into a fiery cone of scorn that had burned for ages in the hollows of their minds--cooled--and spilled over lips of outrage, consuming whatever was in its path." (Morrison 65).

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According to Morrison, the white skin is associated with power beauty and purity. This is depicted by the adoration of the Shirley temple doll which was given to Claudia and also Maureen being cuter than all the black girls. The idea of racial self loathing also brought about by Bell Hooks in his article "Baby" contained in the book "Signs of Life" (611) whereby he says that many America girls are given dolls during Christmas time so that they can be molded into future wives. However, the girls are in a dilemma for they are raged by the fact that they are not as beautiful as the dolls they are being given and this is also the reason as to why Claudia a minor character in the Bluest Eyes tears Shirley temple doll. The white dolls are perceived by the girls to be a remembrance of how ugly they are just as Pecola is trying to change herself so that she can resemble the dolls or white folk's beauty. "Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window sign - all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. `Here,' they said, 'this is beautiful, and if you are on this day `worthy' you may have it.'" (Morrison, 20-21). Pecola also hates herself due to her social class. This is due to the fact that she belongs to the lowest class of drunkards and rapists who always make her wish that she could disappear and become somebody else.


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