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The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison

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Esther Garcia

English 111-312A

Professor: Clarence H. Robertson

May 11, 2018

The Bluest Eyes

In The Bluest Eyes, the themes used by Toni Morrison to explore how we are shaped as children are home and family, appearances, race, woman, society and class etc.  Home in The Bluest Eye represents more than the physical structure where a family lives. According to Morrison, home is an idea that defines the characters' sense of self and self-worth, and likewise, informs the way they are perceived by those around them. The Bluest Eye, characters associate beauty with whiteness. African-American girls during this time period were encouraged by family and society to admire and aspire to be white; all of the female African-American characters in the novel have grown up in a society that does not find them beautiful or even worthy them. In the same way Race and class are powerful determinant in the novel, since there were so many economic barriers for African Americans during this time. Most working-class work in coal mines or as domestic servants for white families. Also the experience of African-American women in this time presents a realistic view of the limited options that these women confront every day. Furthermore, the story show how woman were oppressed. In novel's women not only suffer the horror of racial oppression, but also the cruelty and abuse brought upon them by the men in their lives.

The bluest eyes by Toni Morrison, describe how Claudia’s family makes her feels worthy of love despite society’s belief that she cannot be beautiful. For example, Claudia says “I had only one desire: to dismember it… to find the beauty (20)… I destroy white baby dolls” (22).

According to social beliefs about beauty, the white baby dolls represent the stereotype that you have to be white to be beautiful. Claudia dismember the doll to find out what was inside. She assume that the beauty others see in the dolls must inhere physically inside it, so she takes apart the dolls to search for it beauty. While, dismembering the dolls she didn’t find nothing. The only reason they were beautiful in the eyes of society was the doll’s whiteness. They were taught to believe that whiteness is the paragon of beauty. As can be seen, the social belief about beauty that Claudia is trying to destroy when she dismembers the white baby dolls was the idea that you have to be white in order to be beautiful. Eventually, all Claudia want for Christmas was to be with her family. Afterward, the reason she want this is to feel love and affection from her family.

Pecola accept that she is not worthy of love, because she is culturally black. For example, Mrs. Breedlove said: “Three quarts of milk… Three whole quarts…what the devil does anybody need with three quarts of milk?"(23).The kind of beauty that the Shirley Temple cup represent for Pecola is physical beauty. Shirley Temple is beautiful to Pecola because she is white. The kind of beauty that the milk represent for Pecola is inner beauty, because was inside of the cup and was white. For Pecola drinking milk from the Shirley Temple cup is like drinking a beauty potion that is going to make her obtain the type of white beauty that is so appraised by society. She want to be white, so she can be beautiful inside and out. Pecola feel physically ugly, because she is physically black. Pecola feel unworthy of love because she is culturally black (inside/inner). Mrs. Breedlove believe that her daughter is ugly, because she learned from the movie that to be worthy of love you have to be physically beautiful, to be physically beautiful you have to be white.  

The principal source of Rosemary Villanucci’ privileges is her father and family. For example, Claudia says, “Rosemary Villanucci…sits in a 1939 Brick eating bread and butter…when she comes out the car we will beat her up, make red marks on her white skin”(9).The car was made in the year of the Great Depression, when people were really poor and not able to afford one. Furthermore, be able to have a car represent the economic status at that time. Bread and butter for Rosemary Villanucci is just a simple snack. Meanwhile, bread and butter for a lot of people at this time represent luxury wealth and property. Moreover, the kind of privilege that rosemary’s skin represent is economic privilege. In addition, the kind of privilege that Rosemary’ skin represent is racial privilege. The reason why rosemary tell Claudia and Frida that they can come inside the car is because they are black and poor. Claudia and Frida one day can change their wealth, but they always would be black.



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