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Morrison’s Bluest Eye Essay: Dying to Fit In

The Bluest Eye: Dying to Fit In

Claudia MacTeer in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye looks longingly upon society from the outside. Growing up the youngest in the family as well as in a racial minority leaves Claudia feeling excluded and left out. She desires a place within the group society has formed without her. She desires to fit in and be accepted. Claudia desperately wants to experience life to the fullest. She does not want to miss out on any event. Claudia’s curiosity is often her conscious motivation to get involved, but the reasons that she acts the way she does go deeper than that. Her personality and character traits make fitting in unfortunately hard to accomplish.

Claudia has a strong desire to be included, but her different opinions about life unfortunately create difficulties for her fitting into society. She sees the world from a very different perspective than others. From very early on, Claudia’s desires differ from the majority’s opinion. She desires to have emotions; society,though, desires possessions. Furthermore, Claudia is physically revolted by what seems to be the epitome of beauty in society’s eyes. She feels that she is the only one who feels that little white baby dolls with yellow hair and blue eyes are not beautiful. In a bold attempt to destroy the common perception of beauty, Claudia mangles the dolls she receives, “to see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me” (20). She desires to be included in the unity of society. However, Claudia wants to be included on her own terms. She does not want to limit or conform her beliefs to fit what society wants her …

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…dia’s position on the outside of everything forces her into a position of greater strength. Although hurt, the observations she makes mold her into being able to handle difficulties more easily. The loss of innocence which Claudia faces unintentionally is vital to the role she plays in society and in her life. Her thoughts hold a more realistic view of life and human behavior. She sees the pains and sorrows that life truly is constructed of. Claudia feels that she has missed out on so many opportunities and is not included the way others are. Her strong character generates a feeling of both isolation and separation, but, in reality, she tastes life more closely than most people are able to in a lifetime. Although Claudia’s passion to be included is unrequited, she is filled with the strength, character, and pain that make her a more knowledgeable and resilient person.

Morrison’s Bluest Eye Essay: Conformity

The Bluest Eye: Conformity

The basic theme of the novel, The Bluest Eye revolves around African Americans’ conformity to white standards. Although beauty is the larger theme of the novel, Morrison scrutinizes the dominant white culture’s influence on class levels. Morrison sets the foundation of the novel on issues of beauty in an attempt to make African Americans aware that they do not have to conform to white standards on any level.

Morrison’s main character, Pecola Breedlove, unquestioningly accepts the ideology that white features correlate with beauty. Yet Morrison wrote this novel at the height of the “Black Is Beautiful” era during which African Americans were being reconditioned to believe that their looks are synonymous with beauty.

The novel is a retrospective story told by Claudia, one of Pecola’s childhood friends. Claudia’s account allows the reader to sympathize with Pecola’s self-hatred. As an adult, Claudia best articulates how Pecola’s victimization is caused by her environment. Telling the story almost three decades later, during the sixties, Claudia reflects on the pain of wanting to be something you can never become. According to an interview entitled “Toni Morrison’s Black Magic” in Newsweek, Morrison states that Pecola’s character was formed based on the fact that “Black is beautiful was in the air. . . .So I wrote about a child who was ugly-Pecola is the perfect defeated victim-only she was beautiful” (Strouse 56). Morrison’s depiction of a victimized Pecola addresses how the dominance of white consumer society can effect the psyche of a young African American girl.

Morrison writes the novel as a coming of age story about three elementary s…

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…n life, being exposed to nicer lifestyles made them want more for themselves.

The Breedloves all believe they would have attained a higher level of success, if they were born beautiful. Morrison implies that they believe success correlates with beauty. She states “As long as she [Pecola] looked the way she did, as long as she was ugly, she would have to stay with those people” (39). Do white standards of beauty put beautiful people in a higher class status? According to Morrison, the Breedloves attribute their storefront residence to the fact that “they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly” (34). The Breedloves’ mentality is instilled in them by their surroundings. Moving from the south to the north, African Americans’ moral values changed from valuing the community and family to fetishizing material possessions.

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