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Essay: Review of The Bluest Eye

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: 13 September 2015*
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  • Words: 824 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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The Bluest Eye is the novel written by the Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison in the year 1970. All Morrison’s texts have the subject matter similar to The Bluest Eye. Her novels discuss the experiences of the oppressed black minorities in isolated communities and the dominant white culture discouraging the healthy African American self-image. Generally, the major characters in Toni Morrison’s novel are black. Her writing is about the black experience and about the black minority, whose ethnic existence is threatened by the white society. Eventually, her main concern is to bring back black issues into general awareness (Racialization of Black Aesthetic in Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye).

‘The issues of ethnic inequality, black community and individual’s struggle in white society, as well as the empowerment of blacks through the realization of their rich inheritance continue to represent themselves in the author’s novels’. (Sugiharti, pp. 2-3).

Beauty is a characteristic of person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. If this thing of pleasure or satisfaction is idolized, or constructed or politicized, the implications would be horrible. It seen in the novel The Bluest Eye how the beauty attributed to one on the basis of color leaves its adverse effect on the other. In the novel, beauty as constructed by one turns into bitter pills for others. The interference of the so called beauty standards into the human community create disharmony and produce an unhealthy attitude towards each other and self (Roddannavar, 2013, p. 2). The novel reveals the implications of white beauty standards on black community through the protagonist of the novel Pecola, who goes under her own black societal ill treatment in the name of color and eventually becomes insane.

‘In the novel she suffers the confusion, the start of puberty, bitter racial harassment, and the tragedy of rxxx. Through Pecola, Morrison exposes the power and cruelty of white, the definitions of beauty of middle-class American, for which Pecola will be driven mad by her consuming obsession for white skin and blonde hair and not just blue eyes, but the bluest ones. Pecola believes that people would value her more if she were not black. If she were white, blonde, and very blue-eyed, she would be loved. It is this kind of self-hatred and admire of whiteness as the standard of beauty that makes her became a victim of popular white culture and at the same time ruins her.’ (A miserable Black Girl-Analysis of the Theme in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye)

The novel The Bluest Eye is important for many reasons, ‘This novel came about at a critical moment in the history of American Civil rights.’ (A miserable Black Girl-Analysis of the Theme in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, p. 1). It was written ”. during the years of some of the most dynamic and turbulent transformations of Afro-American life’ (p. 1). Published in the midst of the Black Arts movement that flourished during the late 1960s and early 1970s, The Bluest Eye has attracted considerable attention from literary critics-thought not to the same degree as Morrison’s later works. With its sensitive portrait of African American female identity and its astute critique of the internalized racism bred by American cultural definitions of beauty, The Bluest Eye has been widely seen as a literary watershed, inspiring a proliferation of literature written by African American women about their identity and experience as women of color. Scholars also have been attracted to The Bluest Eye by its deconstruction of ‘whiteness’ along racial, gender, and economic lines, while feminists have equated the violence of the narrative with self-hatred wrought by a wide range of illusions about white American society and African American women’s place in it. In addition, some have examined the naturalism. Others have offered Marxist interpretations of the novel’s formal aspects in terms of the ideological content of its representation of African American life. Acknowledging Morrison’s achievement in the novel, critics have generally acclaimed The Bluest Eye for deconstructing a number of literary taboos with its honest portrayals of American girlhood, its frank descriptions of intraracial racism or ‘colorism’ in the African American community, and its thoughtful treatment of the emotional precocity of prepubescent girls (The Narrative Strategies Used by the Writer in ‘The Bluest Eye’, p. 4).

REFERENCES

  • A miserable Black Girl-Analysis of the Theme in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. (n.d.). 1.
  • Fultz, L. P. (2003). “Toni Morrison Playing with Difference”. 58. Chicago: Illinois Up.
  • Morrison, T. (1999). The Bluest Eye. London: Vintage.
  • Roddannavar, P. J. (2013). Representation of Self-hatred in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. 2. Gulbarga, Karnataka, India.
  • Sugiharti, E. (n.d.). Racialized beauty: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. 2-3.
  • The Narrative Strategies Used by the Writer in ‘The Bluest Eye’. (n.d.). 1,4.
  • The Quest for an Ideal Beauty in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. (n.d.).
  • Vaidyanathan, G. (n.d.). TONI MORRISON: THE BLUEST EYE. Agra, India: Lakshmi Narain Agarwal.

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