Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, presents the lives of several impoverished black families in the 1940’s in a rather unconventional and painful manner. Ms. Morrison leads the reader through the lives of select children and adults, describing a few powerful incidents, thoughts and experiences that lend insight into the motivation and. behavior of these characters. In a somewhat unconventional manner, the young lives of Pauline Williams Breedlove and Charles (Cholly) Breedlove are presented to the reader. Through these descriptions, the reader comes to understand how they become the kind of adults they are. Background information is given not necessarily to incur sympathy but to lend understanding.
The narrator makes the point that …show more content…
Thus, Pauline’s actions as an adult are more easily understood through this knowledge of her childhood.
One of the most striking images is the description of Cholly Breedlove’s is his memory of a picnic where a family is enjoying a watermelon which the father smashes against a rock. Cholly is impressed with the image of the father holding the melon high above his head like the devil holding the earth up, ready to smash it. "He never felt anything thinking about God, hut just the idea of the devil excited him. And now, the strong black devil was blotting out the sun and getting ready to smash open the world." This passage is a foreshadowing of Cholly’s adult life. He is attracted to the idea of power, strength and excitement and as a strong black adult, Cholly feels his freedom and uses it against himself and his family.
Another powerful incident, Cholly’s first sexual experience, gives insight into the rage, confusion and tenderness he feels towards women in his adult life. The narrator describes the incident with Darlene and the white men through Cholly's eyes. The reader understands the initial excitement of young sexual energy, and the later humiliation of being caught by the cruel white men. Cholly directs his anger towards Darlene rather than towards the white men
Women. When hearing that word alone, you think of weakness, their insignificance, and how lowly they are viewed in society. Females can be seen as unworthy or nothing without a man if they are not advocating them and are constantly being treated differently from men. However, in the book, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, they live up to their reputations for how they view themselves. Specifically, being focused on women like Pecola, and Claudia. They are often questioning their worth from society’s judgement of beauty. Though one character, Frieda embraces it despite being black. With having everything temporary, the desire of grasping and having something permanent increases. The women desires to be of
“Cholly was free. Dangerously Free. Feel to free whatever he felt---fear, guilt, shame, love, grief, pity. Free to knock her [a woman] in the head…free to live his fantasies, and free even to die…Abandoned in a junk heap by his mother, rejected for a crap game by his father, there was nothing more to lose. He was alone with his own perceptions and appetites, and they alone interested him.” [This quote shows the catharsis Cholly Breedlove’s peers and the readers have towards him. Although Cholly is an impulsive character who is abusive towards his wife and daughter, the people surrounding him and the readers would have a difficult time hating him because of his past. Cholly has been through numerous situations in his life where he has been tormented, so for that reason, every harsh thing he has done in his life is acceptable and his tragic past is the one to be blamed for.] (159)
Racist ideology is institutionalized when how people’s interactions reflects on an understanding that they share the same beliefs. However, in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, the topic of racism is approached in a very unique way. The characters within the novel are subjected to internalizing a set of beliefs that are extremely fragmented. In accepting white standards of beauty, the community compromises their children’s upbringing, their economic means, and social standings. Proving furthermore that the novel has more to do with these factors than actual ethnicity at all.
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye explores the impact of home on childhood, the formative years of any human. Throughout the book, she describes the childhoods of both adults, namely Polly Breedlove and Cholly Breedlove, and children, specifically Pecola, Claudia, and “Junior,” and leaves the reader to figure out how their childhoods shaped who they are. In the novel. Morrison argues that the totality of one’s childhood, including one’s home and experiences, is key in forming one’s disposition and character later in life. In doing so, Morrison wants the reader to see that the best defense against a predatory, racist society is the home.
Race often plays an important role in how an individual is viewed based on societal standards and quality of life. A vast majority of the characters in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye attribute the difficulties they face and the outcome of their lives to being African American in an era when people with dark pigmentations of skin were viewed as second class citizens. Morrison’s novel focuses on the different spectives of African Americans, both male and female, who differ in the standard by which they live their lives based on their experiences with racism following the depression era of the twentieth century. The issue of race and class is essential in understanding the mindset and actions of characters such as those in The Bluest Eye, the lengths the characters were willing to go to in order to conform to society, and how consequential decisions they made in order to endure and to survive had a lasting impact on the quality of their lives. Race and class defined how characters throughout the novel dealt with elements such as beauty, self awareness, ethnic identity, morality and the idea of society’s opinions.
At an early age, Cholly learns that his life would be extremely difficult. When he was four years old his parents abandoned him. The two people that were supposed to love him unconditionally and teach him life lessons had turned their back on him and created emotional damage. This marks the beginning of Cholly’s problematic life. Aunt Jimmy created a glimmer of hope for the future when she took on the role of his guardian.
Parents are the first role models that children are exposed to, making them immensely influential in the development of a child’s personality. The diverse group of parents in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, demonstrate the consequences of bad parenting on a child. Being set in 1940’s America, the black community in the book is still not fully accepted by society, and racism plays a significant role in the character’s lives. Here, readers are introduced to the Breedloves, a dysfunctional black family that is outcast from their community. Throughout the book, the parenting experienced by the Breedloves alters their perception of love, setting them up for failure as a
Cholly Breedlove grew up in a loveless environment where he was abandoned and left on a junk heap by his own mother. As a child he never knew his father, meeting him only when he was fourteen. His father never cared about him. Cholly was raised by a great aunt who loved him but, he did not respect her. Cholly quit school and went to work at a grain store where he met Blue, a kindly older man who was a father figure to him. For the first time in his life, Cholly felt the love of a father. Soon after his great aunt died just as Cholly was coming into puberty. At her funeral he met a young woman named Darlene, whom he had his first sexual experience. However it wasn't a pleasurable experience because two white men found them and forced them to
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shows that anger is healthy and that it is not something to be feared; those who are not able to get angry are the ones who suffer the most. She criticizes Cholly, Polly, Claudia, Soaphead Church, the Mobile Girls, and Pecola because these blacks in her story wrongly place their anger on themselves, their own race, their family, or even God, instead of being angry at those they should have been angry at: whites.
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison strongly ties the contents of her novel to its structure and style through the presentation of chapter titles, dialogue, and the use of changing narrators. These structural assets highlight details and themes of the novel while eliciting strong responses and interpretations from readers. The structure of the novel also allows for creative and powerful presentations of information. Morrison is clever in her style, forcing readers to think deeply about the novel’s heavy content without using the structure to allow for vagueness.
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, depicts characters desperately seeking to attain love through a predetermined standard of beauty established and substantiated by society. Morrison intertwines the histories of several characters portraying the delusions of the ‘perfect’ family and what motivates their quest for love and beauty. Ultimately, this pursuit for love and beauty has overwhelming effects on their relationships and their identity.
The Bluest Eye is a novel written by Toni Morrison that reveals many lessons and conflicts between young and adult characters of color. The setting takes place during the 1940s in Lorain, Ohio. The dominant speaker of this book is a nine year old girl named Claudia MacTeer who gets to know many of her neighbors. As a result of this, Claudia learns numerous lessons from her experience with the citizens of Lorain. Besides Claudia, The Bluest Eye is also told through many characters for readers to understand the connection between each of the adults and children. Many parents in the novel like Geraldine and Pauline Breedlove clearly show readers how adults change their own children. Furthermore, other adult characters like Cholly Breedlove
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison narrates the lives of two families, the MacTeer family and the Breedlove family. The novel digs into the themes of love, envy, and weakness, while maintaining a thick and interesting plotline. These themes are conveyed thoroughly through Morrison’s literary style. Toni Morrison’s powerful writing and structural techniques add depth to the novel, enhancing certain emotions while developing a riveting plot.
The Bluest Eye concentrates on the key contemporary American issues: racial and sexual politics. More distinctly, the novel centres on the impact that socially constructed views of race have on gender relations within the black community. As Butler-Evans highlights, “race rather than gender had become the overriding sign for the oppression of black people” and Morrison’s novel responds to this political issue by focusing on this in correlation with the Eurocentric society setting of the novel. The racial oppression suffered by the black community shape ideas of black masculinity based on male feelings of inferiority and consequent sexual oppression of black females. Morrison systematically explores the relationship between the racial oppression of black males and sexual oppression of black females. The main focus of this essay will be an exploration of how racial oppression experienced by black males, specifically Cholly and Junior, relate to the sexual oppression they enforce on black females.
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shows that one’s family determines a character’s feeling of self-worth. According to Morrison, the world is teaching little black girls that they are not beautiful and unworthy of love. The world teaches this by depicting white people and objects that resemble them, as symbols of beauty. In this world, to be worthy of love you must be beautiful. Morrison shows that if a little black girl believes what the world is telling her, her self-esteem can develop low self-esteem and they may yearn to be white. Even in the absence of economic and racial privilege, Morrison suggests that a little black girl can look to her family to build up her self-esteem. For Morrison, having a family is