For decades there has been an ongoing discussion on society’s standards of beauty and what makes someone beautiful. In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye she challenges white standards of beauty. Just like today, the society in Loraine, Ohio establishes a standard of beauty, and this beauty is defined as being as close to white as possible, having blonde hair, blue eyes, and a “Jack and Jill” family. Most of the characters in The Bluest Eye attempt to conform to society’s standards (complicating this idea) and believe if they can achieve at least one of the aspects of beauty their life will be better and they will be treated in higher regards. Through the female characters of Pecola, Claudia, Maureen, Geraldine, and Rosemary it is prevalent that there is a spectrum of beauty and the person who is closest to this standard, white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes, is considered pretty and is respected by society, while a person who is not close to this standard is considered ugly and is treated poorly by society. By ascribing to society’s expectations of beauty, Geraldine extends the role of white supremacy and undermines her own self-worth. Like most characters in the novel, Geraldine displays her desire to conform to society’s standards of beauty by trying to be as respectable and white as possible. Geraldine is a “sugar-brown girl” who is a respected, well mannered, educated woman. Morrison describes these sugar-brown girls as, “thin brown girls…[who] live in quiet black
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The characters within The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, all attempt to conform to a standard of beauty in some way. This standard of beauty is established by the society in which they live, and then supported by members of the community. Beauty is also linked with respect and happiness. Both people who reach the standard of beauty, and those who try, are never really satisfied with who they are. This never-ending race to become beautiful has devastating effects on their relationships and their own self-esteem.
Claudia Macteer is the only character that seemingly has distaste for white beauty. She is
Despite knowing that they are "nicer, brighter," they cannot ignore "the honey voices of parents and aunts and the obedience in the eyes of [their] peers, the slippery light in the eyes of [their] teachers" when Maureen is around or the topic of conversation (74). The way Maureen dresses and behaves in front of adults is not the only way she affects Claudia and Frieda. With racist comments such as, "What do I care about her old black daddy...[and] you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute," she infuriates the girls, for in their eyes Maureen is black too. Racist attitudes like Maureen's affect the poorer, darker blacks and can eventually lead them to think racist thoughts of their own.
Throughout Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye, she captures, with vivid insight, the plight of a young African American girl and what she would be subjected to in a media contrived society that places its ideal of beauty on the e quintessential blue-eyed, blonde woman. The idea of what is beautiful has been stereotyped in the mass media since the beginning and creates a mental and emotional damage to self and soul. This oppression to the soul creates a socio-economic displacement causing a cycle of dysfunction and abuses. Morrison takes us through the agonizing story of just such a young girl, Pecola Breedlove, and her aching desire to have what is considered beautiful - blue eyes. Racial stereotypes of beauty contrived and nourished by
Throughout all of history there has been an ideal beauty that most have tried to obtain. But what if that beauty was impossible to grasp because something was holding one back. There was nothing one could do to be ‘beautiful’. Growing up and being convinced that one was ugly, useless, and dirty. For Pecola Breedlove, this state of longing was reality. Blue eyes, blonde hair, and pale white skin was the definition of beauty. Pecola was a black girl with the dream to be beautiful. Toni Morrison takes the reader into the life of a young girl through Morrison’s exceptional novel, The Bluest Eye. The novel displays the battles that Pecola struggles with each and every day. Morrison takes the reader through the themes of whiteness and beauty,
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, is a story about the life of a young black girl, Pecola Breedlove, who is growing up during post World War I. She prays for the bluest eyes, which will “make her beautiful” and in turn make her accepted by her family and peers. The major issue in the book, the idea of ugliness, was the belief that “blackness” was not valuable or beautiful. This view, handed down to them at birth, was a cultural hindrance to the black race.
The desire to feel beautiful has never been more in demand, yet so impossible to achieve. In the book “The Bluest Eye”, the author, Toni Morrison, tells the story of two black families that live during the mid-1900’s. Even though slavery is a thing of the past, discrimination and racism are still a big issue at this time. Through the whole book, characters struggle to feel beautiful and battle the curse of being ugly because of their skin color. Throughout the book Pecola feels ugly and does not like who she is because of her back skin. She believes the only thing that can ever make her beautiful is if she got blue eyes. Frieda, Pecola, Claudia, and other black characters have been taught that the key to being beautiful is by having white skin. So by being black, this makes them automatically ugly. In the final chapter of the book, the need to feel beautiful drives Pecola so crazy that she imagines that she has blue eyes. She thinks that people don’t want to look at her because they are jealous of her beauty, but the truth is they don’t look at her because she is pregnant. From the time these black girls are little, the belief that beauty comes from the color of their skin has been hammered into their mind. Mrs. Breedlove and Geraldine are also affected by the standards of beauty and the impossible goal to look and be accepted by white people. Throughout “The Bluest Eye” Toni Morrison uses the motif of beauty to portray its negative effect on characters.
Beauty is said to be in the eyes of the beholder, but what if the image of beauty is forced into the minds of many? The beauty of a person could be expressed in many different ways, as far as looks and personality goes, but the novel The Bluest Eye begs to differ. It contradicts the principle, because beauty is no longer just a person’s opinion but beauty has been made into an unwritten rule, a standard made by society for society. The most important rule is that in order to be beautiful, girls have to look just like a white doll, with blue eyes, light pink skin, and have blond hair. And if they’re not, they are not beautiful. Pecola, one of community’s ugly children, lives life each day wanting to
To begin the novel, Morrison quotes a “Dick and Jane” book, a children’s book describing an ideal, happy family. Immediately, Morrison provides an example of how American children are bombarded, as soon as they learn how to read, with ideas about what it means to be beautiful. As well, in the first chapter, she exemplifies how American children, both black and white, view beauty, from Claudia and Freida giggling when they are called the names of beautiful white actresses to Freida and Pecola’s admiration of Shirley Temple. In contrast to the broad examples of Polly’s and Cholly’s childhoods, the examples of these 1940s children are discrete and relevant to the period which Morrison wrote the novel. Evidently, Morrison criticizes the effect of the whiteness of American ideals on children, in particular American movies which define societal standards; however, Morrison also makes an important point: these effects are not the same for every individual.
Throughout history, beauty standards have been enforced on females. They are taught what the ideal beauty is by the media and current culture of that time. Society creates certain expectations that require women to look a certain way to be beautiful and if not they are considered ugly. They change their appearances in order to conform to the established beauty standard and often lose a part of their identity in the process. In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, she captures the struggle young girls and women face to meet the expectations that popular culture has on the ideal beauty in the early 1940s.
In this novel, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, the author depicts a culture in which white people and white lifestyles are idealized and the standards for beauty are very generalized around whites. In this novel, the author questions the truths by which white standards of beauty are held and depicts the impact and growth it has on her characters and the long-term effects of these “beauty standards”. Claudia was much better able to handle rejecting the white, middle class America’s standards of beauty. Claudia and Pecola are similar in the sense that they both suffered from racist beauty standards and abuse growing up. However, Claudia was always the stronger of the two and did not feed into the standards of beauty set in her society.
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.
Morrison's highest class level for African Americans begins with the middle class, exemplified by Maureen Peele. Maureen, the closest character in the book to the white model of beauty, is expected to be above the other characters' status. Claudia describes Maureen as:
In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, the characters' eyes are everything. The word "eye" appears over and over with rich adjectives that describe color, movement, and nuance of expression to signify a character's mood and psychological state. Morrison emphasizes the paradox of eyes: Eyes are at times a window to enlightenment, however, what eyes see is not always objective truth, but instead a distortion of reality into what a person is able to perceive.
Toni Morrison offers a means for a little black girl to feel worthy of love even if the world tells her differently. She uses Claudia MacTeer to illustrate this idea. Claudia feels worthy of love because of her family. For example, Claudia tells us “I had only one desire: to dismember it… to find the beauty… all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink- skinned doll was what every girl child treasured” (22). She mentions later I destroyed white baby dolls” (22). White baby dolls are symbols of beauty. Claudia dismembers the white baby dolls to find out what is inside of them. She finds nothing inside of the dolls to justify their beauty, only the white skin on the outside. She learns that being black means you are not beautiful and unworthy of love. In order to be beautiful according to society, you must be white. Claudia destroys white baby dolls because she wants to destroy the idea that you have to be physically white to be beautiful. Despite society considering Claudia not being beautiful, she still feels that she is unworthy of love. For Christmas, Claudia wishes she could be with her grandmother and grandfather in the kitchen. This shows that