The Bluest Eye By Toni Morrison

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Samantha Moccia Ms. McCarthy English 11 Honors, F Period 17 November 2014 A Beautiful Soul In the novel The Bluest Eye, author Toni Morrison uses the internalization of beauty standards and its effect on characters’ social interactions with the community to reveal society’s assumption that appearance is the decisive factor in determining one’s status and critique its detrimental effect on one’s personal identity. The overwhelming emphasis that society places on outward appearance has a negative impact on an individual’s sense of self-esteem and dignity by creating a standard to which one must conform, as well as a potential void if he/she does not meet that standard. One character that embodies this principle is Pauline Breedlove, a mother and wife who has felt limited by her physical appearance her entire life. Upon discovering that she is pregnant with her first child, Pauline reflects on how, as a young girl, “along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self-contempt by the heap” (Morrison 122). Morrison’s use of the word “destructive”, which carries a very negative and harmful connotation, suggests that the idea of physical beauty actually has the potential of deteriorating Pauline’s spirit,

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