African American and Pecola Essay

Submitted By jasmynwilkins
Words: 790
Pages: 4

Toni Morisson's novel The Bluest Eye details the life of the Breedloves and African American family of Lorain, Ohio during the 1930’s. The focal point of the novel centers around the 11 year old daughter Pecola who is deeply struggling internally to overcome a bout of self hatred. Each day she faces racism not only from white people but mainly from her own race. In their eyes Pecolas dark skin translates as ugly and inferior. By obtaining blue eyes, she feels as if she can overcome this ugliness. Morrison counterbalances two points of view through Pecola: one, the sad consequences of racism, and two, agency and the resistance to this racism. All of this is shown through the struggles faced by young Pecola. In my paper I will touch on Morrisons use of agency through Pecola and how she displays the ways in which a community and family can become so distorted with notions of self worth, essentially furthering racism within the community and perpetuating social racism. Constant bickering between Pecola’s family and those around her lead to her emotional downfall. Pecola's misery blooms from the touch of her father's hand as well as the voice of her community's struggle with racial separation, anger, and ignorance. Her innocence is viciously taken from her already damaged existence and her community's anger and depression in regard to it's own insecurities are taken out on her being a poor, ugly, non ideal, little black girl. She tries to shied herself with the desire for blue eyes, but as we see, obtaining those eyes will not protect her from the racism and self hatred she experiences. While reading, I was intrigued by the way in which Morrison reveals to the reader through a broken girl like Pecola the damage that is caused by a society that is brainwashed by the seemingly inherent perfection and beauty of whiteness and the ugliness of blackness. Being that this book was written at the height of the “Black is Beautiful” movement it shows that not every one was buying into the movement and people such as Pecola still so desperately wished to achieve this white perfection. The "Dick and Jane" exepts at the start of each chapter display just how important these images of whiteness are to Pecola but I think that Morrison attempts to show how simply unnecessary they are. Through the use of metaphors, Morrison to describe the conditions under which African-Americans in general as well as Pecola in particular are forced to live. The first major metaphor is the one of the marigolds and dandilions. At the beginning of the novel Claudia says "there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941". She and her sister would plant marigold seeds with the belief that if they were to grow and survive so would Pecola's baby. The metaphor reveals itself throughout the book and Claudia eventually uses it to broaden the scope to African Americans as a whole. "I even think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain…