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After reading the novel, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, I believe that the author’s intended message is to express the effects of imposing whiteness as an ideal beauty standard on black people. At the beginning of the book, Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl has a deep desire to obtain blue eyes to feel accepted, beautiful, and loved by her family and white dominant society. However, she lives in a society where people of her race are marginalized and disregarded. Throughout the novel, we observe Pecola losing her individuality and identity as a black girl. She has become so obsessed with white culture and their ideal beauty standards because she is constantly oppressed and suppressed by almost everyone in the book; she is abused by both her parents and other children. After she was raped by her father, Cholly Breedlove, Pecola creates her world of reality to pursue herself attaining “The Blue Eyes”. Although in Pecola’s eyes, she believes that she gained those blue eyes, she feels like she failed to achieve her dream because society has not acknowledged her beauty. Her imaginative thoughts eventually lead her to a tragedy. She has lost her sanity and became more furious.

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More importantly, Pecola is despised and dehumanized by everyone because society believes that one’s beauty and appearance define their self-worth. As Claudia claims, “All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us” (Morrison, 204-206). I believe that the “waste” and “dump” refer to the oppression and hatred that is hurled towards Pecola. Furthermore, Pecola faces many challenges in her life as an African American to meet society’s standards of beauty because her beauty is inconspicuous in the eyes of society because “Grown people looked away; children, those who were not frightened by her, laughed outright.” (Morrison, 204-206). Additionally, Pecola’s “ugliness” gave them their beauty as they “…stood astride her ugliness” (Morrison, 204-206). Claudia believes that Pecola’s “ugliness” and beauty raise others a sense of self-worth and make them feel more beautiful.

Thus, white society’s imposition of whiteness as an essential beauty standard among the characters in the book has altered the way the characters perceive themselves as human beings. Instead of embracing their race and beauty, white society has caused people of color to lose their self-identity to meet those standards. Similarly to Pecola, she loses her self-identity as she pursues a hero believing that she has attained “The Blue Eyes”.   

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Essay on ‘The Bluest Eye’.
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2024 Apr 18 [cited 2024 Apr 20].
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