racism in The Bluest Eye

Topics: Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Black people Pages: 2 (433 words) Published: February 18, 2014

Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, in which an African-American is persecuted by whites simply on the basis of skin color, The Bluest Eye presents a more complicated portrayal of racism. The characters do experience direct oppression, but more routinely they are subject to an internalized set of values that creates its own cycle of victimization within families and the neighborhood. The black community in the novel has accepted white standards of beauty, judging Maureen’s light skin to be attractive and Pecola’s dark skin to be ugly. Claudia can sense the destructiveness of this idea and rebels against it when she destroys her white doll and imagines Pecola’s unborn baby as beautiful. Racism also affects the characters of the novel in other indirect ways. The general sense of precariousness of the black community during the Great Depression, in comparison with the relative affluence of the whites in the novel, reminds us of the link between race and class. More directly, the sexual violation of Pecola is connected to the sexual violation of Cholly by whites who view his loss of virginity as entertainment.Abstract: Toni Morrison’s fi rst novel, The Bluest Eye is a novel about racism, yet there are relatively few instances of the direct oppression. The Bluest Eye presents a more complicated portrait of racism. The characters are subject to an internalized set of values which creates its own cycle of victimization. This paper tries to show how cultural ideals based on skin color and physical features function as tools of racial oppression. For all races and for all individuals, it is critical to fully understand how society infl uences our values and beliefs. By illustrating the infl uence of cultural ideals and approaching different psychical responses, this paper shows how racial oppression works in the form of white-defi ned beauty internalization and explains its damaging effect on African-Americans. The focal character, Pecola, in The Bluest Eye is victimized...
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