Life Struggles

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15 February 2004
Life’s Struggles
Being a free black in the northern state of Ohio after the Civil War has had traumatic effects on many people’s lives. The black race was considered inferior to the white race. Many acts of racism are still prevalent in today’s society. In the novel “The Bluest Eye” Pecola, a young girl, has encountered many hardships in her childhood: “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike” (Morrison 45). Pecola needs to experience love and acceptance but neither her family nor the community reciprocates these emotions. Pecola’s life parallels with Frado’s life, a young girl in the novel “Our Nig” by Harriet E. Wilson. Frado also needs to feel accepted as the only black child in a white household. Frado as a young girl experiences being rejected and unloved; she experiences many hardships and racist encounters. The girls from an early age have learned that the white race is superior to the black race: “I’s black outside, I know, but I’s got a white heart inside. Which you rather have, a black heart in a white skin, or a white heart in a black one?” (Wilson 12). Both young girls learned that black is equivalent to immoral as white is compared to virtuous. There is a complicated portrayal of sexual initiation and acts of racism to Pecola, an impressionable black girl at a very young age.

Pecola is discriminated throughout her childhood. She is never loved and she yearns to be accepted into society as a black girl coming of age. She wants to be accepted and loved but she is neither accepted nor loved. Pecola believes that is she just had blue eyes that she would not be shunned by society: “If she looked different, beautiful, maybe Cholly would be different, and Mrs. Breedlove too” (Morrison 46). Pecola did not want to be an outcast she wanted to be part of a normal society and to be accepted. To be accepted was to be white. The most sought out look was to have blonde hair and blue eyes. Pecola thought that if she had the right looks she would not suffer from all the emotional pain that has already occurred: “Each night, without fail, she prayed for blue eyes. Fervently, for a year she had prayed” (Morrison 46). The white epitome for a young girl was Shirley Temple. The dolls that little black girls were given were white. Pecola loved Shirley Temple because she wanted to look like her. Not all little girls were in love with this American Idle: “I couldn’t join them in their adoration because I hated Shirley. Not because she was cute, but because she danced with Bojangles, who was my friend, my uncle, my daddy, and who ought to have been soft-shoeing it and chuckling with me” (Morrison 19). At an early age young black girls such as Pecola learned to act like white little girls to be accepted into the society. Whites were considered clean as blacks were considered dirty or bad: “I learned much later to worship her, just as I learned to delight in cleanliness knowing, even as I learned, that the change was adjustment without improvement” (Morrison 23).

Pecola faced discrimination everyday from different types of people both young and old. Simple little pleasures that children should enjoy were taken away from Pecola. Pecola wanted to be acknowledged and seen. She no longer wanted to be invisible. Pecola was considered a weed in her community just like a dandelion. People do not want dandelions in their yard just like they do not want blacks in their communities: Nobody loves the head of a dandelion. Maybe because they are so many, strong, and soon” (Morrison 47). Pecola the little dandelion went to buy some candy one day and she took out her money to the store clerk: At some fixed point in time and space he senses that he need not waste the effort if a glance. He does not see her, because for him there is nothing to see”...
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