The Bluest Eye

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Pauline Breedlove is not qualified to be a mother. Although she becomes the mother of two children, she is still a child who needs someone to love her. Instead of loving her children, she despises and rejects them. For example, when Pecola is born, she says, “But I knowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly” (126). Her hatred of blackness, as portrayed in the birth of Pecola, leads to disastrous results, causing her to destroy herself and others. Through her portrayal of Pauline in The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison not only describes why racial minorities have a distorted view of their beauty, but also points out how dangerous this perception is, passing down self-loathing from generation to generation. Toni Morrison insists that race is not something to be ashamed of. In the novel’s afterword, Morrison writes, “The assertion of racial beauty was not a reaction to the self-mocking, humorous critique of cultural/racial foibles common in all groups, but against the damaging internalization of assumptions of immutable inferiority origination in an outside gaze” (212). By contrasting Pauline’s unloving family with Claudia’s close-knit family, Morrison explains the right cognitions of black people themselves, as racial minorities.

The reasons for Pauline’s inability to love and her tenacious pursuit for external beauty trace back a long way. Pauline is the ninth child of her family. She accidently stepped on a rusty nail when she was two years old. She blames her general feeling of separateness and unworthiness on her foot (111), which was the beginning of her self-hatred and distorted view of beauty and her race. Although she needs her parents’ care, she is left alone, and when she grows up, she becomes the nurturer of her younger brothers. She enjoys taking care of them but trembles with loneliness, dreaming someone will rescue her from total lonesomeness. “Fantasies about men and love and touching were drawing her mind and hands away from...
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