The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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In the novel, The Bluest Eye, author Toni Morrison introduces readers to the life of Pecola Breedlove, a young African American female who lives a pitiable existence and wishes more than anything that her eyes were blue because in her mind, girls with blue eyes are loved, admired, have a better life and don’t have to endure the hardships that she faces daily. Morrison utilizes a combination of the reminiscing narrative of Claudia, a now adult friend of Pecola’s when they were children, and trips back in time that impart a bit of character history so that readers can draw their own conclusions about events that transpired in a certain person’s life which may have bearing on their present actions, reactions and thought processes. One of the instances of the author’s use of racial aspects to define Pecola’s idea of beauty is a cup that she continually uses to drink milk from when living as a foster child in Claudia’s home. This cup has the image of Shirley Temple on it and Pecola is transfixed with this face because to her, it is the epitome of beauty. When she looks at Shirley Temple’s blue eyes and Caucasian skin, she sees beauty, yet when she looks at her own dark skin and dark eyes what she sees is the polar opposite of what she considers beautiful.

With the introduction of Mr. Yacobowski, an immigrant store owner, Morrison uses an aspect of not only racism, but also ethnic and gender differences to define feelings and further character identity. When Pecola enters the store to buy candy, her presence is all but ignored by the proprietor. As Morrison puts it, “…he looks towards her….somewhere between vision and view….his eyes draw back….he senses that he need not waste the effort of a glance….he does not see her, because for him there is nothing to see (Morrison, 1970)”. Mr. Yakobowski cannot see Pecola because as Morrison explains, in addition to being not possible, his actually seeing her is equally undesirable and unnecessary. He does not recognize her...
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