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When a person defines another person as “ugly,” one must wonder what validity their definition holds. Questions to ask would be why the particular person is ugly, what repulsive traits does he/she possess or contain to make him/her this way, or most commonly, what does he/she look like. The answer to that question, if asked in the 1940’s in Loraine, Ohio, would be “she is ugly because she is black,” or even more appropriately, “she is ugly because she is not white.” Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” is not the typical black American’s novel written in 1970 (or at all). It shows a different part of life and a different understanding than what is typically shown with a positive, triumphal, or most commonly, hopeful ending. Instead, it shows what can easily happen to a young girl growing up who has never had a sense of who she is, merely because she would have to be somebody else just to exist. Blue eyes would make her a person. Until then, she is no one. Ugliness is a major contributor to this book, particularly because “ugly” carries such a deeper understanding than the word itself. Pecola was made to feel ugly in many different ways. First, her family did little to help her self image. There was constant, violent fighting. There was little money and terrible living conditions. Through Claudia, Morrison writes, “Adults do not talk to us—they give us directions. They issue orders without providing information. When we trip and fall down they glance at us; if we cut or bruise ourselves they ask us are we crazy. When we catch colds, they shake their heads in disgust at our lack of consideration (Morrison 11).” A lot of this “ugliness” has to do with her parents and their self-loathing transferring onto Pecola and her ideas and understanding of beauty. Her mother, Pauline, is tired and lonely. Her ideals of beauty are formed by what she sees around her, particularly the movies she watches. As stated in “The Bluest Eye,” "In equating physical beauty...
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