The Bluest Eye
By: Toni Morrison
Pecola Breedlove is an African-American girl from Lorain, Ohio whose family stems from a root of hardships and pain. Her mother, who has a lame foot, and her father, who is an alcoholic, often fight physically and verbally. Pecola, just like her mother, struggles with the idea that she is ugly, and that she would be beautiful if only she could have blue eyes. Pecola loves Shirley Temple, and wishes to have her blonde hair and blue eyes so that she can feel beautiful. Pecola is constantly bullied by the people at her school and also by her family, and she feels that people look right through her. This novel describes, in detail, the tragedy that she endures daily, and the internal thoughts that she has relating to connecting beauty with love. Pecola believes that if only she was beautiful, she could replace the tragedy in her life with affection and respect.
"The master had said, "You are ugly people."
They had looked about themselves and saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance.
"Yes," they had said. "You are right."
And they took their ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it" (Morrison 39).
In this quote, the "master" is the man who created them, the Breedlove family, to be ugly. He tells them they they are ugly, and because they agree with him, they say nothing, and they accept this statement. Pecola's wish for blue eyes isn't just because she wants to conform to white beauty standards, but because she want to be beautiful in her own way to inspire kind behaviors onto others. However, Pecola and the rest of her family are African-American, and they do not have blue eyes. Therefore, the Breedlove family sees themselves as ugly, and feel as if the world around them confirms this belief by their glances and standards.
Overall, I enjoyed the inspirational and motivational feel of the book. Although there is a strong sense of struggle and hardships, the message and theme of the book is beautiful. Pecola suffers from beauty standards, and believes she doesn't meet the expectations of others in terms of physical beauty. The black characters have learned to hate the blackness of their own bodies, and to not recognize the beauty within their hearts. This book was very explicit in describing the horrible events endured by Pecola, but it helped me connect more personally with Pecola. The story was always interesting, and all of the characters have connections that at first is not seen, but as the story goes on, the connections take light. There are jaw-dropping events, and this novel made me question how I think of myself and others.
"Book Trailer" made by Kalina Gregory (turn your sound on!)