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Morrison, Tony the Bluest Eye

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Broken

Pecola prays for blue eyes so that she can be accepted in white society. Blue eyes are the way white society measures beauty. This is what Pecola and some of her friends saw when they saw Shirley Temple, Betty Grable or Heady Lamarr. This idea is so ingrained in the fabric of this country even their God had blue eyes. "God was a nice old white man, with long white hair, flowing white beard, and little blue eyes" (Morrison 134). Pecola just wanted to be looked at differently, and she felt that having blue eyes could change her life for the better." Blond hair in gentle disarray, blue eyes looking at her out of a world of clean comfort. The eyes are petulant, mischievous. To Pecola they are simply pretty (Morrison 50).

The contempt in which she was viewed by white people and also some black people undoubtedly made her feel alienated, and worthless. She felt if she could appeal to these people they would accept her for who she is. In the 1930's the contempt that the white majority showed for the black minority was very evident. They would degrade them constantly; make the fathers fetch and bow in front of their sons and call them nigger maliciously without forethought." I rekon I knows a lying nigger when I see one"(Morrison153) A lot of times the white store owners would take the money of their black patrons, but dread touching their hand. "She holds the money towards him. He hesitates, not wanting to touch her hand."(Morrison 49).

Blackness has been long regarded as a derogatory and dreadful thing, even among the blacks themselves. Since the days of slavery blacks were taught to loath their blackness. "It was their contempt for their blackness that gave the first insult its teeth" (Morrison 65). Blacks began to hate the texture of their hair, the fullness of their lips, the width of their noses, or anything that reminds them of their failure as a people. They long to assimilate into white society, so blacks w altered their appearance in order to gain acceptance by white society. They felt if they changed their appearance white people would accept them as equals.

They would change the texture of their hair, wore girdles in order to hide their robust backsides, speak properly without the general slang that littered the speech of not so refined blacks. They would disassociate themselves with anything that remotely reminded them of their blackness. Some blacks went as far as trying to phase out the black gene entirely in order to pass for white. "Except for an occasional and unaccountable insurgent who chose a restive black, they married 'up', lighting the family complexion and thinning out the family features" (Morrison, 168). It was this innate hate for their blackness that led them to hate themselves. This overt self-hate was a phenomenon that was taught by the white people to the enslaved black people in order to further their agenda of subjugating the blacks. This trait would be passed down from generation to generation, until it found its roots in the mind of Pecola Breedlove.

Pecola feels she is ugly, because she has been told this all of her life. Even her mother feels this way about her when she was born. "Eyes all soft and wet. Across between a puppy and a dying man. But I knowed she ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly" (Morrison 126). Hearing that she is ugly all of her life goes further to destroy her self-esteem. It's this constant assault upon her character that makes her with draw within herself, and long for blue eyes. She thinks blue eyes will make her beautiful, but in essence all she needs to feel beautiful is a world that caters to her worth, and not her misfortunes. Many people looked down on Pecola, treated her differently. This led to her isolation, and self-esteem issues.

" She was the only member of her class who sat alone at a double desk. The first letter of her last name forced her to sit in the front of the room always. But what about Marie Appolonaire? Marie was in front of her, but she shared a desk with Luke Angelino. Her teachers had always treated her this way. They tried never to glance at her, and called on her only when everyone was required to respond". (Morrison 46)

One of the few times she is shown kindness was by her friend Frieda, who stood up for her when she got verbally assaulted by a group of boys from school. Which shortly after turned into a debacle after Maureen questioned Pecola if she had seen her father naked. For that brief moment in time Pecola felt protected and loved, but as soon as the commotion stopped she retreated back into her shell." Pecola stood a little apart from [Frieda and her sister], her eyes hinged in the direction in which Maureen had fled. She seemed to fold into herself like a pleated wing."(Morrison 73).

All Pecola needs to feel beautiful is the love and

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