Between The World And Me Character Analysis

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While written over forty years apart, The Bluest Eye and Between the World and Me share a similar storyline of the black body being destroyed by the “white” gaze. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison chooses to use a single character, Pecola Breedlove, to adeptly depict how one 's body can become a subject of discrimination. After being impregnated by her own father, the entire town ridicules Pecola. She must now face the harsh gaze of an entire town that is convinced that Pecola is the ugliest girl possible. The town’s ideologies stem from white beliefs and actions, therefore the shameful act of becoming pregnant is considered black so it must be ugly. Between the World and Me depicts a tale of the author Ta-Nehisi Coates surviving in the modern …show more content…
From her birth, Pecola is labeled as “ugly” by her entire town, both black and white (Morrison). However, when trying to discern why exactly the Breedloves’ were so ugly Claudia, the narrator, reached only one conclusion. Their ugliness came from “their conviction” (Morrison 39). Instead of challenging those who called them lesser, the Breedloves “took the ugliness in their hands” and attempted to function in society as the ugliest (Morrison 39). In his book, Black Bodies, White Gazes, author George Yancy says, “The Black self is always already formed through discourse, through various practices that confirm the Black self as ugly, bestial, dirty, and worthless” (Yancy 191). Yancy proposes the concept that this perception of the black body is definite and unchanging, therefore there is nothing the Breedloves can do to alter their appearance. This forced submission by society displays the breaking of their bodies. Coats describes this breaking in Between the World and Me by describing on a broader level how the definition of ugly effects all blacks in a society. He writes that, to be black was to be “naked before the elements of the world” (Coates 17). This vulnerability is similar to the struggles the Breedloves face throughout The Bluest Eye. Coates sheds light on the perception of blacks in modern society. Though he never defines black as specifically ugly. While he highlights the normally oppressive gaze upon the black body he also defines black the students of Howard University as “hot and incredible” (Coates 42). Coates contradicts Morrison’s perception of one ugly family by describing how beautiful the black body can

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