Adversity In The Bluest Eye

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The novel The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young African American girl in Ohio who faces great adversity as a result of her race, gender, and age. She wants nothing more than to have blue eyes, believing that they would make her beautiful and improve her quality of life. She lives in a small house with her mother Pauline, her father Cholly, and her brother Sammy. In an excerpt titled “Battle Royal” from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator faces similar adversity as a result of his race. He is forced to fight in a Battle Royal against other African American men for the entertainment of a large group of white men after being invited to the event to give his graduation speech. Analysis through the …show more content…
In the middle of the Battle Royal, the narrator says “I wanted to deliver my speech more than anything else in the world, because I felt that only these men could judge my true ability” (7). The narrator is aware that his speech does not encompass his true feelings about relationships between African Americans and white people, but he still believes that he must cater to what the white men want to hear. He believes, as a result of the racist structure of society, that only the white man’s opinion is capable of validating him as a person, which is embracing the master narrative. The narrator’s desire to deliver his speech is ultimately what causes him to fight so desperately in the Battle Royal and sink below society’s expectations for him. Instead of being the civilized man that the narrator believes that he is, he acts savagely toward the other fighters in the battle, which sinks below the “desirable conduct” that he is known for (2). During the fight, the narrator says, “blindfolded, I could no longer control my motions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man. [...] Everyone fought hysterically. It was complete anarchy. Everybody fought everybody else” (5). The narrator wants to be a counter-storyteller, but after losing his dignity in this way, and acting like “a baby or a drunken man”, there is no way that the narrator will be able to reestablish his credibility to the white men at the gathering. Instead of banding together in dignity with the other men in the fight to prevent themselves from humiliation, everyone fights each other “hysterically”, which perpetuates the stereotype that African American men are violent and untrustworthy. By engaging in the fight, the narrator also sinks to this

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