Pauline The Idealization Of Shirley Temple By Toni Morrison

1341 Words 6 Pages
The Bluest Eye explores many elements of race one of the main being the idea of whiteness as the only way means of being beautiful. Morrison tells the narrative of an eleven-year-old black girl named Pecola who was taught to believe that she was ugly and taught to believe that the only way she could be pretty and beautiful is by having blue eyes. Throughout the book we see examples of the way beauty has always been established in terms of whiteness for her, and the people around her including her mother and best friend.
Throughout the entire novel whiteness is directly connected with ideas of beauty as well as cleanliness. In opposition of this color has a direct association with happiness in the text. We see examples of this in Pauline
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Maureen is depicted as being cuter than any of the other black girls due to the fact that she has lighter skin. Her parents give Claudia a white doll. Pecola’s mother is often seen favoring the life and children of the white woman she works for. She likes them more than her own family – their daughter better than her daughter. Through Pauline Breedlove we get an image of an adult black woman who learned to hate their own black and in turn take it out on their children by teaching them to do the same. She often perpetuates the belief that Pecola is ugly and emotional and verbally abuses her daughter constantly. However, Morrison does a good job of humanizing even the darkest characters; by the end of the novel we are sympathetic. Pauline experiences different, in some ways more subtle, isolation and humiliation; she blames her bad foot for most of it. Many of the other women acted snobby towards her and thus she retreated into herself and her loneliness. Due to this, Pauline was exceptionally emotionally open to anything that is offered as explanation especially those convey white culture and standards of beauty being the way to ensure happiness. We see her change her hair to be more like the famous white actress and sex symbol Jean Harlow. While this imitation and fantasy was short lived, this became the base of Pauline escapism. She …show more content…
It is hint however, that this may change when Claudia becomes a teenager; she will adopt her hate and self loathing, which implies that self hate is something we learn and grown into as a part of maturity. Claudia is exposed to all the same forms of white washing beauty standards as Pecola; the major difference between the two of them is their family dynamics. Claudia comes from a both loving and stable family, which gives her a sense of confidence Pecola doesn’t have. While Pecola is a passive character and often retreats into herself when she is bullied and abused, Claudia is verbal and fights back. The time Claudia receives a white doll that she didn’t want she eventually destroys it. Claudia also defends Pecola, often. She is one of the only people to find beauty and happiness in the idea of Pecola’s unborn black baby. Both Claudia and her sister devise a plan to save the baby from the community’s harsh criticism and rejection. When she finds Pecola being harassed by a group of boys, she defends her and attacks them. We are also privileged to see Claudia’s motivations as she tells us her bravery stems from her lack of limitation. She has yet to internalize there are tings she can’t do and because of that she often challenges the people around her. Her lack of self-hate automatically makes her different than many of the other people in town,

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