Standard Of Beauty In The Bluest Eye

1507 Words 7 Pages
In her novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison tells the story of a young girl and her community as she learns what she must do as a woman and the importance of reaching an impossible standard of beauty. Tim O’Brien shares stories from the Vietnam war in his novel, The Things They Carried. His book details the hardship men face during war as well as their relationship with the women in their lives. In both novels, a strict code for how a woman is to act in society is presented along with a specific standard of beauty. Morrison and O’Brien expose a fundamental flaw in society when they depict how young girls are taught that they must serve men and achieve an often-impossible standard of beauty, while simultaneously portraying the women who rebel …show more content…
Morrison creates a character named Geraldine, a middle-aged woman, to show how unhappy a woman can become while filling her role in a relationship. Morrison portrays Geraldine as having achieved the ideal relationship where her husband wields all control and she remains stoic. She narrates a scene in which Geraldine tolerates her husband to, essentially, rape her explaining, “When he withdrawals, she pulls her nightgown down, slips out of the bed and into the bathroom with relief” (85). Here, we learn that Geraldine does not enjoy this intimacy in the least and is simply lending her body to her husband for his pleasure. This relates back to the idea that a woman is expected to sacrifice her feelings for those of her husbands. The fact that Geraldine is relieved when it is over clearly shows she does not enjoy it and only allows it because her husband wants it. Morrison depicts this dreadful task that Geraldine must endure to provide evidence to the idea that women must be complaisant in order to be an ideal woman. Morrison depicts Pecola’s mother, Pauline, as a victim of the single standard of beauty that is thrust upon all women. Morrison explains that while at the movies, Pauline is “introduced to … physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought...In equating physical beauty with virtue, she [strips] her mind, [binds] it, and [collects] self-contempt by the heap” (122). Here, we witness Pauline learning what she is supposed to look like in order to be beautiful. Morrison states that ideas of beauty can be destructive and backs that up by explaining that Pauline felt that physical beauty was indicative of virtue, thus beginning to hate herself. The standards of beauty that were advertised by society

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