Whiteness In The Bluest Eye

Improved Essays
In the theme of The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison illustrates the destructive nature of whiteness being a scale for acceptance through certain black characters of this novel. The characters that display this destruction are Pecola Breedlove, Geraldine, and Pauline Breedlove. Pecola Breedlove desperately searches for ways of obtaining blue eyes because she believes it is the only way of receiving love and acceptance from her mother and community. Geraldine uses whiteness as a scale of accepting others which causes an emotional disconnect among her family. Pauline Breedlove uses whiteness as a scale for measuring the beauty of people and their importance. As a result, Pauline is unable to love her children and abandons her responsibility to …show more content…
She suggests that her “ugliness” is the cause of the dysfunction in her family. “If she looked different, beautiful, maybe Cholly would be different, and Mrs. Breedlove too. Maybe they’d say, “Why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustn’t do bad things in front of those pretty eyes” (46). By referring to blue eyes as “pretty eyes” shows that blue eyes are a part of the standard of white beauty. It also shows that in addition to beauty, Pecola equates having blue eyes to receiving love and acceptance. Pecola yearns for love and acceptance to the point where she goes to Soaphead Church, a misanthropic “Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams”, to ask for blue eyes. Unfortunately, he manages to trick Pecola into believing she has blue eyes. However, even in her disillusion of having blue eyes, Pecola is not happy because her mother continues to ignore her. In Pecola’s disillusioned state where she begins talking to herself, she has to face the reality that her blue eyes are not enough and will never be enough. This is why Pecola proceeds to suggest that if she had the “bluest eyes”, which is the ultimate form of whiteness. But to Pecola it is a form of attaining beauty, love, and acceptance. The conversation Pecola has with herself depicts the destruction of whiteness when used as a scale of acceptance. In the beginning of the conversation, Pecola seems to love her blue …show more content…
When Pauline moves to Lorain, Ohio with Cholly, she is not accepted by the black women, such as Geraldine, in her neighborhood. Pauline is not accepted by them because she held the “funkiness” that the “colored” women detested. “They were amused by her because she did not straighten her hair. When she tried to make up her face as they did, it came off rather badly. Their goading glances and private snickers at her way of talking (saying “chil’ren”) and dressing developed in her a desire for new clothes” (118). Pauline’s obsession with movies makes her see people on a “scale of absolute beauty” based on the images of the movies (122). These movies depict the ideal life of a white man taking care of his wife and living in big clean houses (123). Therefore, Pauline’s scale is based on the beauty of whiteness. As a result, Pauline calls Pecola ugly when she is born (126). Pauline calling Pecola ugly at birth signifies that she would never be able to love Pecola because she was not her ideal white child. Pauline becomes a servant at the Fisher’s home because it satisfies her dream of taking care of a big clean house and white children. “Here she found beauty, order, cleanliness, and praise” (127). This causes Pauline to abandon the responsibilities of her own family because their living conditions did not compare to the living conditions of the Fisher’s. “Soon she stopped trying to keep her own

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