The Bluest Eye: How Society Took Pecola’s Innocence Essay
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The immoral acts of society raped Pecola Breedlove, took her innocence, and left her to go insane. The Random House Dictionary defines “rape” as “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation.” The Random House definition perfectly describes what happens to Pecola over the course of the novel. From Pecola’s standpoint, society rapes her repeatedly, by their judgmental attitudes towards everything that she is; she is “ugly,” she is poor, she is black. In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Morrison shines a critical light on society, illumining the immoral acts that it participates in, through the story of how a little girl is thrown by the wayside since she does not embody the societal ideal. Instead of one human…show more content…
Because society’s standard of beauty is being a pretty, white girl, she is labeled as ugly, and in Pecola’s society, ugly people do not get attention, they do not deserve attention.
Society continues to rape Pecola through its refusal to acknowledge her as a human being. Since society thinks she is “ugly”, no one needs to care for or love her. For example, one of the biggest insults that her peers use for teasing boys is using Pecola as the insult.
She also knew that when one of the girls at school wanted to be particularly insulting to a boy, or wanted to get immediate response from a boy, she could say 'Bobby loves Pecola Breedlove' (Pg. 34).
Think about that schoolyard tactic for one second; instead of being called a bad name, you are the bad name. The greatest insult is actually liking something like Pecola Breedlove. This quote is just a start in showing how much societal disregard is shown toward Pecola. During the end of the story, we see our protagonist going into a dark mental state because of how the culture around her still treats her with a lack of any compassion. “Grown people looked away; children, those who were not frightened by her, laughed outright” (Pg. 162). Even in her most distraught and emotionally fragile time, people ignore her or mock her for her pain or her apparent “weirdness.” They deemed a little girl to be less than a human, and they justified
Read an in-depth analysis of Pecola Breedlove.
Read an in-depth analysis of Claudia MacTeer.
Read an in-depth analysis of Cholly Breedlove.
Pauline (Polly) Breedlove - Pecola’s mother, who believes that she is ugly; this belief has made her lonely and cold. She has a deformed foot and sees herself as the martyr of a terrible marriage. She finds meaning not in her own family but in romantic movies and in her work caring for a well-to-do white family.
Frieda MacTeer - Claudia’s ten-year-old sister, who shares Claudia’s independence and stubbornness. Because she is closer to adolescence, Frieda is more vulnerable to her community’s equation of whiteness with beauty. Frieda is more knowledgeable about the adult world and sometimes braver than Claudia.
Mrs. MacTeer - Claudia’s mother, an authoritarian and sometimes callous woman who nonetheless steadfastly loves and protects her children. She is given to fussing aloud and to singing the blues.
Henry Washington - The MacTeers’ boarder, who has a reputation for being a steady worker and a quiet man. Middle-aged, he has never married and has a lecherous side.
Sammy Breedlove - Pecola’s fourteen-year-old brother, who copes with his family’s problems by running away from home. His active response contrasts with Pecola’s passivity.
China, Poland, Miss Marie - The local whores, Miss Marie (also known as the Maginot Line) is fat and affectionate, China is skinny and sarcastic, and Poland is quiet. They live above the Breedlove apartment and befriend Pecola.
Mr. Yacobowski - The local grocer, a middle-aged white immigrant. He has a gruff manner toward little black girls.
Rosemary Villanucci - A white, comparatively wealthy girl who lives next door to the MacTeers. She makes fun of Claudia and Frieda and tries to get them into trouble, and they sometimes beat her up.
Maureen Peal - A light-skinned, wealthy black girl who is new at the local school. She accepts everyone else’s assumption that she is superior and is capable of both generosity and cruelty.
Geraldine - A middle-class black woman who, though she keeps house flawlessly and diligently cares for the physical appearances of herself and her family (including her husband, Louis, and her son, Junior), is essentially cold. She feels real affection only for her cat.
Junior - Geraldine’s son, who, in the absence of genuine affection from his mother, becomes cruel and sadistic. He tortures the family cat and harasses children who come to the nearby playground.
Soaphead Church - Born Elihue Micah Whitcomb, he is a light-skinned West Indian misanthrope and self-declared “Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams.” He hates all kinds of human touch, with the exception of the bodies of young girls. He is a religious hypocrite.
Aunt Jimmy - The elderly woman who raises Cholly. She is affectionate but physically in decay.
Samson Fuller - Cholly’s father, who abandoned Cholly’s mother when she got pregnant. He lives in Macon, Georgia, and is short, balding, and mean.
Blue Jack - A co-worker and friend of Cholly’s during his boyhood. He is a kind man and excellent storyteller.
M’Dear - A quiet, elderly woman who serves as a doctor in the community where Cholly grows up. She is tall and impressive, and she carries a hickory stick.
Darlene - The first girl that Cholly likes. She is pretty, playful and affectionate.