Racial And Psychological Discrimination In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
In the Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison presents a community which a racist ideology is internalized. The sufferers of racial abuse in this community both endure and resist in a complex inverse interrelationship between the two actions. This contradiction of the internalization and the insurrection of racial abuse is of the crucial characteristic of the community. This paper is an insight to discuss the life of Afro-American women who are the victims of the prejudices everywhere in the society and in their own families. Racism is basically a belief in the superiority of one race to another which results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. The life of Afro-American coloured people, have been affected by racism. These so-called systems of social and psychological restrictions make coloured people to feel inferiors. The black people are trying to identify themselves with the white and their cultural ways. Toni Morrison’s the bluest eye deals with the life of women, their activities and their victimization at the hands of male ones.
Toni Morrison is very well known for her Afro-American identity. She tried to discover the complex life of the black slaves and other men and women who were living in a highly backward and neglected condition in America. They were not only hated by the white men and women of America but they were also treated in a manner worse than animals. She was much more concerned with the life and improvement of the black community, the racial discrimination in post-colonial literature became the main issue of most of the novelists. Afro-American writers have not only represented themselves but also their race and culture. They try to establish their Afro-American identity through their magnificent writing. Her writings are tales of the coloured people’s oppression in a white dominant patriarchal society. Toni Morrison has realized very early in her life that racism has become the greatest enemy of the coloured people. She has tried in her writings to justify that getting back the ‘black identity’ is the only way to check the racial discrimination. She knows a problem specific to groups targeted by racism that Afro–Americans begin to believe about themselves and imagine that Euro-Americans are superior in beauty, morality, and intelligence.
In the bluest eye Morrison focuses on this problem as its affects blacks and their psychological mechanism. Her first novel the bluest eye is a moving portrayal of a black woman’s quest for ideal self. The novel is based on Morrison’s conversation with a black girl during her childhood. Morrison endorses that her thoughts about why that black girl beseeches for blue eyes are stimulated when the racial beauty of “black is beautiful” is reclaimed. She says that, “it was not that easy of being a little black girl in this country-it was rough. The psychological trick you have to play in order to get through- and nobody said how it felt to be that… and i wanted to explore it”. The bluest eye strongly speaks of the voice of the demoralized black females in the insignificant society which has become muted. It is racial bigotry which is an obvious indication of Toni Morrison’s concern to describe creatively the insensitivity of the white folk towards black. The novel is about a young Pecola who desires to have white skin, blond hair and blue eyes against her dark complexion as: Each night, without fail, she prayed for blue eyes. Fervently, for a year she had prayed. Although somewhat discouraged, she was not without hope. To have something as wonderful as that happen would take a long, long time.
Pecola’s desire is the result of a misconception regarding race in the American society. The black people have to undergo a lot of oppressions and atrocities on the basis of racial inferiority. Pecola the chief character, is the most woeful creation who consistently suffers from racial discrimination. She is always being abused by her own mother Pauline breed love pecola treating the white girl of her employers as superior to her just because of the colour. She has never felt the love of her mother and perceives that it is because of her colour; her dark skin, dark eyes, and woolly hair. She develops that she is not seen as beautiful, and from these thoughts she begins to hate the beauty of the white children. She thinks of herself ugly and attributes their mistreatment of her to her physical appearance. She develops a thought that no one would behave badly in front of her if she were beautiful. Blue eye which Pecola desires for is used basically a metaphor that is easily understood. When Pecola desires for blue eyes she is really saying that she want to escape her life and herself. She has defined herself only by her degree of blackness. Even, at only eleven years of age, she finds the feelings of inferiority and worthlessness acquiring the symbol of beauty in her community. Blue eyes are regarded as a beautiful by all the characters including mother and children who collectively admire Shirley temple. Pecola is not appreciated and cared by her family. Furthermore Pecola has no other person or place where she is safe valued. In the surrounding community she is subjected to consider inter – racism by grown – ups and even her peers. Desiring blue eyes she is becoming something she is not. Pecola thinks that only blue can be the solution for her distressed situation. She is shunned and very lonely. The most important reason for her to desire blue eyes is that she wants to be treated differently in her family as it proves from the text like ,“if she looked different, beautiful, may be cholly would be different and Mrs Breedlove too. Maybe they’d say “why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustn’t do bad things infront of those pretty eyes”. This shows that her primary concern is an escape from abuse and negligence within in home. The racism which penetrates every aspect of society is an important factor in understanding the actions of Pauline and Cholly, and most of their actions are the reactions to the oppression and racism. People have not witnessed love and affection at home. She reacts about love as, “what did love feel like? She wondered how do grownups act when they are in love? Eat fish together ?” Even one of the most traumatizing events in Pecola’s life is the movement when she is raped by her father, gets pregnant and loses her sanity.
Pecola , as Afro-American girl, had a naïve thought. She believed that every bad thing which happened were because of her ugliness. Therefore she wished to be a beautiful who has blue eyes. But her obession to be beautiful, mixing with her raping incident and her baby death leads her into insanity. From this side, psychological term will be able to describe her condition and analyze what is actually happened with her. The psychological condition of Pecola , including Cholly’s condition because these two characters has a complex relationship instead of father–daughter relation.
Toni Morrison shines light to the negative psychological effects of beauty standards in our society through the character, pecola, in the novel. It is not only Pecola who feel racial discrimination but even her father, cholly, has also been a victim of racism and emotional abuse since his childhood; it makes him person who cannot show love or express his feelings. He feels racial discrimination when he caught having sex with his friend Darlene. He is caught by two white men, act and scream, “get on wind it, nigger…… and make it good , nigger, make it good”. Toni Morrison intellectually enlightens the sufferings of cloured people in a white society in the bluest eye. The novel shows “racism damaging effects on the black community at large and on black families. Pecola breedlove realizes the supermacy of white society and longs to have the features of white females. Her strong desire to have the bluest eye in the world itself reveals the eagerness to have even more finer features than white woman.
The bluest eye shows us how the suffering subjects desire to identify with the inconceivable, idealized whiteness. The black people are trying to identify themselves with the white and their cultural ways. Toni Morrison through her writing make blacks to understand that black identity is not inferior to white in any way. She makes her point that physical appearance and culture may be different but does not mean servitude of the entire race.
- Morrison, Toni. The bluest eye, London: vintage, 1993.
- Ranveer, Kasinath. Black Feminist Consciousness: a study of women writers, Jaipur, Printwell, 1995.
- Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth , London: penguin, 1990
- Morrison, Toni, The Bluest Eye, New York: Rine hart and Winston, 1970
- K. Missy Denn, Toni Morrison , London: Greenwood press, 1998
- Bernard, w. Bell. The Afro-American Novel. Jalandar (india) abs publications,1994.
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Abstract In the Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison presents a community which a racist ideology is internalized. The sufferers of racial abuse in this community both endure and resist in a […]