Toni Morrison, the author of The Bluest Eye, writes a masterpiece novel that describes how the standard of beauty has been socially constructed by the dominant race in the US, Whites. This form of social construct has had an effect on the black community where the lighter one’s skin is, the better they look and are assimilated into the society at large. On the other hand, the darker one looks, they are subjected to internalized racism and considered ugly. According to the novel, the American standard of beauty that is socially acceptable is being white and having blue eyes (Morrison 22-24). Thus, the black community has internalized racism and the problems that dark-skinned women have to go through in an African American community. This paper seeks to examine the significance of children in the novel by looking the privilege and prestige one gets given the color of their skin among African Americans in the novel.
Pecola Breedlove is one of the major and significant characters in the novel in that she is exposed in racial prejudice and discrimination in her own community. Pecola, who lives in a society where the white population is considered the ideal standard of beauty, builds self-hatred because she cannot be white. In addition, she is loathed by her own parent because she is considered to have a darker skin pigment. This is relevant because the writer shows how the society has been whitewashed such that whiteness is connected to beauty whereas the darker one is considered as ugly. This is evident where the author portrays Maureen, who is lighter-skinned, more beautiful compared to Pecola who is dark-skinned (Morrison 72-73). This form of prejudice has brought about hatred and discrimination to the black community where young girls such as Pecola are subjected to discrimination because of the color of her skin.
Given that being one is socially constructed as the standard of beauty, Claudia is given white doll when she is young (Morrison 20-21). This has an effect on young girls, because the doll that is considered as beautiful is white, and not black. Though Claudia is not white-washed in that she destroys her white doll, Pecola is greatly influenced by the American standard of beauty. This is relevant because the author discusses that unlike Pecola who has been abused by her parents, Claudia is given love and experiences a sense of family around her. (Morrison 74-76) Thus, Claudia is comfortable in her own race because she has love. Pecola on the other hand does not have anyone to love her. Thus, she wishes to get blue eyes so as to mirror the beauty standards so that she can experience love. This indicates that Pecola has self-hatred because she does not have anyone to love her including her parents. This affects Pecola’s confidence as a child.
In conclusion, it is clear that the author uses multiple children stories in the novel to show the diverse experiences one goes through. The novel shows a deep contrast between Pecola and Maureen in that Maureen is considered more beautiful compared to Pecola because she is light-skin. The white standard of beauty has caused a stigma in the society because it has fueled self-hatred among the black community. The author shows how Claudia is not influenced by the society because she has received love from her parents unlike Pecola. This shows how children are greatly impacted by the society in that Pecola wanted blue eyes so as to receive love in the long run from the American society.
Morrison, Toni, and Selena Ward. The bluest eye: Toni Morrison. New York: Spark Pub., 2002. Print.