Bluest Eye

Beauty and Belonging in The Bluest Eye College

In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, there is a conceptualized ideal of beauty that, throughout the novel, is utilized to illustrate the impact this concept has on the protagonists. With each of her characters, Morrison takes innocent elements of childhood and defiles them through the misuse, both blatantly aggressive and disarmingly passive, of her African-American characters starting in their early years. Here, beauty lies in pale hair, light skin, light eyes, a picket fence in an upstanding neighborhood supported by the earnings of an upper-middle class job to support a lifestyle of the same description. So beauty is, here, what the black protagonists of the story will find unattainable. They do not have the status that they want and they cannot achieve it because their position in society is fixed.

The best illustration of this concept would be Dick and Jane, the formerly popular children’s books so famous for the colorful pictures and simplistic but thoroughly educational grammar – a pun in itself on the way the majority of Morrison’s characters speak (i.e. lacking in proper grammar and pronunciation). The stories are titled for the names of the characters, the brother-sister duo Dick and Jane. In the small picture books,...

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