Bluest Eye

The Unexamined Other: Confronting the Social Hypocrisy of Maureen in The Bluest Eye

The Unexamined Other:

Confronting the Social Hypocrisy of Maureen in The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye explores the darkest depths of human depravity in the face of intersecting race, class and gender discrimination. However, the attribute that renders Morrison's narrative unique is her desire to humanize apparently “bad” or “morally corrupt” characters by tracing their dysfunctions back to the hateful social environments in which they were rendered victims. The character Maureen, a light-skinned black girl, escapes Morrison's empathetic treatment and is one-dimensionally presented as a hypocrite who flaunts the social status gained by her proximity to whiteness. In an interview, Morrison laments she “didn't like [Maureen]” because she fit so perfectly into a stereotype in which “we all know who she is;” Maureen is an archetypal hypocrite who assuages her subordinated position as a black female by adopting the façade of a superior white (Naylor, 24-25). Sociologist and black activist Patricia H. Collins helps us understand Maureen's position as one in a “matrix” of intersecting oppressions in which people are rendered superior or inferior based on their possession of positive and negative...

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