Bluest Eye

What social commentary is implicit in Morrison's superimposing these bland "Dick and Jane" passages describing a white family and its activities upon the tragic story of the destruction of a young black girl?

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The passage from the Dick and Jane reader puts forward a representation of idealized white middle class life. Although the race of the Dick and Jane family is never specified in the text, the pictures in the readers have always depicted rosy-cheeked and smiling white people. The house is pretty, the mother is gracious, the father big, strong, and kind: the story stands in sharp contrast to Pecola's life. The idealized and white world of the Dick and Jane story could not be farther from the truth for Pecola. Morrison's repetition of the story, each repetition less readable than the previous one, can be read in different ways. The second and third version of the story take away the punctuation and then the spacing, turning the story into gibberish‹just as the story, in terms of Pecola's life, is so far removed from reality that it becomes nonsense. Morrison, in a sense, is speeding up the machinery of the Dick and Jane story to show how it does not work, how it degenerates into meaninglessness under any kind of scrutiny. But in the descent into senselessness, it also parallels Pecola's descent into madness. Each repetition, through its form, speeds up the pace at which it must be read. Readers tend to go through the final repetition in a barely comprehended rush. Pecola clings to the standards of the white world, all the way to the end, even as her sanity deteriorates. So these representations of idealized white life, even when they can no longer be read in a normal way, hammer the reader in the same way that they hammer Pecola. Her madness is not an escape from the idealized forms of white life; in her madness, she feels most fully the force of white constructions of beauty, even as the normal flow of human interaction and language cease to have meaning for her.