In the novel “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison,
we are provided an extended interpretation of how
whiteness is the standard of beauty, which distorts
the lives of black women and children, through
messages everywhere that whiteness is superior.
The theme of race and that white skin is greater
is portrayed through the lives and stories told by the
characters, especially the three girls Claudia,
Pecola and Frieda. Through the struggles those
people have endured, Morrison shows us the destructive
effect of this internalized idea of white beauty on the
individual and on society.
After reading the analysis, I posed this question, “Is life a meaningless quest for the approval of other people? The characters are hooked up by the idea of distorted beauty. We should not be outer-directed and we should not develop lazy minds. We should not be scatter-brained people where we are easily influenced by others’ point of view. We should not be nobody’s fool where we always think in hundredfold on what people will say too.
The following lines support how low self-esteem affects us.
“Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were
dirty and loud.” She had always favored her black cat
more than her own son, perhaps because it had
blue eyes. It was easier to love with blue eyes.
She assumed that if she possessed blue eyes,
her parents would be so fixated on how beautiful
her eyes were, that they’d forget all about arguing
and fighting. She felt that something just as simple
as a different eye color could change her life.
At some point in our life, we feel ugly and mean……. We are too focused on our ugliness and spend much time thinking what might have been if we are blessed with beauty. We feel so small and we refuse to see the inner beauty we have…….. We develop an unhealthy fixation. We strongly believe that “If we are beautiful, fortune is ours because we can capitalize on our beauty.
With our insecurity, we censor our thoughts in front of other people and secretly compare ourselves with them without due respect to our own individuality. With our fear, we give signals on what we say and do without being fully free and alive. Consequently, we still remain in our suffocating box. With our doubt, we depend our self-esteem on other people’s judgment. With our obsession, we intensely focus on our external appearance neglecting our internal qualities.
There is really nothing more to say –except why.
But since why is so difficult to handle, one must
take refuge in how.” Claudia would rather just
come up with a more functional description rather
than delving deep into the reasoning of society
and life’s events.
In regards to Emily Dickinson’s poetry, “Beauty is not caused.. it is… let me continue it! Beauty is not caused. It is made by what we think in our mind’s perception of beauty. It will never be the cause. It is the effect of faith in ourselves, hope we promise to ourselves, courage to be ourselves, discipline we do to ourselves and goodness we have in ourselves.”
Thus, if we based our happiness on outside forces, we will never be truly happy. As the lines tell:
“The Bluest Eye” and its title could definitely be discussed
with this subject. When looking at the word ‘bluest’,
one could consider the hue of blue, or possibly the
insinuation of implied sadness and despair.
‘Eye’ may come to represent ‘I’, rather than the title
stating a set of eyes in an optical form (such as
“The Bluest Eyes”), therefore implying Pecola’s
loneliness and isolation.