The novel The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, tells the sordid story of Pecola Breedlove, a young colored girl, as she struggles to attain beauty, and desperately praying for blue eyes. Brought up as a poor unwanted girl in a world filled with racism, sexuality, and hostility, Pecola desires the acceptance and love of society. The image of Shirley Temple beauty surrounds her. In her mind, if she were to be beautiful with blue eyes, people would finally love and accept her.
The idea that blue eyes are a necessity for beauty has been imprinted on Pecola her whole life. If I looked different, beautiful, maybe Cholly (her father) would be different, and Mrs. Breedlove (her mother) too. Maybe they would say, "Why look at pretty-eyed Pecola.
We musn't do bad things in front of those pretty eyes" (46). Many people have helped imprint this ideal of beauty on her. Mr. Yacowbski as a symbol for the rest of society s norm, treats her as if she were invisible. He does not see her because for him there is nothing to see. How can a fifty-two-year-old white immigrant storekeeper see a little black girl (48) Her classmates also have an effect on her.
They seem to think that because she is not beautiful and she is not worth anything except as the focal point of their mockery. Black e mo. Black e mo. Yadaddsleepsnekked.
Black e mo black e mo ya d add sleeps necked (65) As if it were not bad enough being ridiculed by children her own age, adults mock her as well. Geraldine, a colored woman, who refused to tolerate niggers, happened to walk in while Pecola was in her house. Get out You nasty little black bitch. Get out of my house (92) By having an adult point out to her that she really was a nasty little girl, it seems all the more true.
Pecola was never able to get away from this kind of ridicule. At home she was put through the same thing, if not worse because her family members were the ones who were supposed to lov her. Her mother was unable to conceal her obvious affection towards a white girl over her. One day Pecola accidentally knocked over a blueberry pie. Obviously burned by the hot pastry, her mother completely ignored Pecola s feelings of pain and instead tended to comfort her white daughter.
Crazy foo... my floor, mess look what you get on out Her words were hotter and darker than the smoking berries. The little white girl in pink started to cry. Mrs. Breedlove turned to her.
Hush, baby, hush. Don t cry no more Finally the rape by her father, Cholly, is the last evidence Pecola needs to believe completely that she is an ugly unlovable girl. It is after this immoral act that Pecola seeks Soaphead Church for the answers to her prayers. After making her plea for blue eyes, Soaphead was overwhelmed with love for Pecola. He loved her as no one else has before, loved her enough to lie rather than see her unhappy. Pecola s outcome of becoming insane and believing that she has blue eyes is the fault of her community and family.
She was the victim of their frustration, anger, ignorance, and shame. Unfortunately, even Pecola s belief of her blue eyes can not keep her happy. She is always looking at the blue eyes of others wondering if hers are the bluest eyes in the world, fearful that somewhere, someone has bluer eyes. And so, the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment (162).