To say I loved The Bluest Eye is probably a gross understatement, but I did. I loved every page. I loved the way the story was pieced together with small snippets about each of the characters, so you could sympathize with each one and understand them in the grander scheme of the novel. I loved the way Morrison strung words together so you could see the pain of Pecola. And Pecola herself, I loved. In her, I saw many of my former students and their struggles. At points, I just wanted to tell her that I understood and that I cared.
The central theme of the story is one about the meaning of beauty. Pecola believes that by having blue eyes, she will be beautiful. Throughout Morrison’s story, the reader sees how the characters view beauty and interpret in their own way. In the end, Pecola finally attains a tragic sense of beauty.
I loved this novel. I loved the discussion on beauty and the way Pecola, who is only 11, comes to terms with being a woman and what beauty means. Characters throughout the novel all see beauty in different ways, but primarily see beauty as the traditional blonde hair, blue eyes. Pecola’s mother sees beauty in the little white girl she takes care of. Pecola sees it in the blue eyes of china dolls.
Since the novel is set in the year before the United States entered World War II (1941), the views on beauty make sense. This is the era before the Civil Rights Movement explodes and Equal Rights. Whites are still predominant in the media and film, so that image of being fair-skinned, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed is still very much a fact.
It is a novel in stark contrast to today’s images of beauty, which I believe are far more diversified. I think it is more acceptable to see women of all shapes, sizes, and colors as beautiful in today’s day and age, in direct relation to the amount of media saturation we all experience with the internet, television, and movies.
I think that is why Morrison’s story of one “ugly” black girl wishing for beauty is so touching. Even now, with more acceptance of differences in regards to beauty, it is still hard to combat the images being presented. Even when I was growing up, I always wished for blonde hair to match my Barbie dolls and the people I saw on screen. And even though I have blue eyes, it never combated my wishes to be skinner, taller, have a bigger butt, whatever image was being presented.
So I feel for Pecola, as I am sure many do, as she is forced to deal with her image and the situations she is placed in. In the end, she is raped, which also causes her to become isolated even more from the people around her.
The result is a novel that packs a punch. Here is a girl who cannot find someone to take her side and in the end is ostracized for what she is and for a situation that happens to her that she cannot control.
This is a novel I highly recommend. It is touching, beautifully written, and leaves you thinking long after you close the back cover.
I cannot wait to read more by Morrison.