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Themes in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"

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Lauren Gawel

on 6 March 2014

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Transcript of Themes in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"



Pauline and Cholly Breedlove
- deeply in love when first met (116), Cholly saw past Pauline's handicap, when moved to the city they began fighting, Pauline grew detached, they fell out of love even though they had 2 children(118), now abusive emotionally and physically
Frieda and Claudia's parents
- good example of parents
Elihue Micah Whitcomb and Velma
- Elihue was always worried and bring, Velma found this endearing at first, then annoying and left, the loss haunted Elihue for the rest of his life
Cholly and Darlene
- childhood crush, sex resulted in white people mocking him and his hatred of Darlene and his journey to find his father, whilst majorly affecting his relationship with his wife
Cholly and Pecola
- Cholly was drunk and saw Pauline and her lame leg in the way Pecola was standing
Materialism
Shirley Temple cup - Frieda and Pecola 23
White people are more materialistic than blacks because they can afford to be.
Fear of being put outdoors
White dolls/candy - important, white dolls are the prized gift and candy is rare and special
Claudia - not materialistic, hates white dolls, only wants to sit in the kitchen with lilacs and her parents as a gift
Maureen Peal - popular white girl at school, very rich, everyone is jealous of her clothes, offers to buy Pecola ice cream but not Frieda or Claudia
City vs. Country - Pauline lived a simple life as a country girl but when she moved to the city every woman wore heels

Religion
Pauline Breedlove - turned to religion after she became unhappy in her marriage and her husband turned to drink, quoted scripture in screaming at her husband and hitting him with objects (42) , claims to be a very religious person, but barely cares for her children
Soaphead Church - after being left by Velma he set out on his own and ended up pretending to be a miracle-worker in Lorain, Ohio. Many people came to him and he scammed him, he also raped small girls, he made Pecola poison the dog he always wanted dead in return for "blue eyes, (175-76)" he then wrote a finally sincere letter to God believing what he did for Pecola was right.
Role of Parents
Claudia and Frieda's parents - mother took care of Claudia when she was sick but complained and nagged and treated her as more object than child. Did care however as evident by staying up with her and caring for her (10-11).
Pecola's parents ignore their children and fight with each other. They are distant and don't realize the inner turmoil their children are going through from their son running away to their daughter hating herself. Instead of pulling together they fall apart and are put outdoors.
Pauline is more attentive and loving towards the white family she cares for - allows the white girl to call her Polly and puts her above Pecola.
Media
Maureen Peal was popular because she was cute and rich (20)
Media always glorified whites and shunned blacks
Pecola and Frieda were obsessed with Shirley Temple and other talented whites - Shirley Temple cup
The prized present was always a white doll - image of beauty
Media reinforced all blacks' insecurities


Sexuality
Cholly and Darlene - led to hatred and a journey (42)
Cholly and Pauline - began wonderfully with love, ended with anger and abuse, no enjoyment, not always consent
Cholly and Pecola - rape due to drunkenness and seeing Pauline in Pecola's place, lead to Pecola going crazy
Mr. Henry and prostitutes - sex for money, both parties get what they want, but Mr. Henry is doing something he shouldn't in a house that isn't his and he is kicked out
Soaphead Church - touched young girls inappropriately, but claimed they usually came back because he was nice
Perils of Self-righteousness
Soaphead Church becomes self-righteous when he starts "working miracles" but he is never happy (173)
Cholly is self-righteous after moving to the city and his marriage turns horribly wrong, he turns to drink, loses the family's money, goes to jail, rapes his daughter
Pauline is self-righteous after her husband turns to drink - holding God over her family's head - but she is miserable and her family still falls completely apart, partly because of her
Themes in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"
Romantic Love
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