Beauty and Ugliness in “The Bluest Eye”

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

Each character had their own way of seeing themselves as ugly. Mrs. Breedlove just kind of dealt with it and moved on with her life, Sammy adjusted his behavior to it and use it strategically, and Pecola hid behind her ugliness.

Their relationship never really works, but it fills their psychological needs because they are both married and have a baby although there are other bad things going on within the relationship itself. Cholly’s drunken life supports Pauline’s view of herself because she views Cholly as a sin that she is forced to take care of. The need that this relationship fills for Cholly is a marriage and a somewhat stable home to come home to.

Pecola is upset with the fights and wishes she could disappear and she knows that the fights will happen and not be part of it, but her brother Sammy is more involved in the fights than Pecola.

Beauty to Pecola is indicated by how important blue eyes to her. She sees a significant amount of the stigma of blue eyes in pop culture and the media, as represented by Shirley Temple. However, it is impossible for Pecola to change her eye color, and thus she is essentially “stuck” in ugliness.

Pecola can’t recognize her own beauty because to her beauty is limited to having blue eyes. As such, she is unable to consider herself beautiful since she constantly equates physical beauty with having blue eyes.

When Mr. Yacobowski sees Pecola, he only sees her as a “black girl”. Whether it is intentional or not, he cannot separate Pecola’s race from her personality or her identity as a whole. As a result, Pecola internalizes Mr. Yacabowski’s racism and her own hatred of herself is heightened by Mr. Yacabowski’s own attitude towards her.

The Mary Jane candy, similarly to Shirley Temple, represents the white ideal of how a little girl should look. Since she doesn’t have the typical traits of a white girl, the only way in which Pecola can identify with Mary Jane is by consuming the candy. In order to buy the candy, Pecola spends three pennies, which are later alluded to when the three whores are first mentioned. They both signify the artificial love that Pecola feels, and how she can only find comfort outside of her home.

The “three whores” are not appropriate sources for information about love because their sexual partners are usually not people who they are in love with. However, they still provide a sisterly style of love to Pecola, and this is important because she lacks love from all of her family members. While they aren’t models for sexual love, they are models for sisterly love in that they have their own sense of community and have escaped tragedy.

Pecola’s confusion when it comes to love is a result of both Dewey Prince and Miss Marie’s relationship, and, more importantly, her parents’ relationship.

Here, Pecola’s innocence is presented along with her misunderstanding of the true meaning of love. She questions whether love can be represented by Miss Marie and Dewey Prince’s relationship, or that of her parents.

Pecola’s definition of love is created by the various societal elements of racism, beauty standards, and family. Thus, her definition of love is problematic at best, and concludes that being loved is the same as being saved.

Pecola’s search for love provides the reader with a feeling of hopelessness, in that every member of her family can’t provide the love that Pecola needs in order to prosper. Furthermore, nobody in her community has shown her any element of appreciation or adoration, which slowly deteriorates Pecola’s identity.

Even though Claudia and Frieda feel that their parents treat them harshly, they know that their parents love them. In this way, the MacTeer family operates as a traditional family, in contrast to the Breedlove family which is fraught with hatred, sexism, and violence.

Maureen is depicted as somewhat false, in that she represents an ideal of beauty that Claudia and Frieda will never be able to achieve. Her hair being described as two “lynch ropes” signifies that even though Maureen, Claudia, and Frieda all experience racism, that Maureen’s light skin tone still seems superior to the skin tones of Claudia and Frieda.

Pecola is used as a scapegoat for the various woes that the black community of her town experience. Because she has no reason to question how people perceive her, she accepts their comments as truthful.

The boys use Pecola’s “ugliness” as a way to demonstrate their frustrations with themselves and the rest of the world. Even though they might exist on the low section of the social ladder, they believe that they are still better than Pecola, and therefore have the right to mistreat and abuse her.

For obvious reasons, Pecola gains little strength from her family. Pauline, Cholly, and Sammy all demonstrate weakness in the ways in which they deal with their problems, and therefore Pecola has no healthy example of emotional strength.

Geraldine scapegoats Pecola because she wants to believe that she has differentiated herself from the rest of her race. Geraldine identifies herself as the prime example of black high society, while she views Pecola as the prime example of poverty in the black community.

Here, “unsurprised” refers to how Jesus had a similar experience to that of Pecola, and how he believes that humanity has treated him badly in the same way that it is treating Pecola badly.

Maginot Line throws the bottle of whiskey at Frieda, Claudia, and Pecola because she is disappointed by their innocence, however later comes to be amused by their innocence.

By giving Pauline a voice, Morrison allows us to develop a closer connection with Pauline and thus gain a sense of understanding of Pauline’s struggles. Thus, it allows us to identify why Pauline does certain things, and why she acts in a certain way towards Pecola. The novel would have been weakened if we didn’t see Pecola’s point of view because our understanding of why Pauline treats Pecola like she does would lack substance.

Throughout the novel, Pauline conflates her desire for love and lust with her love for God. To Pauline, hands represent both sensuality and spirituality, as evidenced by the hymn “Precious Lord take my hand” (114).

Even though the literal meaning of the text discusses the “brown speck” and the decaying of Pauline’s tooth, Morrison uses it as a metaphor for the breakdowns throughout Pauline’s marriage. The “conditions” that Morrison mention refer to the negative qualities that have existed since the marriage began, and how they have slowly taken over Pauline’s life and her ability to achieve happiness.

Even though there has been a “brown speck” since the beginning of their marriage, Cholly’s constant working and Pauline’s dependence on him both emotionally and financially drain the love from their marriage. This, combined with Pauline’s inability to make female friends, illustrates how Pauline’s entire life revolved around Cholly, and thus both Pauline and Cholly gradually felt more claustrophobic as the years passed.

For obvious reasons, Pauline’s desire to look like Jean Harlow is unrealistic. Unfortunately, Pauline equates “white beauty” with all beauty, and thus she can’t view herself as beautiful because, in her mind, in order for a woman to be beautiful, they must be white.

Pauline becomes a devout Christian, in that it is the only part of her life that she can become fully engaged with. In this quote, Morrison signifies how Pauline viewed her children as her sacrifice.

Cite this paper

Beauty and Ugliness in “The Bluest Eye”. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/beauty-and-ugliness-in-the-bluest-eye/



What does The Bluest Eye say about beauty?
The Bluest Eye is a novel that tells the story of a young black girl who grows up believing that she is ugly because she does not have blue eyes. The novel explores the theme of beauty and its relationship to race, gender, and class.
What is Pecola's idea of beauty?
Pecola's idea of beauty is that she wants to have blue eyes so that she will be pretty and people will like her.
What is ugliness in The Bluest Eye?
In The Bluest Eye, ugliness is often associated with race and poverty. The novel's protagonist, Pecola, is considered ugly because she is black and poor.
We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out