Economic the most desperate” (Valentine). The yayyanovel

Economic circumstances created a great consequential stress on the lives of those living during the Great Depression. But the strength and determination they presented throughout it all shows truly who they are as people. This is portrayed within the Breedlove and MacTeer families in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Despite environment shared between Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda, the family values and strength portrayed within their lives impact their lives both positively and negatively.The Bluest Eye is set in Lorain, Ohio during the Great Depression.  The Great Depression was a rigorous worldwide economic depression that occurred during the 1930’s. “Subjected to the whims of racism and classism, particularly potent in the post-Depression 1930s and early 1940s, the people of Lorain have to work hard to ensure that their existence is secure. Their actions are often controlled by their legitimate fear of being displaced, of losing the central marker of stability and identity, the house” (Gillespie). “The 1930s were marked by severe economic depression, generated mostly by a drought that lasted most of the decade” (Valentine). “…poverty rates were at an all-time high” (Valentine). Due to the high taxing and crashing of the stock market, economic life was rather difficult. For African Americans, who already had it rough, life only became worse. “… life for African Americans during the Great Depression hit a new low. Despite the dismal situation, African Americans still managed to achieved some uprogress in civil rights” (Valentine). “Tensions were high, and African Americans were among the most desperate” (Valentine). The yayyanovel takes place in the rural south. Time and place ends up making an impact on the prosperity and actions of characters. The Bluest Eye is set in south Ohio during the late 1930’s after the Great Depression. The protagonist, Pecola, is a black poor young girl who struggles with who she is. She sees herself just as everybody else, ugly. Her greatest desire is to achieve beauty. She sees white women as pretty, so she tries to attain those characteristics. She ends up trying to make her eyes blue through a man that apparently makes dreams come true. When she achieves these blue eyes, not literally, but in her mind. But she ends up slowly losing her mind because of these very blue eyes.Pecola Breedlove was a predominant character in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. She displays the loneliness, anger, and misapprehension she carries within herself throughout the novel. Pecola displays an abundance of strength throughout the story while withstanding the pain and suffering that is appointed to her by those around her, and some from herself. She is taunted and abused, both mentally and physically during the novel by some of those who she believed she could trust and refer to as friends. Because of this, Pecola aspired to be something she wasn’t, beautiful. “Her greatest desire, however, is for love, which she thinks she could achieve if only she could possess blue eyes” (Evans 7-8). Pecola was well known in her neighborhood for being the girl who was “ugly and poor, living in a storefront, sharing a bedroom with her brother, her crippled mother and drunken father” (Frankel). Beauty became Pecola’s main focus in life. She set out to live her life through the famous Shirley Temple, a beautiful white girl with bouncy golden curls, and slowly allowed it to take over her life. “Her greatest desire, however, is for love, which she thinks she could achieve if only she could possess blue eyes” (Evans 7-8). Pecola believes that in attaining blue eyes, she will be viewed as beautiful. “ugly and poor, living in a storefront, sharing a bedroom with her brother, her crippled mother and drunken father” (Frankel). The author is giving a brief description in this quote of how Pecola was seen to those around her. Pecola and her family were the topic of discussion at times, and most of the people in town saw them just as Frankel described. “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights—if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different” (Morrison). Pecola is an essential character within The Bluest Eye. Her low self esteem and weak minded ways display a negative outcome of the Great Depression.Claudia MacTeer is another central character featured within this novel. Claudia comes from a tough loving, yet structured household. “Claudia MacTeer is the daughter of Mrs. MacTeer (Mama) and Mr. MacTeer (Daddy) and the primary narrator of the novel” (Gillespie). Her parents are hardworking and take great interest in the wellbeing of the children. “Claudia knows from her mother’s care of her when she is ill that she is loved. As a result, Claudia is able to show affection for and love people in her life, namely Frieda and Pecola. This ability to love transcends her coming of age and explains her sense of responsibility for Pecola even after she is an adult and Pecola is beyond help” (Gillespie). Claudia, being the narrator, provides readers with an insight of her thoughts and feels towards almost everything. “The Bluest Eye can be characterized as a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age story, featuring Claudia as the primary character undergoing the transition between childhood and womanhood” (Gillespie). Claudia is an essential character throughout The Bluest Eye. Not only because of her role as narrator, but also because of how her values and strength display a positive outcome of the Great Depression.Abuse comes in more than one form. It can be exhibited mentally, physically, and emotionally. In Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Pecola Breedlove unfortunately endures all three. Pecola, a young black girl, struggles to accept her own appearance. She doesn’t think she is beautiful and she strives to be like others. Not many in her neighborhood or school accept her. One day Pecola is invited into the home of a fellow school peer who she believes is warming up to her. She begins to feel accepted and takes the young boy up on his offer. She becomes attracted to Junior’s cat. Junior, who finds joy in bullying girls, doesnt like that Pecola is at such peace with the cat. He sets her up and startles both Pecola and the cat, by throwing the cat at her. The cat attacks Pecola and scratches her up. The cat becomes injured by this, and when Junior’s mother comes home to see this unkempt black little girl along with her wounded cat she is confused. Junior lies to his mother and tells her that everything was Pecola’s fault. Junior’s mother then talks belittles Pecola and kicks her out of her home. At this moment, Morrison’s use of personification is presented. Junior personifies himself for the jerk of a child he is. His mother personifies herself for the racist rude woman she is, and Pecola personifies herself as the reserved little girl who endures the stress of everyday life. This only add’s to the doubt and hurt Pecola carries around with her.Pecola repeatedly endured abuse numerously throughout the story. One case in particular was the dramatic irony displayed in her being raped by her own father.  Cholly Breedlove, Pecola’s father, rapes her in the novel not once but twice. Cholly was a very and drunk and mentally unstable man. He wasn’t supportive of his family, neither financially or emotionally. Cholly comes from a troubled past. He was once watched and taunted by white farm owners when having sex with a girl in his youth. Cholly enters the kitchen, under the influence, to see his daughter Pecola washing the dishes. This image of his daughter takes him back to a time when he was young and first saw Mrs. Breedlove, Pecola’s mother. With Cholly being drunk, he pins his helpless daughter to the ground and forcefully rapes her, still seeing her as her mother. When his is able to realize his action, he stops and walks off. After this encounter Pecola lays there helplessly, and later just goes on. This diminishes the little self esteem she possessed. These events were perfect examples of foreshadowing. Cholly’s childhood and past reflected his actions towards his daughter and affected her childhood in a similar way. This is another event which contributed to the downfall of Pecola.Claudia and Frieda played the role of sisters in the novel, but in reality they were more than she sisters. They were each others confidant, backbone, diary, but most importantly they were best friends. Claudia comes home one afternoon to hear the sounds of her sister, Frieda, crying. She enters the room to see what’s going on, and her sister tells her that their houseguest, Mr. Henry, touched her breasts. Frieda also goes on to tell her that her father beat up Mr. Henry and chased him out of the house. In the past Mr. Henry raised suspicion of himself when he had woman in the MacTeer household without their knowledge, and when caught by the girls he told them he was having bible study and bribed them to leave. This situation is a direct example of how different yet similar the lives of Claudia and Frieda are from Pecola. Mr. MacTeer acted as his childs protector and took action when his child was hurt or effected in the slightest. He is the provider of his family, he plays his role and he plays it well. Unlike Mr. Breedlove who continuously inflicted pain upon his daughter and family. I saw these events in the novel as an example of simile. Simply because of the differences in reaction and similarities in situation. This event gave readers a chance to compare the MacTeer and Breedlove families. Morrison gave a deep insight into both traumatizing situations and reactions.Pecola relates to her father in many ways she isn’t even aware of. Cholly too was abused as a child, just as his daughter was. Cholly went through a lot as a child. His mother didn’t want him so he was raised by his aunt. When his aunt died from technicalities, he went in search of his father. He was then let down when his father let him down. He was stuck to fend for himself and learn life alone. He unfortunately when through a rather traumatic experience after his aunts death. At the time he was about 12, and his aunts repast was being held at his home. He was mixing with the other group of kids that were present at the repast. The children ended up running off and stumbled upon a large open field. Cholly strayed away with one of the girls and they began engaging in sexual activity. They were then discovered by 2 white farmers who taunted them and forced them to keep going. In this event, Cholly personifies himself to readers through this traumatic experiences he goes through, and gives an explanation on why he is who he is. Cholly, who went through a similar experience as his daughter did, turned around and did no better to Pecola than what the white men did to him.One of the theme’s identified in The Bluest Eye is the standard of beauty, and who it affects. In the novel, Pecola is affected the most by the standard of beauty she sets for herself, but also for what other set for her. Pecola doesn’t see herself as beautiful, and the opinions of others dont assist in changing her mind about this. “Thrown, in this way, into the binding conviction that only a miracle could relieve her, she would never know her beauty. She would only see what there was to see: the eyes of other people” (Morrison). “As the novel concludes, Pecola-still obsessed with becoming a pretty, white girl- seems to have lost her mind” (Evans). Pecola’s view of herself seem to be results of what is going on around her. The ugly depressing outside world that doesn’t accept her, is trying to be economically repaired. All while Pecola is trying to do just that, change herself to what she thinks is better. Pecola yearns for beauty, if there’s nothing else in the world she wishes to achieve, its an appealing appearance. Pecola Breedlove speaks for many black children who don’t quite understand why they are who they are, or what they are. Not understanding why they don’t have nice hair or pretty eyes like white girls do. Or why they aren’t used as public figures just as the little white girls used in advertisements. Rather than seeing that they are beautiful in their own skin, or that they are blessed to possess such rich dark brown eyes and beautiful bouncy thick coils. The Bluest Eye and all its research that comes along with it personally helped to boost my confidence as a young black woman. Claudia’s strength uplifted my soul and helped me relate to the strong independent young lady she is. Pecola’s struggles assisted me in looking deep within myself to learn and accept my insecurities, and instead look at that as things that define the beautiful person I am.


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