The Bluest Eye 2 — страница 2

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snippets show just how prevalent and important the images of white perfection are in Pecola s life; Morrison s strange typography illustrates how irrelevant and inappropriate these images are. Names play an important part in The Bluest Eye because they are often symbolic of conditions in society or in the context of the story. The name of the novel, The Bluest Eye, is meant to get the reader thinking about how much value is placed on blue-eyed little girls. Pecola and her family are representative of the larger African-American community, and their name, Breedlove, is ironic because they live in a society that does not breed love. In fact, it breeds hate hate of blackness, and thus hatred of oneself. The MacTeer girls are flattered when Mr. Henry said Hello there. You must be

Greta Garbo, and you must be Ginger Rogers (Morrison 17). As for the name MacTeer, an argument can be made that it refers to the fact that the MacTeer girls are the only ones who shed a tear for Pecola. Claudia says we listened for the one who would say, Poor little girl, or Poor baby, but there was only head-wagging where those words should have been (Morrison 148). Soaphead Church represents, as his name suggests, the role of the church in African-American life. I, I have caused a miracle. I gave her the eyes. I gave her the blue, blue, two blue eyes, Soaphead says (Morrison 143). The implication is that the church s promise that if you worship God and pray to Him that everything will be alright is no better than Soaphead s promise to Pecola that she will have blue eyes.

Morrison reveals the significance of Pecola s name through the character of Maureen Peal. Maureen confuses Pecola s name with the name of a character in the movie Imitation of Life. By this allusion, Morrison illustrates that Pecola s life is an imitation (meaning the same as, not inferior to) of the real experiences of black women. Black women have held, have been given, you know, the cross. They don t walk near it. They re often on it (Stepto 479). Morrison also uses metaphors to describe the conditions under which African-Americans in general and Pecola in particular are forced to live. There are two major metaphors in The Bluest Eye, one of marigolds and one of dandelions. Claudia, looking back as an adult, says at the first of the book “there were no marigolds in the fall

of 1941″ (Morrison 9). She and her sister plant marigold seeds with the belief that if the marigolds would grow and survive, so would Pecola’s baby (Morrison 149). Morrison unpacks the metaphor throughout the book, and, through Claudia, finally explains it and broadens its scope to all African-Americans on the last page. “I even think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruits it will not bear . . .” (Morrison 160). The implication is that Pecola, like so many other African-Americans, never had a chance to grow and succeed because she lived in a society (”soil”) that was inherently racist, and would not nurture her. The other flower, the dandelion, is important as a metaphor because it

represents Pecola’s image of herself. Pecola passes some dandelions going into Mr. Yacobowski’s store. “Why, she wonders, do people call them weeds? She thought they were pretty” (Morrison 41). After Mr. Yacobowski humiliates her, she again passes the dandelions and thinks, “They are ugly. They are weeds” (Morrison 43). She has transferred society’s dislike of her to the dandelions. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison tells the story of a little black girl who thinks that if she can live up to the image of the blue-eyed Shirley Temple and Dick and Jane that she will have the perfect life that they have. The importance of this book goes beyond its value as a work of literature. Morrison speaks to the masses, both white and black, showing how a racist social system wears

down the minds and souls of people, how dominate images of white heros and heroins with blue eyes and wonderful lives show young black children that to be white means to be successful and happy, and then they look around at their own lives of poverty and oppression and learn to hate their black heritage for keeping them from the Dick and Jane world. Morrison does not solve these problems, nor does she even try, but she does show a reflection of a world that cannot call itself right or moral.