The Development of Agency in "The Bluest Eye" Analytical Essay by bobow98

The Development of Agency in "The Bluest Eye"
An analysis of the development of black female agency in Toni Morrison's novel "The Bluest Eye".
# 152720 | 2,579 words | 1 source | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Apr 22, 2013 in Literature (American) , African-American Studies (Racism) , Sociology (General)

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The paper reviews Toni Morrison's novel "The Bluest Eye" and discusses the character of Pecola Breedlove and her black family. The paper explains that the family is highly dysfunctional, and its individuals all bear a significant degree of suffering in an economic system that exploits blacks. The paper examines Pecola's pursuit of American ideals and whiteness while suffering from despair, abuse, and harmful external opinions that negatively affect her introspective perception, and shows how she embodies the ills of the entire community while she carries the burdens of black society's dreams for social and economic equality. Yet, the paper points out, that in spite of her destruction by this heavy burden, Pecola develops into an individual in the end, demonstrating that the development of black female agency lies not with the group, but rather with the individual.

From the Paper:

"The American ideals in the novel were presented in the form of a Dick and Jane story. Morrison depicts the family as one that was harmonious, with a nurturing environment provided by the adults for Dick and Jane's upbringing. Their mother is "nice" and their father is "strong" (Morrison 3). Additionally, this passage demonstrates the prevalent use of the concept of "play" (3). The "nice" in this sense is analogous to kindness, while "strong" is akin to power, and "play" is the action of unrestrained enjoyment in life. The novel thus indicates that the ideal American family possesses these characteristics. In contrast, Morrison describes the Breedlove family as "poor and black" and possessing a strong conviction of self-perceived "ugliness" (38). Cholly, the father, suffers from this ugliness as a result of "despair, dissipation, and violence directed toward petty things and weak people" (38). This speaks directly to his lack of power, unlike the father in the Dick and Jane story.The constant fighting between Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove also demonstrates the obvious lack of kindness within their family. Sammy, the son, even yells at his mother to kill Cholly when he is rendered unconscious during one of their heated confrontations (44)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Knopf, 2000. Print.

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