Two Black, Poor Female Protagonists Analytical Essay by Research Group

Two Black, Poor Female Protagonists
This paper discusses Pecola and Gwendolen, the protagonists in two novels, Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" and Buchi Emecheta's "The Family" (also known as "Gwendolen").
# 27704 | 1,980 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Jun 16, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , African-American Studies (Gender)

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This paper explains Pecola and Gwendolen, the protagonists in two novels Toni Morrison's ?The Bluest Eye? and Buchi Emecheta's ?The Family?, are characters violated and oppressed in various ways by men and by the society and institutions which uphold the patriarchy. This paper relates that in ?The Bluest Eye?, Morrison explores the theme of male oppression of females in the contexts of racism, capitalism and a world run by and for white people, especially white people with power and property. The author believed, from the beginning of Buchi Emecheta's novel, the same relationship of oppression and violation is established between the black female protagonist and the males in her life.

From the Paper:

"The similarities between the violations of Pecola by her father and Gwendolen by her uncle are many, including and especially the fear the girls? experiences, which drives them into a kind of frozen shock. This experience would be bad enough if its effects were confined to the moment of violation, but in fact they affect the rest of the lives of the victims of this most evil violation by a trusted male member of the family.
It must be noted that in both books the violation of the protagonists by males is a part of the results of the socioeconomic violation of blacks by the system which favors the rich, the powerful, and the whites. Pecola's father rapes her, in part; to win for himself at least a memory of the strong self he lost to the world in which he himself is violated. Uncle Johnny is a man similarly weakened by the system, but, just as importantly, Gwendolen is left alone in Jamaica by her parents who would have otherwise been present to protect her, one at least hopes. Her parents had to go to England to seek better paying work to support the family. It is important to remember, then, that the male violation of the protagonists is simple one step in a process of violation which finds blacks at the bottom of the ladder, with black females at the very lowest rung."

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