Concluding The Bluest Eye

Many of you are beginning to understand how The Bluest Eye both offers counternarratives (petite histoires) to the primer excerpts (grand narrative) that preface each section of the novel, and shows the destructive power that such simplistic ideals of white beauty and prosperity can have on those whose families and homes do not match them. At the same time, the novel also hints at all of the familial and social problems that can be hidden within such an idealized nuclear family. You will have the chance to explore this topic further on the Postmodernism Exam and Essay, if you choose.

In reading The Bluest Eye, it’s important to note that Morrison was explicitly exploring complex social and economic issues within the black communities of a midwestern town–not simply opposing black and white realities, as if there were no class differences within each segment. For this week’s blog response, please keep that point in mind as you address both of these questions.

  1. Intraracism is racism within racial groups. How is it portrayed in The Bluest Eye? How does it relate to white middle class values and ideals of beauty? Cite and analyze evidence.
  2. How are sexuality and its repression, including the darker sides of it such as pedophilia, prostitution, molestation, and rape, represented in the novel? What do these different aspects of sexuality have to do with one another, if anything, in the narrator’s view?                                                                                                                                    Avoid simply focusing on rape, and make logical connections in your analysis rather than making a list. Consider three characters from this list: Mr. Henry, Cholly, Geraldine, Mrs. Breedlove, Soaphead Church, Rosemary, Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda. Cite and analyze evidence.
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57 Comments

  1. 1. The Bluest Eye does contain some intraracism, but the most well known would be Pecola’s intraracism. Her self-esteem is constantly being lowered, which is why she wants blue eyes so badly. There is one point in the novel where Pecola and her foster sisters are in a fight with another girl and the girl yells out, “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!” (Morrison, 73). Considering that the little girl, Maureen Peal, saying this is also black makes this another example of intraracism. Pecola’s hate is fueled by self hating because she has always been told that she is not pretty because she is black.

    2. The topic of sex and rape throughout this has mixed emotions for different characters in this novel. Cholly, Pecola’s father, rapes her with mixed motives of tenderness and hatred that’s fueled behind guilt, but it also results in her getting pregnant and then her father wants nothing to do with her. But in chapter 6 Frieda is molested by Mr. Henry, her father reacts by punching Mr. Henry while Claudia is curious about her sister’s experience (Morrison, 98-100). When it concerns Pecola, it seems that nobody in her town where concerned over her after her father had raped her. Her own mother had beat her and said that it was her fault that it happened. The only ones that seemed to care for her were her foster sisters and they could only do so much because they were children themselves.

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    1. Its sad that Pecola is raped by her own father and she doesn’t have anyone to rely on. I agree that she alone and doesn’t have someone to care for her own well being. Her father is predator that doesn’t care of what he has done to his own daughter. It’s horrible that her own mother beats her because she is victim and what happened to her was not her fault. great response.

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    2. I agree that Pecola self-hate is also fueled by how others are treating her because of her skin color. Pecola was already isolated because of her skin color but when her father raped her she became even more isolated and alone. Even the adults judged her a child for what her father had done to her.

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    3. It seems that in this novel sex is used as a way of oppression of women, and if rape happens they tend to blame the women rather then the man who assaulted the girl. Just like in today’s society when rape happens people ask “what was she wearing?” like why does that matter, no matter what men do not have the right to touch women in any way without their consent.

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    4. I really like that Morrison exposed this side of the story, that evens kids can get blamed for the actions that happen TO them. Pecola is alone after her father rapes her, and still she is considered ruined and disgusting. Morrison expertly brings the focus to something that happens to often but is hushed up so the grown man or woman doesn’t receive any punishment.

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    5. I agree and am saddened that Pecola had the worst situation with both her assault and constant bullying. I also can’t help but wonder that if her looks were different appealed more to the white standards of the time whether or not the whole town would be more upset and more empathetic to her situation. We see in the chapter regarding Junior that even people within the race are afraid of this thing that they called “wild blackness” , the less likely you are or easier identified as black the harsher your treatment sees to be. It just seems the less your able to align yourself with the majority the easier it is for racists and intraracists to assign negative stereotypical traits on you. It’s a sad thought to consider that if Pecola’s situation would’ve been experienced by a lighter more wealthy individual, the town might have actually acted morally and not just shun her or even goes as far as to blame the young girl for having been made a victim

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  2. Intraracism is portrayed in The Bluest Eye through the character Geraldine. She is black but she sees herself above other black people because she thinks her class status puts her above them. She looks down on girls like Pecola calling her a “nasty little black bitch”. It relates to white middle class values and ideals of beauty because Geraldine sees herself as being closer to this white values and white beauty. Geraldine never had a problem getting a boyfriend and eventually getting a husband. She is thought of as pretty. She also has never been dirt poor she lives a comfortable life financially. Geraldine sees herself above other blacks because of her class and her beauty.
    Mrs. Breedlove did once enjoy being with Cholly but as he continues to come home drunk there sex life turns into him throwing himself on her before she is even awake. At first she enjoyed waking up to him but that eventually went away. “But it ain’t like that anymore. Most times he’s thrashing away inside me before I’m woke, and through when I am.” Cholly stops caring about Mrs. Breedlove’s needs and only his which leads to more and more resentment. As the resentment grows Cholly begins wanting to feel something more than he has sexually, which leads him to forcing himself on his daughter. When he rapes Pecola this leads her feeling very confused and hurt. The whole novel all she wants is to be loved and her father ends up loving her in a way that hurts her very horribly.

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    1. Yeah i agree that Mrs. Breedlove did love being with her husband, but I felt that she regretted being with him. Everything was not going her way and Cholly was predator that wants his ways sexually. He is nasty person because he ends up raping his own daughter for own sexual desire. I feel bad for poor innocent Pecola who is a victim of rape because she just wanted love from both of her parents, but ends up being neglected from both.

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    2. I agree that the color of both Maureen and Geraldine skin and how they dressed made the society in the book see them as closer to the white society standards. I believe all Pecola wanted to be is loved as well and seen for who she is by her parents. In parts, she wonders if her family would be happy and stop fighting if she was pretty.

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    3. I agree that Geraldine does see herself as a superior black and tends to discriminate against other colored people. It is ironic that the novel is all about Pecola wanting to be loved yet she does get “loved” by her father but not in the right way like a father is supposed to instead he takes advantage of her which is wrong.

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    4. I agree that Geraldine is the embodiment of intraracism in the novel. She views herself as superior because she was lighter skinned and dressed more like the white beauty standards of the day dictated. She even made sure her son looked and acted the part as well and kept him from playing with kids she viewed as inferior.

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    5. I agree that Geraldine’s attitude towards other black people is a good example of intraracism. Calling a little girl “a nasty black bitch,” even though she is also black is hypocritical and just plain mean. She is a little that has been harassed by practically the entire town and she does not need another person messing with her. Especially, when Mrs. Breedlove is also black.

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    6. I agree with your analysis on Geraldine. The lightness of her skin color allows her to feel superior towards the other girls and she was raised in a different socioeconomic background. Instead of befriending the other girls she is condescending and cruel. This had a direct influence on how someone such has Pecola would view themselves.

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    7. I agree with your comment on how Geraldine sees her self bing closser to the white people, being how she treats and talks to Pecola which is just bizzare being that she is black just a lighter shade. And this is sad because this is all Pecola ever really wants it to resemble what she thinks is in due to societies standards during this time.

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    8. I agree that white standards were a major influence on the way Geraldine treated her own race. However, seeing as this is an example of intraracism, not all the blame should be put on these “white standards”. As you said, her economic status was also important; anybody could easily consider themselves more valuable than the people that are less wealthy than them. Success and beauty, while considered good things, can also lead to people acting like a pompous ass. In short, one’s economic status is another major factor in producing inequality.

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  3. Light skinned individuals are treated better than dark skinned characters in the novel, particularly regarding the Breedloves and the other black families that they encounter. Pecola experiences the racism of one of her classmate’s mothers, who, despite immediately recognizing her pain and struggle as a dark-skinned young woman, projects all of the negative attributes she has grown to associate with dark-skinned blacks onto Pecola, commanding her, ““Get out, you nasty little black bitch. Get out of my house” (Morrison, 92). Additionally, Pecola, Frieda, and Claudia all see the racism of their peers when they consider the delicate treatment of light-skinned Maureen in their class compared to their own treatment, and Maureen’s own perception of superiority towards them, as she exclaims: “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!” (73). Maureen’s earlier admiration of the white actresses she sees in cinema is a further testament to her light-skinned beauty ideals, as she describes a film in which the protagonist is also named Pecola: “where this mulatto girl hates her mother cause she is black and ugly but then cries at the funeral […] She was so pretty (67-68). In Maureen’s example, the admirable character is the light-skinned woman who loves her black mother in spite of her blackness, presenting a direct affront to the appearances of Frieda, Claudia, and Pecola.

    Cholly’s experiences with sexuality are particularly scarring, as his first sexual encounter essentially took place in front of a white audience. His manhood (as defined through his sexuality) becomes a mockery and a spectacle for hateful viewers. This has a negative and lasting effect on how he views Darlene, (the girl he was caught having sex with) black women, and himself over the course of his life, as the narrator describes, “For now, he hated the one who had created the situation, the one who bore witness to his failure, his impotence. The one whom he had not been able to protect, to spare, to cover from the round moon glow of the flashlight” (151). Cholly’s emasculation causes him to manifest his anger toward white men into an anger toward women, and then to associate female helplessness with a sexual desire to offer protection (as shown in the description of his arousal and rape of Pecola). Similarly, sexuality is both a point of fascination and a mark of shame for Frieda and Claudia, as they are entranced by women like Marie but fear her because she is “ruined.” They begin to understand womanhood in terms of sexuality, such as in the witness of Pecola’s first period and Frieda’s molestation by Mr. Henry (whom they had earlier seen conversing with Marie and the other prostitutes). After he touches her breasts, Frieda cries that she doesn’t want to be ruined, likely not fully understanding what this implies. Claudia, too, thinks this issue of ruination, which she associates with Marie’s obesity, could be solved easily: “But, Frieda, you could exercise and not eat” (101). The sisters’ childlike understanding of sexual condemnation also comes from their personal experiences with adult sexuality, but offers a lighter view of the issue than stories like Cholly’s.

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    1. I really enjoyed your analysis about how the three character’s dealt with sex as a whole. I agree that because of Cholly’s unfortunate past he uses that as an excuse to allow himself to feel helpless towards his sexual desires. And I agree with your perspective about how Frieda and Claudia view sexuality; they are at the age where changes are happening to their bodies and to others around them and they needed the proper guidance of an adult. However since many of the adult figures were absent or emotionally closed off the two young girls had to rely on the knowledge of one another.

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    2. We also see this type of intraracism with Mrs. Breedlove and “the little girl in pink” when Frieda and Claudia go visit Pecola. Mrs. Breedlove allows this girl to call her Polly while her daughter has to call her Mrs. Breedlove and then beats her daughter after she accidentally spills a pie on the floor but comforts the crying white girl. It was interesting and terrible to see this mother treat her daughter like a punching bag but love this other girl just because of her lighter skin. I also really like that you concentrated on Cholly’s repressed sexuality and how he comes to rape Pecola. It’s a really good analysis of the text.

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    3. I agree with you that light skinned people are treated better in the novel as well as feeling superior to darker skinned individuals. I like how you brought in Cholly’s first sexual experience. I think that is important to note because it really affects the way he sees sex. I think it is definitely one of the reasons he ends up taking advantage of his own daughter. The downward spiral of his life begins with that one sexual encounter.

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    4. The voyeuristic situation which occurred in which Cholly was forced to copulate in front of a white audience created a lasting effect on the rest of his life. The associations and resentments that existed after the act were all responsive to the traumatic event. The way he acts out on his family and those close to him is an indicator of the strife and torment Cholly experience being made to have sex in from of the group of white men.

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  4. Yes, there is intraracism in the novel because there are some characters are referred by the color of their skin like “white men” or “black men” and never by their name. For example, “When white men beat their men, they cleaned up the blood and went home to receive abuse from the victim” this can show how ugly racism is (138). The Bluest Eye is portrayed by the effects of racism have on children. Morrison describes the greatest problem of specific groups being targeted because of racism. For example, African- Americans are targeted in the novel and white is not they are viewed more superior in beauty. An example that shows how racism has a huge effect on the characters and the speaker “ I felt a need for someone to want the black baby to live –just to counteract the universal love of white baby dolls,” this passage shows white vs black beauty and how they want to equal of how they see themselves (190).

    Pecola is a not only a victim of rape, but her father is the one that raped her and she doesn’t have anyone on her side. Her father Cholly rapes his own daughter which is sickening because he is a predator and he also gets her pregnant. Pecola is a poor victim of her father, but she finds her voice and she find a way to not self-hate herself of the color of her skin she finds the beauty. Cholly is a nasty person because he just brings negativity to the novel because of what he did to his own daughter. “Noooo. He touched me. where? Here and here. She pointed to the tiny breasts that, like two acorns, scattered a few faded rose leaves on her dress,” Mr. Henry is accused of touching little poor Frieda breast (99). Mr. Henry gets beaten up by Mr. MacTeer for violating his daughter. There is self-hate and oppression on ethnic identity because racism is always brought up in the novel.

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    1. It is tragic that Pecola has no one on her side after her rape and during her pregancy. I would have expected her mother to be sympathetic to the situation instead of blaming her for the whole thing. Especially since Cholly forces himself on Mrs. Breedlove when he is drunk.

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    2. It is sad that Pecola has no one on her side when her father rapes her. And also Mr. Henry is deplorable for touching Frieda’s chest. Also, I agree that the intraracism is obvious because most men in the novel are referred to as “white men” or “black men.”

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    3. I agree with you, African Americans are targeted in the novel. In the novel, the white race seems to be the only race that is beautiful. Racism does have an effect on the characters. It is sad that Pecola has no support after being raped by her father.

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  5. Intraracism is a major role in the Bluest eyes and how the characters see each other. After school, Pecola was circled by a group of boys where she was taunted because of the color of her school. The boys who taunted her were all black boys, but it didn’t seem to click with them that they were all the same color. “It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth” (65). What made the boys pause for a second in their taunting of Pecola was the sighting of Maureen the light-skinned new student. Maureen seems to be treated differently than the darker students because of both her skin color and the way she dressed was close to that of white people. When Maureen learns of Pecola name she goes on to tell her about a girl in a movie with the same name. “Where this mulatto girl hates her mother cause she is black and ugly but then cries at the funeral” (67). This quote details the Intraracism portion of the book often times the darker skin characters are treated differently and thought to be ugly where it is the exact opposite for the lighter skin characters.
    The book displayed taboo sexual experiences throughout; Mr. and Mrs. Breedlove having sexual contact while their children are in the room. Mr. Breedlove committed unspeakable acts on his daughter Pecola. And the women who live above the Breedlove’s who are prostitution, not to mention the molestation from Mr. Henry on Frieda. “And we did not dwell on the fact that the baby’s father was Pecola’s too” (190). Pecola was outcast by her peers and even adults because of what her father had done to her.

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  6. 1. Unlike the usual signs of racism that we are used to seeing in novels or movies, The Bluest Eye essentially investigates the issue of prejudice happening between the same ethnic minorities. There are few white characters in Morrison’s novel, and no real white characters, yet prejudice stays at the focal point of the content. Since the novel includes for the most part dark characters, “whiteness” exists on a range. The novel’s characters utilize the other dark people as reference focuses on which they judge their own “whiteness” and feeling of self-esteem. Qualifications are drawn in light of the shade of one’s skin, the tint of one’s eyes, and the surface of one’s hair, however when these markers miss the mark in characterizing one’s race, characters decide on financial, instructive, religious, provincial, and inherited contrasts to characterize their “whiteness”. Geraldine endeavors to separate herself and her family from seeming dark by fixing her hair, utilizing spot on Junior’s skin to shield it from getting to be noticeably colorless, and keeping her home flawlessly perfect. In like manner, Soaphead Church utilizes his white legacy, place of the source, and instructive foundation to characterize his “whiteness”.
    2. In The Bluest Eye, sex is related to viciousness, mortification, and corruption. Cholly’s first sexual experience is combined with mortification and disdain, as the white men constrain him to assault Darlene. Frieda’s first sexual experience is constrained upon her by Mr. Henry and makes her trust she has been demolished. What’s more, Pecola’s sexual start occurs through rape. Men in the story utilize sex as a way to persecute the ladies in their lives. Their sexual wishes are misshaped by their past sexual disappointments and their thoughts concerning the estimation of ladies. Cholly’s first sexual experience prompts his disdain of ladies, the scorn of his own race, and his sentiment being unlovable. The blend of these things prompts the assault of his girl. There are cases of ladies who get away from the viciousness and mistreatment of sex. This avoidance of sexual persecution, be that as it may, comes just through passing the purpose of being sexually attractive, or through abusing one’s sexuality as a way to pick up control over men. M’Dear and other elderly ladies in the group encounter opportunity since they are no longer craved as sexual items. The Prostitutes misuse their own sexuality to pick up control over men, however, this strategy for picking up power prompts self-loathing and disdain of the inverse sex. Sex remains as the essential type of mistreatment in the novel. Pecola’s assault prompts her definitive downfall. Through this experience, Pecola encapsulates the staggering impact of sexual viciousness, and the abusive drive of sex in these ladies’ lives.

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    1. I really like how you noted that most of the characters in the novel have a bad first sexual experience. It is interesting how each one reacts differently to their own horrible first sexual experience. Cholly becomes angry while Frieda is confused and unsure she knows it was wrong but is still to innocent to realize what someone has done to her. On the other hand Pecola has something even worse happen to her and it cause her to get lost in her own mind.

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  7. It seems the more a minority possess’ Eurocentric traits and is able to align themselves with ideal “whiteness” and all of its traits the higher regarded and more respected they become, not only in the eyes of the racist oppressor but by their racial/ethnic peers. As we see by Claudia, Frieda, and the narrator’s mention exercises in intraracism is an infliction instilled by years of conditioning the minority to hate their racial identifiers and favor those of the white counterpart be it because of the traits ability to translate into a blending free of harassment and violence or because of the warped belief that they are simply better and prettier. Despite a wide recognition and hatred for the wider more rigid practice of racism which portrays two simple cut sides (white and black) but analyzing the acts of intraracism portrays the prejudice more as a spectrum, the closer to the white side, the easier the life, the more beautiful the being and subsequently the closer to the white side, the easier to be mean, judge, and inflict racial prejudices and those farther from it. We see how intraracism ties into white middle class values and beauty standards in the cases of Geraldine, Junior, and Soaphead Church. In the case of disgusting pedophile Soaphead Church, we see a certain type of intraracism some would now deem “colorism” in which his main concern with erasing pigment by diluting black features through generational bloodlines. His family being “so proud of their mixed blood”(167) describes their quest to hide their black heritage as “marrying ‘up’, lightening the family complexion and thinning out the family features”(168). Depth of melanin is usually the first descriptive identifier for characters as we see by Church’s description, Geraldine’s deeming as a “pretty milk brown”(again aligning her with whiteness and thus a false by societal accepted superiority), and one of Juniors first descriptive introduction as not a mean angered boy but a “light skin boy”. Geraldine’s teachings and Junior’s experiences details the complexity of intraracism which goes beyond melanin identifiers. Their practice deals with awfully racist and stereotyped personality traits of the “loud and dirty niggers” vs the “clean and quiet colored people”. In the world of the racist and intracist the word “black” is wrongfully interchangeable with a rigidly negative description. The intraracist is a nervous creature weary of the “wild blackness”(87) looming over their procured white accepted position whether that position had been gained by bloodline and thus physical dilution of the black gene or by a strict policing of action. Working to distract and deflect from their own ethic identifiers by joining in on the mocking and casting away of those without the same wealth and euro-trait attainments. Noting the very VAST difference between the two experiences in terms of harshness and time period, I’m still reminded of the analysis of “The Jazz Singer” in which it was proposed that Jackie’s dive into blackface was an ill attempt and masking his identity as an ethnic minority. The racist vaudeville performance, an act not only to appease and entertain the white majority but again, deflect his lower social status by playing on the suffering of another. As the narrator put it, “the line was not always clear: subtle and tell tale signs threatened to erode it”. Since those at the time, couldn’t just erase and replace their black features in a single lifetime, the second best thing seemed to be aligning themselves closer to the white majority by comparing to someone with darker skin, a thicker brow, or poorer socio-economic status. Where Shirley Temple was the ultimate white beauty standard and social being on one side of the spectrum, Pecola found herself Temple’s counterpart as not only the “very black girl” Junior describes but the ultimate image of blackness. Sadly, where Frieda and Claudia recognize the beauty and pride to be found in Pecola’s physical being, the rest of this story’s society saw her as a tool of intraracism to elevate their own esteem. Pecola is repeatedly described with the most detail in comparison to any other character though it seems these descriptions do little for the readers understanding of her character specifically (for example her beautiful non ambiguous features like dark eyes are not symbolic of an equally dark inner character), Instead these descriptions are presented as a base for comparison with other characters. Claudia puts it best as she solemnly reflects on the way her peers always felt “so beautiful when they stood astride her ugliness”. In the piece, the more black features a character lacks the more likely they are to begin a judgmental comparison.

    I was having trouble definitively deciding what the narrator was trying to say about sexuality and repression until finally, ive decided she’s not trying to say anything really (as in make a new assumption or pursue any type of lesson in particular) instead I think she simply seeks to portray the complexities of these aspects fully. Her characters are never fully condensed into a single entity. Often times we like our characters simple, the good guy and the bad guy, The innocent and the whore next door but thats not the case. In fact the three prostitutes living above the Breedloves are arguably one of the sweetest most giving likeable characters of the novel. They embody no typical troupe like the golden hearted hooker who simply got swept into the life or the selfish drug addicted characteristics often tacked onto the escort. They represent a side of sexuality that (though often looked down upon by society) is not only free of expression but totally unmanipulated by any other being beyond “the three merry gargoyles”(55) themselves. Even with negative little description like gargoyles the women and their lack of sexual exclusivity does little if anything to affect their positive casting. On the opposite side is of course the issue with Cholly and Pecola. Its hard to ever admit sympathy with a rapist and though usually these types of predators are monsters are monsters only, I don’t think it was the intention to soften the digust and affect of the rape but instead make it that much scarier that a once likeable, normal, and hurt being could later inflict even worse pain than his own past experience. By giving us a look into Cholly’s past (especially his ruined first sexual experience) the narrator makes his actions if anything not understandable but palatable I guess. The most noteable example of repression as well as Cholly “never once did consider directing his hatred toward the hunters. [As] such an emotion would have destroyed him, they were big, white, and armed men. He was small, black and helpless.”(150). Supressing and misplacing his anger gives the reader an inside look into his motive behind years of abusing women and though they don’t make up or excuse them, something about understanding makes them more conflicting as it takes away the ability to deny our own suppressing of admitting anyone is capable of future ultraviolence, pushing forward a cycle of unhealthy repression and action. His inflinction on Pecola as they completely took away the possibility of a natural sexual and even psychological development which of course we see her outright refusal to discuss and thus work through the awful rape and leads to her misplacing her demons, eventually driving her insane. Though sexuality is portrayed as an inherent part of our being, it is clear just how far sexual violence and repression can infiltrate all other aspects of our developing lives.

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    1. I found it interesting that one of the characters who prides himself on being partially white was Soaphead, one of the more disgusting characters in the novel, as if Morrison wanted to juxtapose his outer “purity” with inner corruption. Your connection to The Jazz Singer was also a very valid point that I hadn’t considered. Regarding the description of Cholly’s rape of Pecola, I found the section deeply disturbing, but in a humanizing context that made it all the more frightening, as you suggested.

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  8. 1. Intraracism is portrayed in the Bluest Eye by mixed and lighter skinned characters thinking they are superior than the darker skinned characters. It is also in how they act and speak. The characters think it makes them more superior. Pecola is often rejected, abused, and mocked by these characters because she has dark skin. Junior, who blames the death of his mother’s cat on Pecola, was raised to believe these things. “His mother did not like him to play with n******. She explained to him the difference between colored people and n******” (page 87). Junior was already raised to treat darker skinned African Americans differently than lighter skinned African Americans and white people. This mindset allows him to treat Pecola so poorly.
    2. Sexuality is portrayed in many different ways. There are prostitutes who laugh at the people who think they are dirty, there is an innocent curiosity found in children, then there is a sort of forbidden side to it out of Godly fear. Soaphead Churh had dealt with repressing homosexual feelings as well as with losing a woman he cared about. “He could have been an active homosexual but lacked the courage” (page 166). As disgusting as it is, he enjoyed acting out his sexuality on little girls because he found them to be clean and innocent. Cholly discovered his sexuality at an early age when he was with Darlene. It was consensual at first until two white men humiliated them both and made him continue to have sex with her as they watched, “I said, get on wid it. An make it good..” (page 148). Cholly ended up being angry at Darlene for the incident. I think he carried that anger with him through out his life. I’m not sure if it’s why he did what he did to Pecola, however. When Frieda is molested by Mr. Henry, Claudia asks, “Really? How did it feel?” (page 99). Instead of being horrified, she is curious about the physical contact. She isn’t aware yet of what sexuality is just yet.

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    1. I completely agree with your statement of lighter skin tone versus those of darker skin tone. People who are lighter do not want to be affiliated with the disgusted ways darker toned people are treated so they classify as whites therefore treating others that other treats those darker tone people. To be considered beautiful Junior and his mom do exactly this in order to be admired. Great response.

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    2. I agree with you, there is racism between the light colored and dark colored races. The lighter skinned characters do not want to be involved with the darker skinned characters in any way because they feel superior. I like your analysis. I agree, the girls do not seem to be too aware of their sexuality.

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  9. On way intraracism is portrayed in The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison is through the character Geraldine. Geraldine has lighter skin than most other black women in the novel and she believes herself to be superior for it and teaches her son, Junior, the same mentality. “The line between colored and nigger was not always clear; subtle and telltail signs threatened to erode it, and the watch had to be constant” (Morrison 87). She also tells Jacob that he is the former because he “wore white shirts and blue trousers; his hair was cut as close to his scalp as possible by the barber” (Morrison 87). This relates to white middle class beauty because that was their beauty standard at the time. Geraldine dressed her son as close to this white beauty standard as she could because she thought they were superior to other black people.
    In the novel sexuality is all connected to power. Cholly’s first sexual experience was with a “country girl” when they were caught by two white men who made him finish as they watched (Morrison 42). Cholly was humiliated and these men asserted their power over him but he “had not hated the white men; he hated, despised, the girl” (Morrison 42). He turned his anger, hatred, and frustration on the person he thought he has some power over because he knew he could do nothing to the white men. This anger towards women initiated by the humiliation he felt during his first sexual experience led Cholly to later assert himself sexually to feel power. When he is in a drunken state he rapes his wife, Mrs. Breedlove, and he later rapes and impregnates his daughter Pecola. He seems to feel this is the only way to assert power and to possibly make the humiliation he felt during his first experience less painful. The prostitutes that live in their building assert similar power. They hate men and “abuse their visitors with a scorn grown mechanical from use” and they “took delight in cheating men” (Morrison 56). These women use their sexuality to assert power over men. It seems that the narrator is trying to saw that hatred can twist and change any aspect of life.

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    1. I agree with your statement about sexuality and power in the novel. In the discussion of sexual violence. I often hear that rape is about power, not lust or sexual desire, and I think that Morrison did a good job of showing this in the case of Cholly and his rapes of Mrs. Breedlove and Pecola. The larger point you made about hatred twisting and changing people’s lives could also apply to society’s treatment of Pecola and their perceived superiority over her.

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    2. i totally agree with what you said about the need to be a certain type of beauty relates to social class. Because Geraldine is of lighter tone she does not identify with those whom are of darker tone because of the categorization it alludes to. Great response.

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  10. There are copious amounts of intra racism found throughout the novel. “Cholly Breedlove, then, a renting black, having put his family outdoors, had catapulted himself beyond the reaches of human consideration. He had joined the animals; was, indeed, an old dog, a snake, a ratty nigger” is a description by the narrator about Mr. Breedlove. He was looking down upon by the town because he let his family go homeless. ‘White kids; his mother did not like him to play with niggers. She had explained to him the difference between colored people and niggers” is another example of how the narrator seems to refer to the people of her same race as something worse than colored people. It is almost as if she prefers to use the derogatory term instead of a more appropriate term because that is what she is worth. In her eyes, black is not beautiful. These lines alone show the effects that racism has on children because they grew up to know that they are not considered worthy enough to be recognized as anything other than a nasty word. If all these children are growing up with the mindset that it is okay to be referring to others as the n-word, then, of course, they would expect others (those not of their same race) to not treat them any different.

    Throughout the novel, sex is portrayed as something both intimate and humiliating as well as intimate and natural. In the beginning, Pecola begins menstruating and by the end, she is she sexually abused. Her perspective on sex is now negative and traumatic. Frieda’s experience is similar to Pecola, she is violated by Henry Washington and proceeds to have a negative connotation in regards to sexual desires. Cholly Breedlove was caught having sex by two white men who proceeded to tell him to keep going while they watched. Also traumatic and extremely unfortunate. What all of these characters have in common is the loss of self or being seen but not heard. These people were all victims of sex crimes, partly because of their race, and that encompasses one of the main themes of the novel: suppressing your desires/ideas at the cost of others.

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  11. One example of the intraracism portrayed in the novel is when Cholly and Pauline move to Lorraine, Ohio, and Pauline describes her encounters with other black people: “Northern colored folk was different too. Dicty-like. No better than whites for meanness. They could make you feel just as no-count, ‘cept I didn’t expect it from them” (Morrison 117). This explanation of the intraracism in the north depicts the feeling of being better as a person because they’ve lived around a lot of white people for their whole lives. Pauline’s need to fit in with the other black women in town also shows a class difference since all these women could afford makeup and nice clothes and Pauline had to get a second job to afford the same things.

    The repression of sexuality manifests itself in Frieda and Claudia as a complete lack of sexual knowledge. When Mr. Henry molests Frieda, he simply touches her breasts, but Frieda is terrified that she will be “ruined,” a concept she still doesn’t fully understand (Morrison 101). Claudia responds to this as Frieda being afraid that she will become fat and tells her to not eat. Their innocence hinders their understanding of what actual happenings and hurts them on the whole since Frieda won’t be able to work through what Mr. Henry has done until much later. Claudia is also slightly jealous of the trauma her sister has just gone through instead of being supportive because of the lack of communication about sexual habits and the difference between good and bad ones.

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  12. 1.An example of intraracism in The Bluest Eye, is how members of the community and of Pecola’s family view her. They all think she is a very ugly child. Pecola’s mother, Ms. Breedlove whom was obsessed with the idea of white beauty, talks about how Pecola was a bright infant “But I snowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly” (126). Considering that her mother was inclined toward the ideal white beauty, she did not hide it from her own daughter and saw her as being completely ugly. Not only did her mom think this but people in the community thought the same thing as well. When word got around that Pecola was pregnant by her father some of the people made comments like “She be lucky if it don’t live. Bound to be the ugliest thing walking. Can’t help but be…two ugly people doubling up like that to make more ugly. Be better off in the ground”(190-191). This shows how people within their own community not only have a standard of beauty placed on them by outside forces, such as the ideals of white beauty, but a standard amongst themselves. They judge their own people based on the color of their skin and how they appear and judge their actions evermore based on their appearances.

    2.The way sexuality is portrayed in the book is hardly one of happiness or pleasure. In most cases it seems to be something of duty, fascination or even a way to release anger on another individual. For example, when Cholly was young and was with Darlene and the white men found them having sex. At first, the encounter between Cholly and Darlene was innocent but as soon as those men came and forced them to continue while they watched the act became one of anger. Cholly “Hated her. He almost wished he could do it—hard, long, and painfully, he hated her so much” (149). Cholly often uses sex to be angry and aggressive towards individuals who have placed him in situations he never wanted to be in or was ashamed of, like with Pecola when he became a father.
    Ms. Breedlove has come to the point where she engages in sex to feel wanted by her husband who has grow away from her. She describes a sexual encounter when they are laying in bed and she longs to feel him but does not force it and waits for him to make the move on her and it is the only form of real connection they have between each other. However, now that they have grown apart from each other, he doesn’t ease his way onto her anymore but forces himself onto her as if it is her duty to please and satisfy him (129-131).
    In other cases, sex seems to be a point of fascination with the characters. With Mr. Henry and Soaphead Church, there is clearly the element of pedophilia, but it stems from this sick fascination they have of sex and the bodies of young girls. In both cases, the young girls are not raped but there are boundaries that are crossed.The portrayal of these situations are sickening and stem from an odd place inside of them. It is strange how Soaphead justifies his actions as being obsessed with these girls in their innocent state.

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    1. I thought the same thing about Pecola when I read the book. She’s thought of as ugly, but it’s because she doesn’t meet the beauty standards of the time. Her mother treats the little white girl she works for better than her own child.

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    2. I thought the incident with Cholly and Darlene was a traumatic incident for them both, and Morrison was commentating on how fragile people can be due to external forces. What should have been a learning experience for the two of them probably did much more psychological damage to them because they went from consenting to being coerced. In that moment, the experience shifted in the opposite direction. Then, Cholly basically turns into a villain, and his negative views of sex are a factor for why he becomes destructive to his family. I understand Morrison touched on a variety of aspects of sexuality, and I can only assume that this is a more difficult subject to discuss in books because of how quick we are to judge. Cholly is undoubtedly a bad person for what he did to Pecola, and Morrison did an interesting job detailing his back story to try to get us to understand how a normal teenager can slowly turn into someone we hate.

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  13. Intraracism is portrayed in The Bluest Eye when Claudia mentions how the black people who owned homes like to put a lot of their energy and care into them. She continues by saying that they are like desperate birds who invest much of their time and effort into their “hard-won homes.” She goes on to say “Renting blacks cast furtive glances at these owned yards and porches, and made firmer commitments to buy themselves ‘some nice little old place.’ In the meantime, they saved, and scratched, and piled away what they could in the rented hovels, looking forward to the day of property” (Morrison 18). They seem to look up to the fellow blacks who have achieved what they would like to have as well someday. It seems racial because it seems like the black race are the only ones who truly appreciate their achievements such as buying a home because it must have been difficult for them to do so in comparison to the white race.

    Pedophillia is represented at the beginning of the novel. The second section says “We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow.” Pecola is raped and becomes impregnated by her father. The scene with Cholly and Jake seems to represent prostitution. Jake and Cholly go to a banquet. They see girls chatting with each other but their attitudes change once they see Jake. The narrator describes it as “They had gotten a whiff of his manhood and were shivering for a place in his attention” (Morrison 144). It seems like prostitution because it is similar to when men go find a woman to sleep with. Prostitutes try to get the attention of men because they want to get paid. Cholly is able to get Darlene to go with him and he has sex with her.

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  14. In The Bluest Eye intraracism is vividly evident throughout its entirety. With interactions many of characters have with others of the same race, racism is portrayed due to different shade of color one might be. For example Junior is of black ethnicity but since his mom is a slightly lighter shade she doesn’t identify with colored people so she wants her son to do the same. “White kids; his mother did not like him to play with niggers. Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud. He belonged to the former group” (87), meaning they did not want to be affiliated with the darker shade of black people. This shows that they did not want to be presumed of a lower social class and deemed ugly so they associated with white middle class to be considered beautiful.

    Three characters of The Bluest Eye prominently question sexuality and the curiosity that surrounds it. One of them being Pecola, wherein she longs to be loved by her family but when she is unfortunately raped by her father, she is confused on whether this disgusting sexual act came out of pure love and if so why didn’t it feel that way. Another character wherein they question sexuality is Frieda. She believes if one were to proceed in such act, terrible things would only come out of it. For example she is really fond of Mr. Henry, but when he inappropriately touches her she freaks out because she doesn’t want to end up like Marie the prostitute. And lastly the final character is Claudia who questions what it must feel like when any sexual acts are made. For example she wonders how it felt like when Mr. Henry touches Frieda and sort of becomes jealous because she didn’t get to experience however not knowing what terrible act it was. Therefore the curiosity of sexuality is evident within these three innocent girls.

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    1. Its crazy how people have this concept of how a lighter shade black person is as opposed to a darker shade black person, and how the adults in the novel make this separation even within the children, who are supposed to be innocent and usually are known not to see color but love and acceptance. I agree with your interpretation of intraracism and how Junior is molded to be this mean kid due to his mother and how she treats others.

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    2. Interracial racism was very prevalent during this time. The disassociation of darker black people is very interesting as well as sad. Have you ever heard of the “brown paper bag test?” It is an interracial concept that those who are darker than a brown paper bag are too dark.. Its horrible.

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    3. I despised Junior. I felt that out of all the characters, I sympathized with him the least. I know that his mother is partially to blame, and it is fascinating that in her pursuit to be treated differently, she rejects others of her race because they are darker, and imprints these beliefs on her son. It is sad that this commentary is still relevant today, even with different races. White people do not want to be represented by “white trash”, and our society differs drastically even when we look at just one race of humanity. It is unsettling to me that this commentary will probably be relevant as long as there are people. Morrison, to me, seems to be saying that humans will always try to separate themselves into polarizing groups to make themselves feel superior to others.

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    4. I like that you included Claudia’s curiosity in the sexual repression section. Without having experienced much, she is curious and wonders what it feels like to be desired, whether it be in good or bad intention. As young ladies that are maturing, it is normal to be curious, but with so much abuse and inappropriate actions, they begin to imagine sexuality as being something negative and scarring.

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  15. Intraracism is racism within racial groups. How is it portrayed in The Bluest Eye? How does it relate to white middle class values and ideals of beauty? Cite and analyze evidence.

    Intraracism is perceived in The Bluest Eye through both to themselves and other people. Pecola’s deal with wanting blue eyes, for example, is something that can definitely be considered intraracism. Pecola values blue eyes more than her own eyes, and its very often that by not only white people that she is considered an ugly child. Frieda, for example, recalls a picture book where “this mullato girl hates her mother cause she is black and ugly,” (67). Pecola herself believes that she is beyond being black herself, saying to someone else that “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly! I am cute!” (73) towards Maureen. I feel that most of this is definitely related to how blacks, especially Pecola, overvalue white middle class people than anyone else.

    How are sexuality and its repression, including the darker sides of it such as pedophilia, prostitution, molestation, and rape, represented in the novel? What do these different aspects of sexuality have to do with one another, if anything, in the narrator’s view? Avoid simply focusing on rape, and make logical connections in your analysis rather than making a list. Consider three characters from this list: Mr. Henry, Cholly, Geraldine, Mrs. Breedlove, Soaphead Church, Rosemary, Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda. Cite and analyze evidence.

    There is definitely a lot of sexual repression throughout the book, some which are lashed out in unfortunate ways such as Pecola’s rape near the end of the book by her father. Cholly, Pecola’s father, has been the victim of sexual shaming, however, whenever Cholly and Darlene were caught having sex by two white men who threatened to kill them while having sex. I honestly thought that part was completely horrifying, because the constant laughter, “Hee hee hee hee heee,” (149) and the constant threat of them being killed unless they stop having sex was just surreal. This event mentally scars Cholly as well, which is when he begins to starts to break down. He starts to beat women, he starts to kill people, and then finally, he goes to rape his own daughter, Pecola, in a way that his mind suggests wants to express “tenderness, a protectiveness” (162), but instead is brutal. We then end with the Soaphead Church at the end of the novel, who writes a letter to God. The writing moreorless just admits that he’s just a pedophile, the line “Consider: Their hopeful eyes that were outdone only by their hoping breasts” (180) the clearest indicator of it. I think the previous question perhaps can really relate to all of this.

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    1. I agree with you that the scene when Cholly is caught having sex was horrifying. The idea that these two young black people were being forced to continue having sex out of fear for their lives while two white men with guns laughed is horrific. What makes this scene even more unsettling is the reality that this happened to real people.

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  16. Intraracism is addressed in the context that some black characters see themselves as lighter skinned, and therefore superior, to other black characters. One dangerous aspect that is brought up is the passivity of the character Junior’s actions towards other children. It is said that, “His mother was upset. His father just kept on reading…” (Pg. 88). A lack of care from his parents only helped strengthen his negative attitude towards others, specifically Pecola. He hardly sees Pecola as human, and after throwing a cat on her and she tries to escape, he says, “You can’t get out. You’re my prisoner” (Pg. 90). This is not something normal children tell other children, and Junior has developed a toxic view of other people within his own race. There is an unhealthy strive to be white, and better off that Junior, consciously or subconsciously, believes he will reach if he rejects and humiliates others of his own race.
    One of the saddest parts of the book is when Cholly is with Darlene and they are caught by some white men. Here, sexual repression is addressed at a specific, individual level. When they are caught, it is said that, “He hated her… he hated her so much” (Pg.148). One minute the two are sharing an experience, but because it is interrupted and there is coercion, the experience flips and becomes harrowing. Cholly wants nothing to do with Darlene afterwards, and even runs away. The feelings of happiness and disgust are displayed again when he is with his daughter, Pecola. It is a dark moment when it is described that, “The hatred would not let him pick her up, the tenderness forced him to cover her” (Pg. 163). He has done a terrible thing to his daughter by forcing himself onto her when she does not fully understand what is occurring, and he does not erven have the decency or the intelligence to ensure she is fine afterwards, leaving Pauline to find her when she wakes up. Abuse and rape are typically seen as black and white, but Morrison steps into the grey by showing us Cholly’s perspective. Perhaps she is trying to use his negative experience as a teenager to have the reader sympathize with his later actions, and while the odd combination of guilt, disgust, and “tenderness” when he forces himself on Pecola is not meant to lessen the impact of what he has done, it is used to try and better understand how a person or character can turn into the villain. This grey area was touched on earlier in the book when Frieda was molested. Even though it was a harrowing experience for her, Claudia’s curiosity gets the better of her and she asks, “Really? How did it feel?” (Pg. 99). This is not a reaction that one would typically ask of a victim, but because Claudia is young, she does not fully understand what has happened. Ignorance of right and wrong, and what can hurt others is detailed in these different situations throughout the book. Morrison is making it evident that a lack of knowledge of sexuality and repression of sexuality can hurt others in the long term.

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  17. 1. Intraracism is represented in The Bluest Eye throughout the whole novel. During this time in which the novel was written, it is expected to read about instances of racism from other racial groups, but when reading the story we see that its not only the other group but the black people themselves expressing it towards one another. The blacks on the story make it a big deal to degrade each other, being bullies to their own culture. Pecola and Frieda experience racism from their fellow classmates with things like, ” Black e mo. Black e mo. Yadaddsleepsnekked…”(65). The descriptions that they give of the other blacks as well help with the portrayal intraracism in the novel, ” This disrupter of seasons was a new girl in school named Maureeen Peal. A high-yellow dream child…”(62). They based wealth and looks based of the color of one another skin color, assuming the darker you are the poorer you are and the more one was prone to be mistreated, making it almost as if the darker skinned black people are the actual representation of being black and the lighter skinned black people being their own race, colored people, “Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud. The line between colored and nigger was not always clear…”(87) At a point in the novel, Pecola herself would pray every night for lighter skin, straighter hair, and colored thinking this is what would make her beautiful and admirable.
    2. Sexuality and its repression is represented in the novel in several ways. Looking at characters like Mr. Henry, it is evident that he is an older horny pedophile. When Frieda and Pecola come to his house looking for their mama, Mr. Henry tries to give the girls his sex appeal as they, “gave him the giggle he was accustomed to” (75) all the while he flirts with them. The girls also catch Mr. Henry as he is licking the fingers of women in his home. Pecola seems to encounter a lot of instances where it seems as if she is going to get raped or molested. She encounters Junior in a very creepy pedophile way in which he invites her into his room to see his cat. Not only does he invite her in just to throw the cat at her, but when she tries to escape he runs in front of her saying, “You can’t get out. You’re my prisoner” (90) all the while pushing her down to the ground to make sure she doesn’t escape. Cholly also experienced a lot of problems, having a very strange encounter with some racist white males as he was having sex with Darlene. Although they both had sex and was basically done with it, the males basically gave Cholly no other choice but to continue to have sex with her as hey said to him, “Come on, coon. Faster. You ain’t doing nothing for her”(149).

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    1. I like that you pointed out the fact that there were several different types of racism portrayed throughout the novel. Not only are the whites being racist to blacks, but the blacks are also taking a racist stance towards their own culture. The degree of one’s whiteness directly correlates with increasing belief of self-importance. In the process, the blacks are degrading their own culture, and considering their people to be of less value than the whites. As you said, “they were bullies of their own culture”, because they clearly misconstrued their own self-worth, constantly comparing themselves to “white standards”.

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  18. The best example of interracial racism presented in The Bluest Eye comes from the character Maureen Peal who is half black. Morrison expresses interracial racism and beauty expectations through Maureen by describing the privilege that her half whiteness provides her. When Morrison describes Maureen she references how the children and teachers at school view her differently from the other black children. She is given more privilege because she is half white, Morrison discusses how the even the white children like her and treat her better. Interracial racism is also expressed in the interaction between Claudia, Frieda, Pecola and Maureen. When the girls are walking home from school they have an encounter with some young black boys who are picking on Pecola, the boys are chanting “black e mo black e mo….” (p.65). This is and example of interracial racism because these boys are also black. When the girls are walking in the town and Claudia and Maureen get into an argument, again we see an example of interracial racism, “Black? Who are you calling black?’ ‘You!” (p.73). It is evident in Morrison’s portrayal of Maureen that he is the closest to being beautiful and excepted because she is half white.

    The theme of sexuality is very prevalent in the novel. Aside from the principal of pedophilia, the themes of sexual behavior are express in a sinful manner. The younger characters are afraid of the theme and the older characters understand it, yet have different view points when it comes to sex. Primarily the women tend to not particularly enjoy sex, and this is a standard concept for the time and the culture. The men have a different perspective on sex as well, being more of the mindset that they can just “take it” from the women, and that consent is applied, or even unnecessary. Primarily Morrison expresses this theme as a sin.

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    1. Maureen is a great example of racism as she is light skinned. She is not accepted in her community because of this, but at school and among society, she is very much treated differently and able to express her “white-privilege” freely. She is not dark, and has physical characteristics that are more socially acceptable and seen as more beautiful among society.

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  19. 1) Examples of intraracism can be seen throughout “The Bluest Eye”. One particular instance occurs when one of the narrators, Claudia Macteer, is reminiscing. She says, “The Breedloves did not stay in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty… They lived there because they were poor and black… and stayed there because they believed they were ugly (p.38).” Although Claudia was a child at the time, she was well aware that the Breedloves’ appearance and economic status did not “meet the standards” of the white middle class. By having such an opinion, Claudia disparaged her own race, and considered whites to be of more value. Claudia then goes on to say “The master had said, ‘You are ugly people’ (p.39).” Whoever she is referring to as “The master” is clearly a reflection on society. Whites had constantly made an effort to prove that they were better than other races, especially blacks. As a result, the black community felt burdened by the color of their own skin, yearned for the priveledges that the white class held, and degraded themselves in the process.
    2) Different aspects of sexuality integrate with each other in “The Bluest Eye”. For example, acts of pedophilia are also clear instances of rape and/or molestation, and vice versa. One character, Cholly, rapes his daughter Pecola on several occasions. Him being a pedophile, the novel states, “The love would move him to fury. What was he supposed to do about that? Return it? How? (p.54).” Clearly, Cholly is deranged, and enjoys the power he holds over Pecola. This is also similar to the way he regards his wife, Mrs. Breedlove- “She was one of the few things he could touch and therefore hurt (p.42).” Another quote reveals the brutality of their sex life- “They fought each other with a brutal formalism that paralleled only their lovemaking (p.43).” His pleasure comes from the mistreatment and sexual acts he inflicts upon his daughter and wife. Another character, Soaphead Church, is a pedophile as well. A telling quote reads, “His sexuality was anything but lewd; his patronage of little girls smacked of innocence and was associated in his mind with cleanliness. He was what one might call a very clean old man (p.58).” This quote is quite contradictory, as Soaphead is clearly the opposite of a “clean old man”. His sexual attraction to young girls correlates directly with his attempt to purify himself; both racially and spiritually. In this instance, the concept of innocence is grossly manipulated to extend to his own sexual desires. In the narrator’s point of view, sexuality is represented throughout the story in a very dark way. It reveals the likelihood that men tend to force themselves upon women, rather than the other way around. It also shows the deranged nature of pedophiles: the way they think, and behave.

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  20. 1.
    When Pecola was around literally anyone, she would be called ugly. From the moment where Mr. Yacobowski, the owner of the neighborhood candy store is repulsed by the thought of touching her hand to Geraldine being disgusted by the image of Pecola being in her perfect little home, racism between the same race is clearly evident. Gerlandine was trying to form her family into what white middle class families class values were. She did not believe poor, black folks were beautiful and did not want her son to hang out with dirty, poor, Pecola as she saw her. It was known around the neighborhood that the Breedloves were ugly people, but they did not seem to fight it off, they simply were used to that and got adjusted to the issues it brought: “You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question” (Morrison 39). This quote allows the reader to understand that being “ugly” is something that the Breedloves lived with and did not try to fight off. They simply understood that they were perceived in that way and passed that lack of confidence on to their children. One more thing that the girls did that expressed some form of racism among the same race is that they did not believe Maureen was beautiful because she was mixed: “Do you like Maureen? Oh. She’s all right. For a half-white girl, that is. I know what you mean” (Morrison 196). The girls saw her as different from everyone else, yet she was popular at school because of her appearance. However, the young full-black girls of the neighborhood despised her for something she had no control over.
    2.
    When Pecola got her period, she didn’t know anything about it. It was not something that was spoken of very often so she thought she was dying when she started bleeding: “A brownish-red stain discolored the back of her dress. She kept whinnying, standing with her legs far apart. Frieda said, “Oh. Lordy! I know. I know what that is!” “What?” Pecola’s fingers went to her mouth. “That’s ministratin’.” “What’s that?” “You know.” “Am I going to die?” she asked. “Noooo. You won’t die. It just means you can have a baby!” (Morrison 26-27). This conversation among the girls shows that by not speaking of something that happens to the girls once they hit puberty, they became scared and curious when it actually happened. This story takes us from the first time Pecola realized she was a woman to the time where her womanhood was violated by her own father. Morrison writes, “Had he not been alone in the world since he was thirteen, knowing only a dying old woman who felt responsible for him, but whose age, sex, and interests were so remote from his own, he might have felt a stable connection between himself and the children. As it was, he reacted to them, and his reactions were based on what he felt at the moment” (Morrison 160-161). Cholly was not one to be able to control his emotions, as that did not work for him in the past and he reacted out of pure impulse when he took advantage of Pecola while she was patiently doing the dishes on that Saturday afternoon. Morrison showed the reader the progression of Pecola’s womanhood with these two events and gave a sort of “explanation” as to show the reader where Cholly’s unforgivable actions stemmed from.

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  21. In The Bluest Eye, individuals with lighter skin possess an advantage over those with darker skin.  The Breedloves and other black families have darker skin which leaves them at a disadvantage.  Pecola witnesses the racism from and towards her peers when they as they harass a girl in the street: “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!” (Morrison 73). Maureen is very fond of the girls in the films she views, believing the ways the white women are treated in the movies is how she’d like to be treated in reality.  However, the disparity between reality and movies is far too great to ever culminate the two with any success.  

    The sexual deviation experience by Cholly was instigated by his voyeuristic episode enforced by the group of white men.  That event served as the catalyst for the pedophilia and disallowed him from ever being sexually normal again.  Pecula is the victim of his dark episodes and of the impulses he is unable to repress.  He lashes out at the women around him in a way the evokes a true torment from his sexual being; a true displeasure with his actual self.  

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