Morrison makes references to candy in most of her novels, but in The Bluest Eye candy imagery is especially powerful. There is a scene where Pecola buys Mary Jane candies in Mr. Yacobowski's store and feels "inexplicable shame," the pedophile Mr. Henry lures little girls with candy, and Pecola's mother, Pauline Breedlove, loses her front tooth when she bites into a piece of candy at the movies. Candy seems to be associated with both shame and sexuality. What is Morrison saying with these images?
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As a symbol, candy is a reference that we typically associate with children and all the connotations of childhood: joy, purity, and innocence. Placing candy as a symbol in scenes that center around shame regarding identity and sexuality challenges our perceptions of how we justify feelings of shame. When Pecola buys Mary Janes from Mr. Yacobowski, he is disgusted by the thought of touching her hand, and Pecola internalizes this shame. But should she?
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