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Pecola Breedlove, an 11-year old, poor Black American girl, is the central character of Toni Morison’s The Bluest Eye. Note that the novel’s title is, in fact, based on Pecola’s deep longing for blue eyes. Pecola wants to be loved by everyone and thinks that this will happen only if she has blue eyes. She thinks if she has blue eyes (in fact, bluest of all eyes), she will look very beautiful and all her sufferings will end. This notion comes from the pressures of White standards of beauty (white skin and blue eyes) on the Black community.
The novel’s entire plot revolves around her. We see, everyone in the community tortures Pecola. She is raped and impregnated by her own father. She has an unloving mother who uses harsh words for her. The schoolboys tease her. The end of the novel is even more depressing. Pecola is fooled by Soaphead Church who tells her that her wish of getting the bluest eyes has been granted, and this ends up with Pecola losing her sanity. We are told that Pecola becomes the scapegoat for the entire Black community. Her ugliness makes others feel beautiful and her suffering makes others feel blessed. Through Pecola, Morison presents a devastating example of Black American community’s self-hatred, self-disrespect and self-contempt, arising due to their disbelief in their own beauty.
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