In the first chapter of The Bluest Eye, "Autumn," note that Pecola and Claudia have different opinions about Shirley Temple and white baby dolls. Explain the two opinions and the significance.
The exposition of Morrison's work shows the extent to which race and ethnicity define one's being in the world. Color is a quality that wreaks havoc with one's sense of self- worth and one's image. Both Pecola and Claudia show its destructive impact on their sense of self.
When Pecola first sees the Shirley Temple glass, she is "gazing fondly" at the image of the silver screen star. Pecola and Frieda talk about "how cu-ute
Shirley Temple was." It becomes clear that Shirley Temple comes to represent a standard of beauty that girls like Pecola will never achieve. Pecola's love of Shirley Temple is shown to be a love that feeds off of self- hate. Pecola loves Shirley Temple because of her white skin, her blue eyes, and that she is a standard that the dark- skinned Pecola could never be. As a result of the love that Pecola has for Shirley Temple's white face, she drinks three quarts of milk out of that glass: "We knew she was fond of the Shirley Temple cup and took every...
(The entire section contains 837 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial