How does the theme of invisibility come up in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of invisibility comes up in many ways in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.  First, Pecola is largely "invisible" to the residents of Lorain.  After she loses her mind at the end of the novel, the townspeople see her walking about, but no one tries to help her in any way and they simply pity her miserable condition.  Throughout the novel, the only people who really take the time to acknowledge Pecola are the prostitutes who are shunned by the so-called upstanding townspeople.  Claudia comments on the nature of Pecola's invisibility early in the novel when she talks about people's love for little white girls, dolls, and anything associated with them.  Girls like Shirley Temple are symbolic of societal standards of beauty that pervade our society.  Those who do not fall into these standards are shunned by others and internalize this loathing.  Pecola sees the picture of little Mary Jane on the candy wrappers at Mr. Yacowbowski's store and she wants desperately to have the candy, yet Mr. Yacowbowski will not even touch Pecola's hand to take the money.  In these ways, Morrison explores the theme of invisibility in the novel.

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The Bluest Eye

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