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The book, The Blue Eye, was written by Toni Morrison. It was published in early 1970s. It was the first novel of Morrison that is heralded for its boldness of vision together with its richness in language. The setting of the book is in the town of Lorain Ohio. It narrates the story of black girl named Pecola Breedlove who is eleven years old. Breedlove prays that her eyes turn blue so that she will look beautiful as other blond blue-eyed American children. However, she does transform in devastating and painful ways. The book examines the adverse effects of enforcing white, Middle Americans perception of beauty on the upcoming young African American girl during late 1930s and early 1940s. This novel shows the psychological devastations of Breedlove in attempt to look for acceptance and love in a society that despise and do not value people of her race. As she grows up, Breedlove in vain yearns to acquire the American conventional standard of women beauty such blue eyes, white skin and blonde hair as shown to her by white culture traditions and popular icons. In this essay, The Bluest Eye has been compared to the fiction Faulkner’s story, Rose for Emily, handling the same theme, that is, the plight of girl child in America particularly poor parenting.
The Bluest Eye exposes the experiences of the African American girls developing with self-hatred and lack of self-actualization as portrayed by Pecola. In addition to craving for beauty, Pecola is also faced with several challenges in her life including her own father mistreating her to the point of raping her. Pecola looks at herself as ugly without any value for respect and love but hopes that perhaps her life would miraculously transform if she acquires blue eyes. The author tries to portray how physical beauty and romantic love can be the most destructive views in the human school of thoughts. The novel also reveals the role of social class in the development of this young lady, Pecola. Pocola’s father is careless and violent, a drunkard that made her flew away from home to come and stay with MacTeers. Pecola condemns actions of her father, Cholly, but does not want to dehumanize him. Cholly brutally mistreats her daughter and even unimaginably rapes her.
The other story that has several similarities to the novel The Blue Eyes by Morrison is A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner that was written in 1931. It talks about a woman known as Emily Grierson who led a unique lifestyle. In Faulkner’s story, Miss Emily met a Baron Homer, a construction company foreman, during the time when her hometown for the first was getting paved streets. Her father died after chasing away many of her potential suitors. Homer left town at the time rumors went round that Miss Emily was to marry Yankee. During this time, when Homer left town suddenly, Miss Emily purchased a rat poison. Homer was seen return to Miss Emily house but did not leave. When Miss Emily died, it was discovered that Homer died and beside his body laid a strand of Miss Emily hair. This story states serious notes about a woman placement in a society. At this time, a lot transition was taking place in this society. The sidewalks and mailboxes are finally getting to town. Moreover, values of this society are changing. For instance, the older magistrates sympathized with Miss Emily and exempted her from paying taxes while the newer ones tried to collect taxes from her without any success. In the midst of these transformations, Miss Emily finds it difficult in her role as a genteel spinster. Life is unbearable to her without a husband. In attempt to give painting china lessons, she fails and discontinues her students. We see her desire to clutch any relationship even a marriage in death as shown by Homer departure. A Rose for Emily powerful indicates how culture really shapes identity. This is shown by the way that Miss Emily led her life in a very terrible environment.
Both the stories, a rose for Emily and the bluest eyes, share a similar theme that tries to describe psychological frustrations encountered by these two black American ladies, Emily and Pecola. Both of them encounter difficulties during their childhood as we see their parents (fathers) abuse them. Cholly, Pecola father, came home one day drunk and raped her in the kitchen where she was washing dishes. When Pauline found Pecola unconscious after the scenario, she could not believe it and ignored Pecola. Although it is not indicated when exactly, Cholly raped Pecola again. She became pregnant with her father and was forced to have his child. This raises a lot of gossip from neighborhood making Pecola to live a life full of self-hatred. Her frustration increases when the baby died and she opts to move towards the edge of the town together with Pauline. At this point, she is seen to be losing her mind and even begun to pick through trash. At one time, she could be seen looking at her image on the mirror and talking to herself concerning her blue eyes.
Similarly, in the rose for Emily, we see Emily Grierson leading a very frustrated life in the society. She is isolated from the rest of people in the surrounding. This could be seen during her death as the narrator recalled the time of her death and how the whole town came for her funeral function at her home after that no stranger had entered for close to more than a decade. Just like Pecola, her careless and violent father who was an alcoholic also brings up Emily. Their neighbor had believed that Griersons had thought too high of themselves. The many suitors who were driven off deemed not good enough to marry Emily by her father could see this. This makes her turn thirty with no offer for marriage. As crazy as Pecola with the blue eyes, she refused that her father was not dead when visited with town women who went to offer their condolences. She denied her father death for three days and finally turns her fathers body for marriage when threaten by the state laws.
A theme that comes out clearly from The Bluest Eye is racial discrimination. This stemmed from the notion that the blacks were inferior to the white as they went to America as slaves. This definition of American notion of beauty is still real in many parts of the world up to today. This preoccupation has led to the use of cosmetics that supposedly would improve the black complexion and hence beauty. However, in the story, a rose for Emily this racial discrimination does not clearly comes out though they are Negro.
In both the narratives, there is the theme of tragedy. In the Bluest eyed, it is seen with Pecola quest in search for beauty through acquiring blue eyes. She looks for some thing that she is not. This indicates that the blacks have bought the idea of white standard of beauty as shown by blue eyes. She even visits Soaphead Church, a person with mixed percentage of white and black. She is desperately in search of blue eyes. This portrays God as injustice as He gives people different colors and with sense of inferiority and superiority which in real does not apply. The theme of tragedy is also evident in William narrative, a rose for Emily. Apparently, she inherits nothing from her dead father apart from the house she is living in. in section three of the story, the author describes a long time illness that encounters Emily after the death of father. She has a lot of frustration up to the point of buying poison as the narrator indicates the fear of the townspeople that she will use the poison to kill herself.
In both the stories, there is estranged development. They show other people affect our development and behaviors. We can see how the town’s people influence Emily, her father and Homer in A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner. This has negative influence on Emily both physically and mentally. From the way Emily father treats her, we are in a position to observe how an individual can influence our sense of self and mental development especially if they are constrictive. Through the townspeople, we are able to see how alienation influence from others can make us feel lonely and cause negative effect on our cognitive development. In the Bluest Eyes, by Toni Morrison, we similarly see how people influence can have on us. We see how neighbors influence Pacola’s life especially when she was pregnant with her father. She opts to fly away with Pauline and there we see her mental sense deteriorating further.
In conclusion, the two stories address real issues that affect us in a society, particularly women. This is seen when Pecola fights for identity and acceptance in the society. She suffers from self-hatred and self-denial. This contemporary issue affects female in the contemporary world as they fight for identity. In Rose for Emily, she suffers isolation particularly after the death of her father who drives her off all her potential suitors. She leads a terrible life then after.