What Are the Themes in 'The Bluest Eye'?


Quick Answer

"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison deals principally with racial and sexual themes, such as the perceived aesthetic supremacy of white people and the sexual exploitation of black people by white men. The novel also explores the power of fiction as a tool of deception and distortion. Often, these negative aspects of fiction are self-destructive, as is the case of Pauline Breedlove's conviction that she is ugly and loathsome.

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Another way in which the power of fiction for delusion and self-deception is explored is through the stark contrast between the adults' hope for Pecola's baby to die and Claudia and Frieda's positive spin on it.

Fiction can also be a force for good, however, as exemplified by Claudia's rejection of white people's aesthetic supremacy over black people, despite the racist climate in which she lives. Her conviction that black skin is beautiful is not shared by others in the story, who consider Maureen to be more attractive because she has a lighter complexion. Likewise, Pauline Breedlove displays more affection for a white girl than for her own black daughter.

Blue eyes, a racially white characteristic, are considered by Pecola to have an almost magical quality of protection. She longs for blue eyes, more than white skin, in the belief that they would enable her to see differently and prevent others from committing evil deeds in her presence.

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