A Reality Of Presence
Shared by: rahulbose
1186 In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shows that anger is healthy and that it is not something to be feared; those who are not able to get angry are the ones who suffer the most. She criticizes Cholly, Polly, Claudia, Soaphead Church, the Mobile Girls, and Pecola because these blacks in her story wrongly place their anger on themselves, their own race, their family, or even God, instead of being angry at those they should have been angry at: whites. Pecola Breedlove suffered the most because she was the result of having others’ anger dumped on her, and she herself was unable to get angry. When Geraldine yells at her to get out of her house, Pecola’s eyes were fixed on the “pretty” lady and her “pretty” house. Pecola does not stand up to Maureen Peal when she made fun of her for seeing her dad naked but instead lets Freida and Claudia fight for her. Instead of getting mad at Mr. Yacobowski for looking down on her, she directed her anger toward the dandelions she once thought were beautiful. However, “the anger will not hold”(50), and the feelings soon gave way to shame. Pecola was the sad product of having others’ anger placed on her: “All of our waste we dumped on her and she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us”(205). They felt beautiful next to her ugliness, wholesome next to her uncleanness, her poverty made them generous, her weakness made them strong, and her pain made them happier. When Pecola’s father, Cholly Breedlove, was caught as a teenager in a field with Darlene by two white men, “never did he once consider directing his hatred toward the hunters”(150), rather her directed his hatred towards the girl because hating the white men would “consume” him. He was powerless against the white men and was unable to protect Darlene from them as well. This caused his to hate her for being in the situation with him and for realizing how powerless her really was. Also, Cholly felt that any misery his daughter suffered was his fault, and looking in to Pecola’s loving eyes angered him because her wondered, “What could her do for her - ever? What give her? What say to her?”(161) Cholly’s failures led him to hate those that he failed, most of all his family. Pecola’s mother, Polly Breedlove, also wrongly placed her anger on her family. As a result of having a deformed foot, Polly had always had a feeling of unworthiness and separateness. With her own children, “sometimes I’d catch myself hollering at them and beating them, but I couldn’t seem to stop”(124). She stopped taking care of her own children and her home and took care of a white family and their home. She found praise, love, and acceptance with the Fisher family, and it is for these reasons that she stayed with them. She had been deprived of such feelings from her family when growing up and in turn deprived her own family of these same feelings. Polly “held Cholly as a mode on sin and failure, she bore him like a crown of thorns, and her children like a cross”(126). Pecola’s friend Claudia is angry at the beauty of whiteness and attempts to dismember white dolls to find where their beauty lies. There is a sarcastic tone in her voice when she spoke of having to be “worthy” to play with the dolls. Later, when telling the story as a past experience, she describes the adults’ tone of voice as being filled with years of unfulfilled longing, perhaps a longing to be themselves beautifully white. Claudia herself was happiest when she stood up to Maureen Peal, the beautiful girl from her class. When Claudia and Freida taunted her as she ran down the street, they were happy to get a chance to express anger, and “we were still in love with ourselves then”(74). Claudia’s anger towards dolls turns to hated of white girls. Out of a fear for his anger the she could not comprehend, she later tool a refuge in loving whites. She had to at least pretend to love whites or, like Cholly, the hatred would consume her. Later however, she realizes that this change was “an adjustment without improvement”(23), and that making herself love them only fooled herself and helped her cope. Soaphead Church wrongly places his anger on God and blamed him for “screwing-up” human nature. He asked God to explain how he could let Pecola’s wish for blue eyes go so long without being answered and scorned God for not loving Pecola. Despite his own sins, Soaphead feels that he had a right to blame God and ot assume his role in granting Pecola blue eyes, although her knew that beauty was not necessarily a physical thing but a state of mind and being: “No one else will see her blue eyes. But she will”(182). The Mobile girls wrongly placed their anger in their own race, and they do not give of themselves fully(even to their family). These girls hate niggers because according to them, “colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud”(87). Black children, or they as Geraldine called them, were like flies: “They slept six to a bed, all their pee mixing together in the night as they wt their beds. . . they clowned on the playgrounds, broke things in dime stores, ran in front of you on the street. . . grass wouldn’t grow where they lived. Flowers died. Like flies they hovered; like flies they settled”(92). Although the Mobile girls are black themselves, they “. . .got rid of the funkiness. the dreadful funkiness of passion, the funkiness of nature, the funkiness of the wide range of human emotions,”(83) and most of all they tried to rid themselves of the funkiness of being black. They were shut off by the whites because they did not belong, but shut themselves off from their own black race. To the blacks in The Bluest Eye, “Anger is better(than shame). There is a sense of being in anger. A reality of presence. An awareness of worth”(50). the blacks are not strong, only aggressive; they are not compassionate, only polite; they were not good, but well behave; they substituted good grammar for intellect, and rearranged lies to make them truth(205). Most of all, they faked love where felt powerless to hate, and destroyed what love they did have with anger. Toni Morrison tells this story to show the sadness in the way that the blacks were compelled to place their anger on their own families and on their blackness instead of on whites who cause their misery. Although they didn’t know this, “The Thing to fear(and thus hate) was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us”(74), whiteness.