Pecola’s Quest for Identity in Toni Morrison’s Novel: The Bluest Eye

By Shabnam Hami.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Toni Morrison brought recognition to the genre of African American literature, having won many honours, including a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Pulitzer, and the Nobel Prize. Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” written in 1970, prominently expanded American literature. This novel not only analyzes the destructive psychological effects of racism on both children and adults but also explores rape thoroughly and realistically, which affect forming one’s identity. The novel is about a naive girl whose quest for self-esteem, self-definition, and self-value ends in identifying ugliness with blackness. Pecola Breedlove, an unloved, 11-year-old black girl, believes that the absence of blue eyes is central to her ugliness. Raped by her father, she falls prey to absolute “absence” and “silence”.
She accepts her inferior position because society decrees her ugly and unworthy of affection, value, esteem, and encouragement. Pecola’s story shows her complete victimization by both white and black culture. In this essay Pecola’s search for self and identity in “The Bluest Eye” is demonstrated. The researcher attempts to show how the black community, mainstream society, and the biological family affect Pecola’s victimization.

Keywords: Self-esteem, Silence, Maternity, Rape

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.19-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 405.668KB).

Shabnam Hami

University Lecturer, English Language Department, Islamic Azad Uinversity-Qaemshahr Branch, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

As a faculty member in English language and literature, I am popular among university students and colleagues. I have found enormous pleasure in teaching English literature, specially short stories, drama, and literary criticism which made me learn a lot. Working on my MA thesis, “Traces of Feminism in Toni Morrison’s Novels”, I was baffled and attracted by the notion of female bonding and its relation to the female’s quest for identity.