The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Argumentative Essay by Jacqueline Avila

Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye depicts the way a child is mistreated, which can affect them psychologically throughout their lives. Throughout the entire book Claudia Breedlove seems to be the narrator, thoroughly explaining the story of Pecola Breedlove who is the main protagonist. Pecola is described as ugly and is mostly left to be on her own. Her mother, Ms.Breedlove, does not even care for her like a mother should. She has no friends except for Claudia and Freida who only seem to be with her during the time period in which Pecola lived with the MacTeers. Pecola is connected to the many different stories told through the perspectives of the different characters throughout the novel. Her mother’s past is described and so is her father’s. Truly, the only characters who seem to care are ,Claudia and Freida because in the end everyone shuts Pecola out and shuns her for being pregnant, but they hope that the baby survives that way Pecola can have somebody. In the end the baby does not survive and they begin to take the fault but in reality it was theirs to take. Pecola experiences different forms of child abuse- such as neglect, physical, mental, and sexual.

Pecola is destroyed mentally at a very young age. “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights—if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.”(46) Pecola’s desire to have blue eyes is a very significant part of the book. Pecola believes that if she has blue eyes it will alter her reality. She thinks her life will become more beautiful and she will be apart of a better life. “Racism, subordination and collective trauma in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” written by Jyoti Singh discusses that Pecola Breedlove is driven insane partly by her victimization and partly by her desire for white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. This comes to show that the influence of being treated a certain way is based of the way you look.


Pecola is neglected by her family, especially her mom and her dad. A psychological reason for being treated this way may be because her mom and her dad did not have a good life when they were young. They were probably also neglected as children and they were also lonely. She had no friends and this affected her self esteem. “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike.”(45) This comes to show that even after everything that had happened she still wanted to be noticed by her mother, as a young beautiful girl with blue eyes. “Probing racial dilemmas in the Bluest Eye with the spyglass of psychology” by Anna  Zabielowicz and Marek Palanski state that internalizing the white standards of beauty leads Pecola to a state of social invisibility and worthlessness. After she is sexually abused by her father, she ends up pregnant and she is neglected by all the people in her neighborhood. They begin gossiping about her and Pecola ends up having no one to talk to or be with.

Pecola is sexually abused by her own father, Cholly Breedlove, toward the end of the novel. Cholly also had a difficult life when he was young. He was left by both his parents before he was a teenager and then his Aunt died later in his life, leaving him to tend for himself. Cholly Breedlove, then, a renting black, having put his family outdoors, had catapulted himself beyond the reaches of human consideration.”(18) After Pecola is raped by her father, Pauline cannot believe it. “Probing racial dilemmas in the Bluest Eye with a spyglass of psychology” by Annie  Zebialowicz and Marek Palasinski elaborate, stating that such maternal denial may stem from Pauline’s rigid religious conceptions of good and evil, preventing her from recognizing that a man like Cholly could be a blend of both. Pauline and Cholly never seemed to have a good relationship at all. They were both always fighting, both verbally and physically. Pecola turns out to be pregnant with her father’s baby but then Pecola’s hope is lost when the baby dies. “What is clear now is that of all of that hope, fear, lust, love, and grief, nothing remains but Pecola and the unyielding earth. Cholly Breedlove is dead; our innocence too. The seeds shriveled and died; her baby too.”(6)

The Bluest Eye traces the process of Pecola’s destruction, recounting her life, and reflecting upon her circumstances, enable her to be abused, marginalized, and finally driven to insanity. She experiences physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a young child. At the end of the novel, Pecola becomes lonelier than ever, being left to care for herself, and still longing for the bluest eyes. She is let with no one, not even her own child, which would have probably given her hope to have someone to love or be loved by someone.


Anna, and Marek Palasinski. “Probing racial dilemmas in the Bluest Eye with the spyglass of psychology.” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, 2010, p. 220+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 16 Apr. 2019.

Singh, Jyoti. “Racism, subordination and collective trauma in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” Language In India, Mar. 2014, p. 196+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 16 Apr. 2019.

Rokotnitz, Naomi. “Constructing cognitive scaffolding through embodied receptiveness: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” Style, Winter 2007, p. 385+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 17 Apr. 2019.

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York, Vintage Books, 2016.  

Keita, Fatoumata. “Conjuring Aesthetic Blackness: Abjection and Trauma in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child.” Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 11,3, Feb. 2018, p. 43+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.


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