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"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison. During this passage, Claudia describes a childhood memory of when she received a white doll for Christmas.

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Introduction

This passage is taken from the ?autumn? section and occurs during the description of the MacTeer?s family from the point of view of their youngest daughter Claudia, right after she declared her hatred for Shirley Temple. During this passage, Claudia describes a childhood memory of when she received a white doll for christmas. Incapable of understanding why the doll she receives is supposed to represent true beauty because of its blue eyes and light skin and why whiteness is considered to be superior and beautiful, Claudia challenges the idea that she is given by the community and the family she is surrounded by. She describes her unability to identify with the doll because its physical appearance is so different from hers and the way she strongly wants to understand why theses dolls represent an ideal of beauty even the black community has to embrace. Thanks to a description seen through the eyes of Claudia and to various litterary techniques, Toni Morrison brings the character to life and helps us understand the difficulty of growing up and finding an identity under the pressure of beauty standards and internalized racism. Throughout this passage, the author strongly highlights the themes of beauty and internalized racism in the black community and especially in the lives of black girls and women and creates a strong contrast between two important movements in the extract, the idea of society which is seen ...read more.

Middle

words ?I? and ?they? or ?adults? and by the fact that parenthood seems very far from Claudia wich is shown when she says ?I had no interest in babies or the concept of motherhood?. The reader is immediately aware that Claudia?s parents give her this particular gift because they think it is what she truly desires, which shows that they share the exact same values as many others of their community and that they want to giver their daughter those values. They, as members of this society are absolutely fascinated by those dolls and the listing ?adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs? emphasizes the universalization of the fascination for these white dolls. As the reader feels bombarded by very numerous words, it shows how the society itself is attacked with values and standards of beauty that they end up sharing as well because of their omnipresence. Futhermore, the fact that Claudia quotes what her parents said with the exact same words (?? ?here? they said ?this is beautiful , and if you are ?worthy? you maye have it? ??) shows that it is a memory that is very clear in her mind and that she probably still remembers it because she was unable to understand it and interpretate it as a child. White dolls are a symbol of beauty, values and standards that a whole society shares. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of her violent behaviour, Claudia is still unable to find the beauty she has been looking for and ends up finding a ?mere metal roundess?, symbol of repetition and the fact that her quest does not lead anywhere. This emphasizes the idea that beauty is something that has been decided by the society, something that you can see if you share the society?s values. Finally, her oppostion to white beauty standards is also seen trough her description of raggedy ann dolls that everyone loves. She gives her description connotation that are generally not associated with beauty, with the words ?round moronic eyes? and the metaphor ?pancake face?. Thanks to Claudia and a first person narration, Toni Morrison is able to denounce internalized racism in this extract of the novel. Through the description of society as being opposed to Claudia because they convey different values and ideas, the author shows two opposite point of view on beauty and whiteness. The point of view that is given by the society and that the majority of the people adopt and the point of view of a victim of internalized racism that tries to understand what are the sources of it. The extract is very significant in the novel because it introduces the important aspects of Claudia?s personnality, a very important character in the book as she is one of the main narrator of the story, meaning that we see an important part of the story through her eyes. - ...read more.

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