Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye, a novel about racism amongst black people. About the way black people see whiteness as better, cleaner, purer as they are.

Given the fact that this novel has been written 47 years ago, a lot has changed. Maybe not the fact that someone else seems to be more beautiful, but I mean that instead of putting white people upon a pedestal, they are acknowledged of having the same doubts and fears.

The novel centers around Pecola, a 11y old girl, who doesn’t speak up for herself until the very last chapter. We only follow her around through the eyes of others who have no inkling of the desire that is within her, to have the bluest eyes. Why that? Because everything around her is judged by appearance instead of merit, be it because of ignorance, temperance or plain stupidity.

Pecola Breedlove seems to be one unlucky girl, as she seems to be very ugly, a fact of which she is daily reminded by her surroundings. Her mother is a vindictive woman, clearly only capable of giving love to something she could never have. Her father a good-for-nothing man that blamed the women in his life for his surrender to the ‘white’ men. She is a naïve little girl, thinking that having blue eyes would make her life better, instead of trying to be happy with what she is. In the end, she’s deluded herself of having those eyes, possibly the mistreatment of her family has been too much for her mind to bear.

Understanding this novel wasn’t too hard, because of the explanatory note at the end. It’s a novel about being blind to yourself, while staring at what someone else has. Of course this isn’t a feat exclusive for black people. I think most of the people walking this earth wish to be someone they’re not, because being yourself and being happy about that, has been turned into settling and being at peace instead of just being happy. It always feels like a sacrifice, as if choosing to be  yourself is giving up being a hundred others.

This novel didn’t leave as much a mark as I thought it would be. Partly because the manner in which Pecola’s story is told, is distant and without emotion or without the right emotion. Anger where there should be compassion. Shame where there should be soothing and disdain where there should be happiness. I felt like I got to know the poor child through the gossiping of others and that never gives you the true meaning of what went on.
The other thing that bothered me was the child molestation. I’m not sure why that was included. I’m not a prude, far from it, but in this novel it didn’t add to the whole. Pecola being raped by her father and carrying his baby afterward, the local ‘guru’ trying to explain why he loves children and loves nibbling on their breasts and blaming god for his behavior. I know that this happens, but mostly it doesn’t happen to the unhappiest girl, it could happen to anyone. This just seemed piling up the bad stuff and didn’t add anything other than neon lighting the state she was already in, the pariah she was destined to be.