Friday, July 31, 2020

Beauty in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"

When Pauline in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye goes to the movies, she "succumb[s] to [...] dreams": "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another – physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." The destructiveness of these ideas thus involves comparison and self-judgement. Pauline compares herself to Jean Harlow and judges herself as inferior, especially when she loses a tooth to the cinema candy. But even before that, she has already absorbed a cinematic standard of white beauty that she cannot see herself, as a Black woman, as living up to. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 31 July)

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