Monday, August 10, 2020

"I hurt just like them white women": Black maternity in "The Bluest Eye"

When Pauline in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is pregnant with her second child, a doctor discusses her with residents: "[...] now these here women you don't have any trouble with. They deliver right away and with no pain. Just like horses." In this medical myth, Black people are treated like animals who don't feel pain like whites do. In labor, Pauline challenges that myth: "The pains wasn't as bad as I let on, but I had to let them people know [...] I hurt just like them white women." Morrison's 1970 novel thus depicts private resistance to discrimination around 1930. The history of oppression is always a history of resistance. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 August)

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