She majored in English at Howard University. She confronts the issues of sexism, racism and inequality in very poetic and imaginative language which is characteristic of her writing style.
Identity Formation and White Presence in Toni Morrison's Beloved and The Bluest Eye Lannette Day Toni Morrison uses the psychological ramifications of the physical, emotional, and spiritual desolation produced by slavery to mold her characters' senses of self through direct experience with slavery and white oppression.
The most prominent negative impact of slavery Morrison focuses on in Beloved is the way in which former slaves are haunted, even in freedom, by the dehumanization they endure.
Due to their repressed social status, Morrison's characters are only able to experience relationships if they are granted the privilege to do so by those who hold power over them.
As time progresses beyond legalized slavery, the now 'free' African-Americans have to achieve a societal standard of whiteness in order to gain acceptance. Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye, exposes the results of white presence in society on African-Americans and how this presence imposes difficulty on the individual to form an identity.
Morrison uses this reality to structure these two novels and the bonds between the characters, their society, and themselves. Through the allowance or denial of relationships, Morrison demonstrates in Beloved and The Bluest Eye how slavery, the deliberate dehumanization of African slaves, and the presence of whiteness in society alter her characters' ability to form their own sense of self-identity.
The alienation the slaves experience echoes into future generations by disabling any hope of forming relationships after attaining freedom and creates psychological obstacles African Americans must conquer in the future. In the majority of her novels, Morrison highlights the importance of identity, the formation of the 'self', and the influence of the environment and society on that development.
According to Ron Eyerman in Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the formation of African American identity, 'cultural trauma refers to a dramatic loss of identity and meaning, a tear in the social fabric, affecting a group of people that has achieved some degree of cohesion' Eyerman 2.
African slaves were unified by their environment and society's racial opression. In the case of Morrison's characters in Beloved, 'the trauma in question is slavery, not [only] as an institution or even an experience, but as a collective memory, a form of remembrance that grounded the identity-formation of a people' Eyerman 1.
Morrison also discusses in her novels her characters' struggle for identity formation. Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development 'encompasses changes in people's understanding of themselves, one another, and the world around them during the course of development' Feldman According to Erikson, identity formation, while beginning in childhood, gains prominence during adolescence.
Faced with physical growth and sexual maturation, adolescents must accomplish the task of integrating their prior experiences and characteristics into a personal identity Feldman The experiences slaves are able to draw upon, however, are not capable of fulfilling their need for an identity because their experiences and relationships are limited due to the social and racial groups to which they belong.
Both men and women are classified by their relation to each other; men's masculinity and women's femininity is based on who defines it and, in the case of the characters in Beloved, it is defined by the slave owners and the society in which they live. Because they are denied mature adult relationships, their psychosocial development is delayed and their capacity to understand themselves in relation to one another and society is inhibited.
This is an extension of the cultural trauma produced by slavery because, by denying the basic human right to choose sexual partner for physical, emotional, and reproductive reasons, they are denied the ability to develop on a psychosocial level to achieve an understanding of their own identity.
In order to understand how slavery and the discrimination of African Americans influence their sense of identity, readers must first understand what 'identity' means.
Identity refers to 'the enduring aspects of a person's definition of her- or him' self, the conception of who one is and what one is over time and across situations' Kelman 3.
Personal identity is 'a cumulative product built up over a person's lifetime experiences' Kelman 3. According to Erikson, 'individuals who reached early adulthood without having established a sense of identity would be incapable of intimacy' Bee and Boyd Based on Erikson's perception, characters in Beloved find difficulty establishing and maintaining any type of intimate relationship due to the abuse and discrimination they deal with throughout their lives.
Identity is a sense of personal continuity and uniqueness based not only on personal need, but also on membership in various groups, such as familial, ethnic and occupational Bee and Boyd African slaves were not only discriminated for belonging to their racial group, but also for being slaves and belonging to that social group.
Since these group identities, in addition to satisfying the need for affiliation, help people define themselves, not only in their own eyes but in the eyes of others, it is clear why the characters in Morrison's novels find difficulty in forming a personal identity.
In the eyes of others they are subhuman, and this in turn affects how they see themselves because they have internalized society's racism. In Beloved, Paul D, one of the main characters, internalizes the mistreatment he experiences for years and, despite his inner strength and motivation to persevere, that dehumanization transforms him into an unemotional man with a fractured identity.
After attempting to murder one of his owners, Paul D is sent to a place Morrison describes as similar to a prison: A door of bars that you could lift on hinges like a cage opened into three walls and a roof of scrap lumber and red dirt' Beloved Paul D and the forty-five members forced to work on the chain gang along side of him were subjected to humiliating treatment along with physical and sexual abuse.
He locks away his memories in a tobacco tin-heart, rusted shut from years of abuse and repression. Paul D internalizes the discrimination inflicted upon him and is emasculated to such an extent that he believes he is unworthy of human attachment.
As in the case of Sethe, the protagonist in Beloved, the dehumanization of female slaves deprives those characters of their femininity by denying them motherhood. It was customary for infants born into slavery to be removed from their mothers as soon as possible to disallow any chance to form emotional attachment.
Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it' For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child's affection toward its mother, and to blunt the natural affection of the mother for the child.
This is the inevitable result' Douglass This made it easier to debase women as human beings by denying them the natural desire to mother their children. Not only did the physical separation of mother and child prevent females slaves from identifying themselves as mothers, but the concept of motherhood alone, 'due to the economic realities of racism, [was] usually limited to white women' Williams Bluest Eye Essay Examples The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison Novel is similar to the lives of white Americans during the nineteenth century, when they were considered to be one of the higher status in the society, whereas the African American people were relatively .
"'A Productive and Fructifying Pain': Storytelling as Teaching in The Bluest Eye." Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory Paired Characters and Antithetical Form in The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Beloved." Journal of Narrative [The Body in Black Women's Literature: Their Eyes Were Watching God and Sula]." Journal of English Language.
In the novel "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, Morrison provides an interpretation of how whiteness is the standard of beauty, which warps the lives of black women and children, through messages everywhere that whiteness is superior and beautiful.
The Bluest Eye Quotes. “Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe.
but the love of a free man is never safe.
|Identity Formation and White Presence in||A close reading of both The Bluest Eye and Beloved results in the discovery of common themes and techniques utilized by the novelist, Morrison, in order to achieve a sense of identity in the literary world.|
|If you’re looking a for a new novel to read by a Black woman writer, I recommend Sula.||The Bluest Eye, Beloved and Song of Soloman use the tools of subversion, perversion and eroticism to depict the traumatic experiences of the Black women protagonists.|
|About Author||Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.|
|See a Problem?||She is the second of four children in a working-class, African-American family.|
There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of. bluest eye before 1/ STUDY. PLAY. anorexic women - less female, not more attractive.. not anymore idealized writing group - social, colleagues couldnt bring High School essays story incerpted into the bluest eye - wrote then.
in syracuse - before moving to NY plot - .
The Bluest Eye, published in , is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so. The bluest eye race essay Through her book, The Bluest Eye, Tony Morrison shows an extreme example, to the black community and to the world, how societies racist and false beliefs on beauty. Find this Pin and more on Textish by Dianne. Identity Formation and White Presence in Toni Morrison's. Beloved and The Bluest Eye. Lannette Day Toni Morrison uses the psychological ramifications of the physical, emotional, and spiritual desolation produced by slavery to mold her characters' senses of self through direct experience with slavery and white oppression.
The Bluest Eye was published in At the time Morrison was writing the novel, the racist society that At the time Morrison was writing the novel, the racist society that condemned Pecola Breedlove was still very much in place and Morrison took great risks -- both within the.