English Literature Essay

Gender as reflected in literature gives readers images that apply. illustrate and reinforce norms and values accepted by society. Writers. whether they are cognizant of it or non. are themselves socialized into gender systems that are reflected in the subjects. characters and secret plans of their texts. Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” presents gender as a subject that cuts across many societal buildings in society.

She does non halt at the conventional and surface definition of gender as a societal building of the functions and norms of male and female. but shows how category. race and even gender subgroups intensify the hierarchies and power dealingss between different people in society. Though the chief focal point of her novel is the construct of beauty. the author posits that beauty is determined by gender subgroups. race and category. In this essay. it is proposed that the construct beauty is a tool used by Morrison to exemplify the hierarchies and values created by race. category and gender.

To demo the impact of race. category and gender on both the mind of the person and the corporate consciousness of society. Morrison uses immature black misss as supporters and narrates their household experiences. doing certain to foreground experiences which involve favoritism and subjugation by gender. category and race. Though her narrations invariably switch characters. the author notes that the first individual narrative belongs to Claudia. who is frequently seen to withstand the norms and values that Morrison nowadayss.

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The former is seen to withstand the socialisation of immature misss into maternity through the gifting of dolls. “I had no involvement in babes or the construct of motherhood” ( Morrison 15 ) . Claudia besides defies the convention of beauty. of fair-skinned misss with curly blond hair and bluish eyes such as Shirley Temple. frequently contemning the latter with a cruel and ferocious hatred. as seen in her intervention of the doll she received as a gift. Through this. a gender subgroup is shown. or possibly. even a class which cuts across gender. which is race.

The novel illustrates the presence of gender and category hierarchies that may be structured on the footing of race or gender. Differentiations of white male. white female. black male. black female. white kid and black kid are presented. Hierarchies are illustrated and the relationships these subgroups have to one another are presented. Seen through the eyes of Pauline Breedlove. the black female is shown to function about all of them. “‘White adult females said. “Do this. ” White kids said. “Give me that. White work forces said. “Come here. ” Black work forces said. “Lay down. ” ( Morrison 93 ) . The character continued to deduce black women’s merely power. which is as a parent to a kid. “The merely people they need non take orders from were black kids and each other” ( Morrison 93 ) . Gender systems and hierarchies denote a set of norms and values that all these subgroups adhere to. For adult females. functions are the incarnation of these norms and values. Age. category and race are the determiners of such functions.

A immature miss is expected to protect her virtuousness and assist her female parent. A homemaker is expected to be faithful to her hubby. execute domestic work. responsible for child-rearing. able to gain extra income for the household and go on the virtuousnesss she learned as a immature miss. If a female would somehow non suit within the previously-stated norms. such as the instance of Frieda. Claudia’s sister. she would be labeled aberrant or. in Morrison’s work. ruined. Frieda relates the stigma and fright this label entails in her conversation with Claudia:

Miss Dunion came in after everybody was quiet. and Mama and Daddy was niggling about who let Mr. Henry in anyhow. and she said that Mama should take me to the physician. because I might be ruined. and Mama started shouting all over again…But why were you shouting? I don’t want to be ruined. ( Morrison 67 ) The image of ‘ruined’ in Morrison’s work is a beginning of so much anxiousness for Frieda because of their perceptual experience of a ‘ruined’ adult female. where here. Claudia portions the anxiousness and fright in an image of her ain. “ An image of Frieda. large and fat. came to mind.

Her thin legs swollen. her face surrounded by beds of rouged skin” ( Morrison 67 ) . Frieda is so awfully distressed at being ‘ruined’ that she and her sister strive to happen ways to antagonize this position or possibly medicate it. She and Claudia desperately think. “But Frieda. you could exert and non eat…Besides what about China and Poland. They’re ruined excessively. aren’t they? And they ain’t fat. That’s because they drink whiskey. Mama says whisky are them up.

You could imbibe whiskey” ( Morrison 67 ) . In Morrison’s novel. being ‘ruined’ is tantamount to being a prostitute or cocotte. a adult female by and large frowned upon by society because of her type of work and her non-adherence to the values of virtuousness and celibacy expected of adult females. This is illustrated through a mention to the character the Maginot Line. Poland and China. or to Pecola’s ignorance of their true profession. Miss Marie. Miss Poland and Miss China.

The value of virtuousness and celibacy that adult females are prescribed to is embodied in the function of a virgin or legitimate married woman. which the previously-mentioned adult females are most surely non and are accordingly stigmatized by the community. However. these adult females are cognizant and accept the stigma and to the full understand their function prescription and label of ‘ruined’ as a pick they made. qualifying themselves as “whores in whores’ vesture. prostitutes who had ne’er been immature and had no word for innocence” ( Morrison 42 ) .

Despite their self-prescription. stigma and community perceptual experiences. these adult females are cognizant of their aberrance and accept it. connoting that they are cognizant and accept what is proper and appropriate. Their lone regard was for what they would hold described as ‘good Christian colored adult females. ’ The adult female whose repute was spotless. and who tended to her household. who didn’t imbibe or smoke or run about. These adult females had their undying. if covert. fondness. ” ( Morrison 41-42 ) Other plants by female writers present this image of ‘good women’ .

Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman’s “A New England Nun” shows Louisa Ellis. who waits for Joe Dagget for 15 old ages to get married him and corsets at place. sews and does housework all twenty-four hours and performs domestic work. She is characterized as meek. stiff. peaceable and virtuous ( Freeman ) . Here. Louisa Ellis performs all the functions and undertakings ascribed to a individual adult female. “A White Heron” besides shows an image of a ‘good girl’ in the character of Sylvia. who follows her grandmother’s instructions. is quiet and self-satisfied towards older work forces and keeps a secret within her girl’s bosom ( Jewett ) .

It must be noted nevertheless. that this image uses merely gender as a class for prescription. This image is elevated to the degree of race as a gender subgroup through Pecola Breedlove who alludes to her fondest dream of bluish eyes ( Morrison ) . The dimensions of this dream and how it is shaped by the previously-mentioned gender systems to the point of subjugation and repugnance for oneself is about hideous and pathetic. Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” may depict Pecola’s dream as one that: “Fester ( s ) like a sore— / and so run? ( 4-5 ) . demoing how much hurting Pecola feels and experiences because of her unrealized dream.

She considers her brown eyes a sore. for the absence of her fulfilled dream of bluish eyes is the presence of her brown eyes. The horror of her wish and the despair of her longing is expressed at the terminal of Morrison’s work. when all these gender systems. functions and values bear down upon her because of her father’s infusing her. Her disconnected personality or other voice in her caput accompanies her new perceptual experience of holding bluish eyes. the bluest eyes. which makes her experience that she is above everyone else.

She no longer fells behind her ugliness as she did earlier ( Morrison 28 ) . but sees people unable to bear their ain in the presence of the ultimate symbol and mark of beauty. that she entirely possesses. the bluest eyes. Try 1 Reflection When I gave into my emotions and mind for this essay. I found myself to experience really strongly about Pecola’s state of affairs and her perceptual experience of her ain visual aspect and beauty. To believe that she conceives the contempt and disgust that other feel for her and is able to project it within herself is about traumatising for me particularly since I know how immature she is.

Compounded subjugation. bad household state of affairs and victimization are characteristics of her life that may do one about think that her destiny was dreadfully ineluctable and her desire for bluish eyes one that elicits deep understanding. Discoursing this with others and showing my thoughts on gender and how deep the cicatrixs of gender-based force may run has given me insight on the historical and cultural relevancy of Morrison’s work and how others’ plants like Kate Chopin. Jewett and Freeman reflect this type force. I would see Pecola’s perceptual experience as an consequence of force.

Thinking about the narrative. I would believe that Pecola’s artlessness was still integral even after she was raped by her male parent possibly through her ain mind’s ferocious denial. but her mind was wholly tattered when she received her want of bluish eyes. Associating this text to my classs on adult females surveies and feminism. a deeper analysis would hold shown the elaboratenesss of race. category and gender and how the hierarchies created by these three based entirely on oppressive societal buildings can destruct whole states. whole peoples of colour and at the single degree. complete minds and perceptual experiences.

The range and scope of feminism tends to oppugn everything and I wanted to make that but felt limited by the figure of pages allowed. When person would read my essay. I would trust that it would trip a small involvement in re-examining texts and even his/her ain perceptual experiences on race. category and gender. I would state that my essay’s end would be to trip penetration in my reader about the universe and society in footings of the three societal buildings I mentioned.


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