Pecola Breedlove WITHIN THE Bluest Eye English Literature Essay

What could he do for her âever. What give her. What tell her. What could a burned-out dark man say to the hunched backside of his eleven-year-old little princess. If he investigated her face, he would see those haunted loving sight. âHow dare she love him? Hadn't she any sense whatsoever? What was he likely to do about this? Gain it? How? What could his calloused hands produce to make her teeth? (Morrison 127)

In the above excerpt it seems nothing unusual a daddy is musing how best he could make his girl feel liked, but what's most unconventional is the results it yielded. In Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eyes it is this point in the book that the protagonist Pecola Breedlove is raped by her dad Cholly, a most unforeseen move to make and the occurrences in her life take the worst convert. Considering this to be an incident where there's a reversal of action, this newspaper would concentrate on Pecola and the discovery or acceptance that comes post the reversal as in Aristotle's Poetics. Relating to Aristotle's explanation of tragedy and the tragic elements, the devices required to make an efficient (organic) plot framework are 'peripeteia' and 'anagnorisis', translated as "reversal and recognition". F. L. Lucas paraphrases Aristotle's illustration in the like manner: "A peripeteia occurs when a plan of action designed to produce effect x, produces the opposite of x. Thus the messenger from Corinth attempts to cheer Oedipus and dispel his concern with marrying his mom; but by uncovering who Oedipus really is, he produces the opposite final result. " (111)

The 'peripeteia' that Aristotle talks of results in the 'anagnorisis', "the realization of the reality, the opening of the eye, the abrupt lightning-flash in the darknessâthe flash may come after the catastrophe, serving and then show you it and complete it, as when Oedipus discovers his guilt. " (Lucas 114) Another translation of Aristotle's work reads it as: "a change from ignorance [agnoia] to knowledge [gnosin]. " (Aristotle 54) Electra's popularity of Orestes or Oedipus' recognition that he himself is his father's murderer is suggestive of the fact that this acceptance revolves across the politics of identity which would include the struggle for popularity. Instead of this, the newspaper takes under consideration Pecola's predicament as an eleven year old dark girl whose sole wish is to acquire blue eye and therefore her negotiation with the identification process.

Pecola prayed "every night, unfailingly" (Morrison 35) for blue sight. Morrison has stated that the explanation for Pecola's desire for getting blue eyes must be at least partly tracked to the failures of Pecola's own community: "she wished to have blue eye and she wished to be Shirley Temple â due to society where she lived and, very importantly, as a result of black people who helped her desire to be that. . . . "(Morrison 32) Pecola symbolically occupies the 'interstitial space' that quite simply:

has no specific place, and she floats on the peripheries of the city she longs to go into like a wraith looking for its missing body. She is constantly outdoors, never able to integrate herself into the community, always kept on the peripheries, literally moving from house to house searching for a set host to comfort and security. Pecola is becoming homeless because her drunken father has destroyed their home, â. . . and everybody, as a result, was outdoors. (Morrison 12)

Morrison in the Foreword writes that she is specifically thinking about "the a lot more tragic and disabling results of recognizing rejection as legitimate, as self-evident" (Morrison І)

It is essential to indicate here that in Aristotle's illustrations of 'anagnorisis' such as Electra's recognition of Orestes, it is by means of footprints and a lock of hair which suggest that external features are necessary for identification, so are her eyes necessary for Pecola. But also for Pecola blue sight is something she will not possess, the icon of the culmination of beauty as per the hegemonic culture and so feels deprived and her lifestyle splintered. The eyes symbolize her wholeness which is an impossibility just like the eye themselves are and her lack of ability to locate or position herself vis-à-vis the normative discourse. Hence her tag of recognition is not with a feature that exists but with the absent blue eye. Barbara Christian points out that: "The wonder searched for in the book is not only the ownership of blue eyes, but the harmony that they symbolize. " (24) But this tranquility is exactly what eludes her.

Pecola's obsession with her eyes necessitates the occurrence of the leit motif of the reflection: "Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of her ugliness. " (Morrison 34) The mirror and her quest for her identity business lead us undoubtedly to Lacanian analysis. In the mirror stage, which really is a forbidden world for real image, we come into an "image", which that world gives us, not a complete one, but fragmented, distorted image, which leads us to "misrecognition"(Bertons 161). Lacan thinks "identity which we acquire from the other is a kind of dream and misrecognition. " (Bertons 162) So, we become ourselves using other's perspectives and other's view of who we have been. Kim describes it this way: "Morrison explores the interplay of sight as windows for gazes from the outside and for one's perception of the exterior world" (113-14). Lacan is convinced that the crucial point of which the child gives up the mother as love object and attaches to the daddy marks his leave from what he terms 'the imaginary' and access into 'the symbolic order'. In Pecola's circumstance, Cholly Breedlove, her dad, is unsuccessful in taking on the symbolic function, because he's deprived of phallic power by white culture, the ruling other in youngsters, and psychologically castrated, and his absence as the father figure ensures that Pecola goes on her maintenance in pre-Oedipal point in time, which results in insufficient voice and hence the silence. Since Cholly couldn't take the symbolic function in Pecola's post-mirror subjectivity, as a psychic subject matter, Pecola ultimately remains in the imaginary. Her failed make an effort at getting a unity or figuring out with her father, after he rapes and abandons her, creates a void in her life. Indeed, the void in Pecola's psychic life can never be fulfilled in the area of the symbolic. So, what Pecola will is for taking the imaginary for the real. She keeps taking a look at her "blue" eyes in the mirror, and problems that her eyes aren't "the bluest". Pecola, as Claudia describes, appears like "a winged but grounded bird, objective on the blue void it might not reach" (Morrison 162). As soon as of Cholly's raping and abandoning her is crucial as Morrison writes of computer in the Afterword: "the silence at its centre: the void that is Pecola's 'unbeing'. " (Morrison 171) F. L. Lucas opines that: "the deepest tragedy" occurs "when their [the protagonist, here Pecola] devastation is the work of those that wish them well, or of their own unwitting hands. " (112) Pecola's search to establish the legitimacy of her identification is hindered by her dad, leading to her fragmentation, the metaphorical "splintered mirror", a term which Morrison herself uses.

Tragic recognition views are often moments of catastrophic damage such as Oedipus or that of Pecola. Modern theories and tactics of popularity are grounded in more fundamental, "ontological" misrecognitions-that is, misrecognitions of the individuality as well as of certain fundamental top features of the public and politics world and our place in it, says Stephen White. (10) Tragic 'anagnorisis' would then entail not only in getting one's id right, in a change from ignorance to knowledge, but also involves acknowledging often under the weight of failure, the boundaries to the possibility of doing so. An "ontological" finding that is manufactured by Pecola is that the best personality that she may have was by regressing into her youth fantasy. With this she also acknowledges her powerlessness to contest or rather wrench her personal information from the stifling, strangulating grasp of the hegemonic culture codes. Morrison in the Afterword creates: "She actually is not seen by herself until she hallucinates a home. " (171)

A critic writes that: "Cholly's deranged action of love" was that "terrifying, brutal blow" which finally compelled her "into madness. " (Cormier 120) It is merely the imaginary self applied, to whom Pecola converses, who actually 'recognizes' her pair of blue eye that the other's envy. Shoshana Felman implies as she writes that: "Mental disorder" is a "manifestation both of ethnic impotence and politics castration. " This behaviour is itself "part of female conditioning, ideologically inherent in the behavioural routine and in the centered and helpless role designated to the girl as such. " (119) Pecola's ontologically threatening come across excluded her from the city in beauty and harmony and condemned her to psychic disintegration.

Morrison tells the audience that "It had took place to Pecola some time ago that if her sight, those sight that organised the pictures, and understood the sights-if those eye of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would vary" hence her fervent desire for those blue eye. (46) But Pecola by her subversive desire was "both under and over (but really simply outside of) the sphere of culture's hegemony" as Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar would say (27) and it is the "sacrilegious fiendishness of what William Blake called the 'Feminine Will'" (28) that ushers in her un-being. The way in which in which Oedipus determinedly sought out the murderer of the Ruler that led to his un-being, Pecola too battles to pursue her personality. But insanity is exactly what awaits her as it can to all or any those "mysterious ability[s]âwho won't stay static in her[their] textually ordained 'place'" (Gilbert 32)

For a postmodern personal as Pecola the opportunity of and the desire to have a unitary personal is absurd. The inconsistent, heterogeneous being that takes its subject Pecola is uncovered in the end when she converses with her other:

Why didn't I understand you before?

You didn't need me before.

Didn't need you?. . .

Just because I got blue eyes, bluer than theirs, they're prejudiced.

That's right.

They are bluer, aren't they?

Oh, yes. Much bluerâ

What? Exactly what will we talk about?

Why, your eye.

Oh, yes. My sight. My blue sight. Let me look again.

See how very they are.

Yes. They get prettier every time I look at them.

They are the prettiest I've ever before seen. (154-59)

Cormier-Hamilton expresses, "For Pecola, beauty equals pleasure, which is difficult to mistake a young gal for the misperception; certainly both white and dark-colored areas in her world appear to support the idea" (115). It is this 'misperception' that paradoxically leads her to her 'misrecognition'. The void that her father created in her cannot have been satisfied but by her un-being, hence this is an anagnorisis as anagnorisis undone or even to use Darko Suvin's expression 'cognitive estrangement'. (22)

Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar write: "Either way, the images on the surface of the looking goblet, into which the female designer peers in search of her self, alert her that she is or must be considered a 'Cypher', framed and framed up, indited and indicted. " (36) It is this apparently quiet surface of the normative that Pecola challenges and threatens from the margins to which she actually is relegated. Her breakthrough or recognition, 'anagnorisis' in Aristotelian terms is that her "psychological wholeness" (Cormier 111) is her slivered status, hence a peculiar circumstance of 'anagnorisis' undone.

Word Count

1915

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