The Concept of Beauty in the American Society
Morrison scrutinizes the community with its internal conflict between the rising middle class and the lower classes but also points out its responsibility in the main character’s downfall. In fact, through the character of Pecola Breedlove, an 11-year-old girl who struggles to get accepted in her community because of her perceived standard of beauty, Morrison exposes the drama about the concept of beauty in the American society. Indeed, Pecola’s longing for blue eyes reflects her understanding of beauty according to white principles and features that pose a serious self-esteem problem for African Americans. This statement exposes the problem:Morrison addresses the instability in the black family that has dire consequences in the lives of the members. She clearly foregrounds the impact the conflict, the abuse, the insecurity and lack of peace and cohesion in the family have on the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of the members. For instance, most of Pecola’s problems originate from the dislocation of her family because of a drunkard father and a beat-up mother. Indeed, the Breedlove family is completely unstable and does not provide a proper atmosphere for any child to grow in. Cholly and Pauline Breedlove’s constant fighting, arguments and hatred for each other transform their household into a battlefield that prevents their children from experiencing any love or nurturing relationships. This instability causes Pecola to be placed occasionally in foster care as Claudia informs: Mama had told us two days earlier that a ‘case’ was coming—a girl who had no place to go. The county had placed her in our house for a few days until they could decide what to do, or, more precisely, until the family was reunited (Morrison16). These disturbances have an emotional and psychological consequence on Pecola who has to pay for the errors her parents commit. The narrator describes the beastly nature of Cholly that causes the split of his family: Cholly Breedlove, then, a renting black, having put his family outdoors, had catapulted himself beyond the reaches of human consideration.