Themes in The Bluest Eye

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  • White Equating to Beauty
  • "Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs—all theworld had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured."
  • Sexual Abuse Cultivates Internalized Hatred
  • ...
  • “Go on. Go on and finish."
  • Feminine Roles in Society
  • "I learned quickly, however, what I was expected to do with the doll: rock it, fabricate storied situations around it, even sleep with it. Picture books were full of little girls sleeping with their dolls."
  • One of the biggest themes in The Bluest Eye is how whiteness is constantly associated with beauty. This appreciation of only one standard of beauty resulted in self-internalized racism of people of color as it invalidated and ostracized them from this standard.
  • Cholly experiences a traumatic sexual experience that molds his anger issues and "even a half-remembrance of this episode ... could stir him into flights of depravity that surprised himself—but only himself." It causes him to abuse his family and alchohol.
  • Womanhood and femininity was associated with each other during the time of the 1940s. It is reflected in how the women raise their daughters with the expectation that they will only grow up to be mothers themselves.
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