The novel talks about a young girl who has received all sorts of abuse from everyone in the community. Pecola encounters all kinds of ill-treatment including racism, sexual abuse, and beatings among others. Pecola hates her skin color, and so are the rest of the people in the community, and she believes that by getting blue eyes, people will treat her better and with respect. Pecola is also a scapegoat in the community in that everyone accuses her of almost all the wrong doings in the community. For example, Geradine accuses her of killing their cat that was killed by Geraldine's son (Morrison, 93). All these ill treatment towards Pecola shows the abuse people receive in society.
The theme of abuse is crucial because it can portray levels of social injustices and inequality that takes place in the modern society. There are experiences in the novel that are hurtful as well as humiliating showing how coming of age sexually is fraught with risk in the environments that are mostly abusive. For example, the novel shows how Pecola received her first menstrual period and as the novel concludes she has her first sexual encounter that is very vicious (Morrison, 20). The novel also talks of Challys first sexual encounter where he is forced to have intercourse while white men watch. Often parents are blamed for the traumatic sexual encounters their children have when they come of age. An example is when Cholly repeats the sexual humiliation he received from the two white men by raping Pecola, his daughter. A contrast is shown when Frieda is rescued by her parents who show that some parents protect their children that should be the case in society today. It is, however, disappointing that Frieda is not informed of what had transpired and this makes live in fear of being ruined. The sexual abuse in this novel shows that it is not only racism that distorts the lives of black girls but also the assumption by the society that the bodies of girls are there to be abused. The negligence of parents in educating their children about abuse makes them vulnerable when they mature up.
There are some societal issues that relate to the theme of abuse as in portrayed in the novel. To begin with, there is a lot of racism in society today whereby the skin color of a person dictates how a person is to be treated. In the novel, Pecola is seen as ugly, and this lowers her esteem as she feels ugly. Pecola thinks that by having blue eyes that all will be well and that the community will treat her with dignity (Morrison, 84). In society today, black girls try to use bleach to whiten their skin tones so that they blend in well in the society. Others go to the extreme by getting surgeries to change their color that ends up causing diseases such as skin cancer and death. Sexual abuse and violence are also one of the major societal issues. Sexual abuse against children has been on the rise in society today. Every single day there are reports of children being sexually abused. Some of the abuse is inflicted by the parents and relatives who have the duty of caring for their children. There is also the fact that children do not report some of the abuse, and often the perpetrators are left free. For example, Pecola does not report Chollys abuse on her but instead carries the burden of the violent act and that of carrying her fathers child.
By reading the novel, the reader gains new knowledge regarding diversity and equity in schools as well as the community. There are instances in the novel that leave the reader amazed by the ignorance of the characters and their behavior as well. An example is when Pecolas mother beats her after she confesses that Cholly sexually abused her. This is ignorance in the case of Pecolas mother. The unthinkable happens when instead of getting help; she receives beatings and is mistrusted by her mother. It is also interesting when Pecola asks for the blue eyes from the Soaphead Church. It is funny how Pecola thinks that by simply getting blue eyes that her fate will change. In the novel, black people also show racism and insult Pecola. This is interesting in the sense that since they are all black and that they receive the same kind of treatment from the white people; they are expected to be kind to their fellow black people. This is not the case with Pecola because she receives abuse from both black and white Americans. For example, Geradine abuses her calling her nasty names because she thinks it was Pecola who killed her cat (Morrison, 93).
Pecola is abused by almost everyone in the community, and they often make her a scapegoat. This is because in one way or another member of the community have had nasty experiences as they grew up and pass on the bitterness to Pecola. Pecola is also naive and is not able to defend herself. The community also mistreats her because she believes that she deserves the treatment due to her skin color and because she does not have blonde hair and blue eyes.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume Book, 1994. Print.
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