What does Claudia’s destruction of white baby dolls say about her relationship to the ideal of whiteness? In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, we are presented with ideals of what it is to be black and how it is to be white and how society’s constructions of the ‘ideal’ human affects characters within this novel. Claudia Macteer is a young African-American girl who struggles with these ideas and societies notion of perfection. Claudia battles with her own identity and demonstrates her frustrations and self- hatred in outward behaviours. Utilising these themes around identity and idealism we will explore Claudia’s explosion of emotions in the form of her destroying of the dolls she received as a gift. The event in which Claudia sees this doll looking back at her with “round moronic eyes, the pancake face, and orangeworms hair” (Morrison 18) strikes as a poignant note from her point of view. This doll that she had received was blonde haired, blue eyed with rosy pink cheeks, but more importantly she was white (Morrison 18). The doll represented everything that Claudia wished she was but knew she could never be and this bred self-hate within herself. This was channelled into her sister, Frieda and directly towards a young white girl they knew, Rosemary Villanucci. Claudia’s direct hate for Rosemary was primarily due to the fact that Rosemary was everything Claudia wanted to be, white. Claudia’s feelings towards this doll and its representations is captured in this paragraph, “I had only one desire: to dismember it. To see what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me. Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs- all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured”. (Morrison 18) Her aggressive behaviour can also be seen as a positive personality trait for Claudia. As a young black girl, she recognises the...
References: Gillis, Charles. "1970-1979." American Cultural History. Lone Star College-Kingwood Library,
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Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Great Britain: Vintage, 1991, Print.
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