The Bluest Eye is a complex book. Substance wise it is a disturbing yetrelatively easy read, but Toni Morrison plays with the narrative structure in away so that complexity is added to the hidden depth of the text.
From thebeginning to the end of the book, the author takes the reader through a seriesof point of views that take turns in narrating the story. But by the end of thebook, the author leaves the reader unclear on who the actual main character ofthe book is. Pecola Breedlove, although never the narrator, seems to be theconstant victim and equally the main character of the story. Many readers cansee the book as a story about Claudia MacTeer, who is the main narrator of thebook, but most everything she narrates has a direct tie to Pecolas life. Fromthe very start, Claudia describes the home environment in which she lives in.That home environment is linked to how Pecola comes to live with them and whataffect the two had on each other. Pecolas presence slightly foreshadows herfuture longing for blue eyes by showing the great interest she had in ShirleyTemple, who was known for being a pretty white girl.
Claudia then goes into aseries of stories and descriptions of what type of environment Pecola must livein at her own home. She describes the abandoned store in which the Breedlovefamily lives in and the terrible condition of the furniture, which reflects thetype of family the Breedloves are. Whether it was Claudia or another unknownthird person narrator, a specific situation is described in a brutal manner ofexactly what type of environment exists in Pecolas home. The situation waswhere Cholly and Polly fight each other with little hesitation or thought, andthe brief narration ends with how Pecola is affected by such actions.Claudias experiences are even more tied to Pecolas life through the eventsthat occurred with Maureen Peal. Claudia begins describing Maureen as her ownenemy but soon enough Maureen is introduced into Pecolas life along with thepoint of view she had upon the ugly child. Maureen was fascinated by Pecola,which represents one of the many characters who looked down upon her.
Along withthe narration of Claudia and the third person, Cholly and Polly have asignificant representation in the story. The springtime is used to represent thebirth of new love and appropriately the origins of Cholly and Polly is the mainstory. The chapter describes how the two were in love and describes in depth thegrowth of both. Rather than being seen as a story of another character, theorigins of Cholly and Polly can be seen as the explanation of Pecola and hercondition, which heightens the idea of Pecola being the main character. Startingfrom birth, Cholly was abandoned, he then abandoned his own life in search ofhis father.
The cruelty of his father had a big impact on the future of Chollyand the life he led as an adult. Cholly never had a father figure in his lifeand so he never learned to become a father, which became a proponent ofPecolas psychological downfall. Polly as a child always played the role of ahousewife. She had great aspirations of one day meeting her prince and living awonderful life. She thought she found him in Cholly when he came along and caredfor her lame foot, but as she and Cholly began to have more problems, she beganto take out her anger for Cholly onto her children. Quickly, the Breedlovehousehold became full of hate and that hate was thrown onto the innocent Pecola.Throughout the entire book though, different characters laid their hate andinsecurity upon the innocence of Pecola.
More than simply specific characters,by the end of the book, Pecola became the scapegoat of the entire town, Shebe lucky if it dont live. Bound to be the ugliest thing walking. Cant helpbut be.
Ought to be a law: two ugly people doubling up like that to make moreugly. Be better off in the ground. (pg.189-90) Pecola continues to stay asthe focus of the story but plays more a character that makes the town feelbetter about themselves by looking down upon Pecola. Regardless the negative orpositive light Pecola is seen in, she is the main character to whom the storybelongs.
Even though Pecola had no narrative role in the story, she still wasthe main character. The authors use of narrative structure that confuses thereader of who the main character was purposely done so to effectively portrayPecola as a character that no one actually knows personally yet can easily hateor love. Pecolas experiences would have less meaning coming from Pecolaherself because a total and complete victim as herself would be an unreliablenarrator to relate the actual circumstances of the story. The author also makesit difficult to determine whom the main character is in order to keep the readeras an observer and to draw more emotion for Pecola because consistentlythroughout the book the reader pities the innocence of Pecola.English Essays