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Nowhere But Within

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Nowhere But Within

"And Pecola. She hid behind hers. (Ugliness) Concealed, veiled, eclipsed----peeping out from behind the shroud very seldom, and then only to yearn for the return of her mask" (Morrison 39). In the novel The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, the main character, Pecola, comes to see herself as ugly. This idea she creates results from her isolation from friends, the community, and ever her family. There are three stages that lead up to Pecola portraying herself as an ugly human being. The three stages that lead to Pecola's realization are her family's outlook toward her, the community members telling her she is ugly, and her actually accepting what the other say or think about her. Each stage progresses into the other to finally reach the last stage and the end of the novel when Pecola eventually has to rely on herself as an imaginary friend so she will have someone to talk to.

The first stage of Pecola coming to believe she is ugly starts with her family's attitude toward her. Right from the very start of Pecola's life her parents have thought of her as ugly on the outside as well as on the inside. When Pecola was born, Pecola's mother, Pauline, said: "Eyes all soft and wet. A cross between a puppy and a dying man. But I knowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly" (Morrison 126). Pecola became labeled ugly as soon as she was born. The reason people think of her as ugly relates to the way she gets treated by her family. Her parents never even gave her a chance to prove that she is worth something and not just a piece of trash. In the first stage of Pecola's realization of being ugly, she starts to feel the way she does because her family does not give her any support and tell her she actually means something to them. Pecola does not really have anyone that she can go to talk about things. All of the weight of her problems rests on her shoulders with no one to help her out, not even her parents, the two people that brought her into this very world.

The second stage of Pecola coming to think of herself as ugly simply compounds on the fact that she has no backup when her friends tell her that she is ugly and isn't worth a damn. The new girl at school, Maureen Peal, gets Pecola's spirits down by saying: "I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute" (Morrison 73). Pecola's classmates call her ugly and she has no one to tell her otherwise. The second stage of Pecola's problem takes place when her community and family both tell her she is ugly or at least do not give her any complements whatsoever. Eventually, overtime someone will start to believe something stands true if you hear it enough time without someone telling you it is not true. Human nature comes into place when Pecola starts to give in on her pride and listen to what everyone says. Only very strong willed people can take continuous criticism and not eventually start to believe it. Pecola simply does what almost anyone would do when she lets go of her self-pride

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