The Bluest Eyes

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The Bluest Eyes Shirley Temple, the little princess. Everything a young girl hoped and dreamed to be. The perfectly blond coifed hair, porcelain skin and bright ocean blue eyes. Thinking of her was enough for every young girl hope and aspire to be just like Shirley Temple. Shirley Temple in the Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison represents the American ideal girl and a representation of the stigma related to not being white in a society. In one way or another all of the characters in the Bluest Eyes are obsessed with beauty and defining what beauty is to them. The blue eyes closely tie to Shirley temple and baby dolls and their representation of a hierarchy of race. “Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.” This quote ties in all the themes of the Bluest Eyes, love, beauty, and an un-escapable fall into despair while chasing the first two. The image of Shirley Temple and white baby dolls are central to the meaning of the novel. Adults don’t try to undermine the power that Shirley Temple has on the girls of this novel. Instead they show praise towards her and her whiteness by buying white baby dolls, even for black girls. “The big, the special, the loving gift was always a big, blue-eyed Baby Doll….all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured.” Not only do the girls of this novel learn that whiteness is superior through the white baby dolls and the idealization of Shirley temple but adult women too have learned to despise their own color and learn as they grow that whiteness is the desired color. Whiteness is considered the cleaner color. When Pecola spills berries all over the clean white ladies house this

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