.. is whole thing had been reflected from the past. A man’s life had changed in many ways from the beginning of the novel we just did not know it. If David could have just confronted his fears, he might have realized that he was not afraid of anything but fear itself. The other novel that I would like to go into, is Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
Toni Morrison and James Baldwin are similar types of writers. Because they both like to give you the present before they explain the past. Toni starts the novel off telling you that Pecola Breedlove is about to have her father’s baby. And using Claudia to narrate in an adult reflective child’s voice. This allows you as a reader to reflect on your childhood as well.
And to see how it can be connected to adult life. You as a reader are not trying to decipher what incidents occurred, but how they occurred. And every character that Toni Morrison brings out in this novel expresses some form of past connection as to the reasons why they are the way that they are, and the reasons why they treat Pecola the way they treat her. Let’s start off with the novel’s narrator, Claudia and her older sister Frieda. The suggestion that Toni Morrison makes is that Frieda and Claudia come from a loving home.
This allows them to be clear minded and treat Pecola as a friend rather than the subject of mockery the way most of the society treated her. It also allowed them to view society critically and not allow it to place stereotypes upon them, especially in the case of Claudia who was not going to allow herself to be brainwashed through societal conceptions of ugliness and beauty. She looks at a white doll given to her that is supposed to be beautiful and cute, an image not unlike that of Shirley Temple. She rejects this concept and she hates the doll. Not because she is bitter or that she thinks the doll is prettier than she is, but that she didn’t think of it as pretty at all. And so she destroys the doll as society, given the chance, might destroy her. Then of course, are the children that haunt and taunt Pecola, Maureen Peal and the other boys who taunted her because they were unsure about their own past.
And Junior whose mother, Geraldine, had lived her life a certain way took her lessons from society and refused to give her own son the chance to make decisions on his own. She enforced her past feelings about certain black people versus niggers (so she calls them) upon her son. She did not know how to feel love and so she did not know how to give it, even to her son. This in turn became Junior’s reality. He wanted to play with the other black boys; he wanted attention from his mother. And because he could not get it, it turned him into the person his mother never wanted him to become — a juvenile.
That is why he taunts and ridicules Pecola. But Toni just doesn’t leave these characters to be the only ones; she goes on to explain the nature of Mrs. Pauline Breedlove’s past. A past which affects the way she reacts to her children and to her husband. Pauline loved the outdoors and she loved to arrange and to clean without interruption.
She had fantasies of what the ideal man would be like — what her man should be like. They were fantasies about love. That is why when she met Cholly Breedlove, she felt that love had finally come to her. She decided to move up North to Lorain, Ohio where her and Cholly could begin a family. To make a long story short, she began to see her dreams of love shatter. Her ideal household escaped from her and she began to realize that she and her family were ugly.
She even says that when Pecola was born, her eyes all soft and wet. A cross between a puppy and a dying man. But I knew she was ugly. (Pg. 276) She began to hold this bitterness until she found an avenue.
An avenue that allowed her to express her hidden desires now. And that avenue was when she began working for the white family. She needed to find beauty in something, and so she found beauty in her cleanliness and that is what this white family offered to her. They gave her power, praise and luxury. She loved hearing them say that they would never let her go she was able to keep order and she had found her own beauty.
(Pg. 128) That is why she began to ignore her own family. Her past characteristics had enforced themselves in the present, not allowing her to understand or even see the pain of her children or that of her husband. So when Pecola drops the pie juice on the floor in that house her mother gets so upset. How dare Pecola invade on her beauty! Cholly Breedlove is another clear example of a character whose past creates his present. He is abandoned by his mother, rejected by his Father, and he grows up with his aunt and he despises the experience.
He initially finds love and sanctity in the arms of Pauline Breedlove but that was only for a splinter of a moment, because the incidents in his past create this monster in the future. One incident in particular that disturbs Cholly Breedlove, is the incident where the white men shamed him when he first tries to make love. They flash a flashlight in his face and snicker at him. This builds up a lot of anger and hatred for anyone who loves Cholly Breedlove. He hates Mrs.
Breedlove, and that is why he treats her bad. And he hates Pecola for loving him. He states: The hauntedness would irritate him — the love would move him to furry. How dare she love him? Hadn’t she any sense at all? What was he supposed to do about that? Return it? How? What could his calloused hands produce to make her smile? What if his knowledge of the world and of life could be useful to her? What could his heavy arms and befuddled brain accomplish that would earn him his own respect, that would in turn allow him to accept her love? His hatred of her slimed in his stomach and threatened to become vomit. (Pg. 161)And so he rapes her.
Not necessarily to hurt her, but to return whatever love she had given unto him. He had never known what it should have been like. His past was laced with rejections and so he never knew how to give anything else but rejection. And so even if he thought he loved her, he was rejecting her. Which brings me to Pecola.
Pecola doesn’t have much of a past because no one allows her to have any. Everyone is always giving her their past, enforcing restrictions upon her and placing her into categories. Because of this she lives vicariously through these much wanted blue eyes. She is given this offspring of hate and rejection and forced to live in a present more vile than any past of any one particular character. Toni Morrison and James Baldwin make suggestions that the past is rooted into the present in both the novels with depth and clarity. In order to move forward you have to complete the past if not you could wind up in the future of the past for you. History.