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The Bluest Eye. Difference Between Home and House

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When one thinks of the word home, a place of comfort, love, and support comes to mind. Home is where one goes to ease their mind and soul from the hectic nature of the world outside, hang up their hat, sit, and put up their feet, only to be surrounded by the ones that they love. Home is a place where one goes when they are confused, afraid, unsure or merely exhausted from life’s challenges, to feel serenity, and a peace of mind.

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When thinking of home and all the things that come to mind when saying that simple four letter word, we tend to forget that maybe because for us home means all of those great things, unfortunately many people are not as lucky to have a home to go to at the end of their days. Yes, they might have a house to go to at the end of their days where they have a lawn, a balcony, a bed, a kitchen, a living room, and even a yard, just as we do, but still, do not have a home.

A house, in its true meaning, is just merely that, a house.

A house is a constructed place of living, where one resides, that has all the materialistic essentials to survive in it, but is not a home because it has no feeling of love, safety or serenity within it. These two words, “home” and “house”, that seem so similar, are so very different in their meanings. In, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, house and home as ideal and reality is one of the main themes that are shown frequently in the novella, through the lives of the Breedlove family.

Main character Pecola Breedlove struggled as a young girl, living in a house that had little to no sense of home within it because of her family’s dynamic. Pecola Breedlove lived in a house with her brother Sammy and her parents Cholly and Pauline Breedlove who had an extremely negative relationship, which included constant bickering and physical violence with one another. Pecola’s mothers’ insensitivity and unloving attitude toward her children, combined with Cholly Breedlove’s rage of constant violence, resulted in Pecola having no sense of home within her house.

Pecola living in a time and place where African Americans were not equally accepted in society was a big enough struggle for a young girl to face on a day to day basis in the world outside of her house, but Pecola’s struggles only continued when she went “home” every day. “In the first scene in which the ironically named Breedlove family is presented to the reader, Pecola’s parents, Pauline and Cholly, are engaged in violent combat brought on by “inarticulate fury and aborted desires” (TBE 31). While their son screams at his mother “Kill him!

Kill him! ” eleven-year-old Pecola tries to make herself disappear. She tries to imagine away every limb in her body, literally erasing her physical presence. She finds, however, that she cannot erase her eyes. This may imply to the reader that she cannot extract herself from the harsh realities of her home…She prays continuously for blue eyes…maybe her parents would be different: “Maybe they’d say ‘Why look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustn’t do bad things in front of those pretty eyes”’(34). (pg. 389) (Naomi Rokotnitz).

This criticism of The Bluest Eye exemplifies the specific struggle of heartache that Pecola Breedlove struggled with constantly when seeing the two people that gave her life relentlessly fighting with one another. Pecola, as any other eleven-year-old girl, wanted more than anything to come “home” to an environment of love, serenity, and a sense of security. But, she instead would go “home”, to an environment of anger, chaos, and danger. Cholly and Pauline Breedlove suffered through difficulties themselves during their childhood, such as family abandonment and social embarrassment.

One can come to the conclusion that perhaps sometimes when a parent goes through a traumatic childhood themselves, they are likely to bring it upon their own children, such as the Breedloves did. “Through Cholly and Pauline, Morrison suggests that parents who emerge from histories of oppression might reproduce that degradation within the family unit. Instead of providing for and protecting his family, Cholly bums down the insular domestic space that should have symbolized not only his family’s, but the nation’s affluence and security.

Similarly, Pauline feels no patriotic obligation to nurture the offspring that, to her, reflect her own ugliness. Instead, having learned that a white family’s servant wields far more power than a black family’s mother, she spends all of her time working as a domestic for the Fishers, where “Power, praise, and luxury were hers” (101). ” (pg. 61) (Debra T Werrlein) Pauline Breedlove displayed no affection of love or nurturing toward her daughter Pecola, but in contrast treated her boss’ children with the utmost affection and tender loving care.

It seems very odd that a mother would put the feelings of her white boss’ children above her own just because she thinks they are beautiful according to society, and her children are not. A mother, naturally, should be the one person that looks at her children as the most beautiful people inside and out. Yet, Pauline Breedlove looks at her children as being “ugly”, just as she believes that she is. This attitude of inferiority to the perfect white “Dick and Jane” stereotype that people had during this time, of course lived through the eyes of not only Pauline, but Pecola.

Pecola idolized Shirley Temple because of her beauty which came from her white skin, nice hair, and most importantly, blue eyes, according to her. She desperately wished that she could have blue eyes, because she believed that then, society would look at her as a beautiful girl. Pauline’s constant criticism and coldness, made Pecola feel numb to the negativity and even believe that in fact her and her family was “ugly” because they did not fit the “Dick and Jane” stereotype.

To Pecola, her house was a place of disapproval, anger, ugliness, and a place where she felt that she had to be on pins and needles so that she wouldn’t do anything “wrong”, to upset Cholly or Pauline. These are all the things that a home is not. “It is important to note that the narrator, and Morrison, through her, condemns the evasion of questioning by the community after Pecola’s rape…The women question each other about what happened and what should be done about it, but they evade the essential questions raised by the event.

They do not question the ostracism Pecóla is to face and enforce that ostracism by stating she should be removed from school. They assume Pecóla can be responsible by tying her innocence to whether she fought back…Most perniciously, though, the women state that Pecola’s child would be “better off in the ground” not because it is die product of incest and rape but because it is destined to be “ugly”. (pg. 180-181) (Zora Neale Hurston) Pecola Breedlove has the most horrific, disgusting and traumatizing thing that could happen to a young girl, happen to her: being raped and mpregnated by her own father. Cholly Breedlove, a man who was supposed to be the caregiver, and protector of his young daughter, was the man that violated his daughter in every way possible.

One can only imagine how difficult it was for Pecola to have to endure such an act forced upon her by her own flesh and blood. Yet, her father, the man that raped her, lived under the same roof as her, in the same house. How is it possible that this young girl could go to her house, which encages Cholly Breedlove, and have any sense of home? The answer is that it is not possible. Morrison, in other words, seeks to expose the economic and racial codes that create the ultimate horror of Pecola’s story…Perhaps, in some sense, Morrison is offering us a sample of how cultural narratives should be reconstructed: not around a rnythological Dick and Jane Utopia, nor even around an omniscient, Journalistic, and “”historic” expose of a Pecola-like story.

Rather’, Morrison’s telling of the Pecola tragedy is a community endeavor that is tempered by omniscient subnarratives of the Breedlove family and the Lorain community. ”(pg. 18-119) (Blumenthal, Rachel) Pecola’s parents equally contributed to her emotional struggle that caused her to have no sense of home: Cholly Breedlove, who burnt down his home, threw his family “outdoors”, raped and impregnated her and was physically abusive to his wife in front of Pecola, and Pauline, who was a cold, unaffectionate and insensitive mother toward her daughter. Unfortunately what home means to most people: love, relaxation, serenity, protection, and happiness, it does not mean to some unfortunate others such as Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

Cite this The Bluest Eye. Difference Between Home and House

The Bluest Eye. Difference Between Home and House. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-bluest-eye-difference-between-home-and-house/

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