Sunday, September 16, 2012

Allusions and Cultural References

The Bluest Eye Allusions & Cultural References
         When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why. For each of the references below, write a brief summary of the work, character, or event. Then choose one of Morrison's allusions and discuss it importance to the work as a whole as your blog post. Do not forget to respond to at least two of your peers' posts.  All responses should be highly structured and demonstrate a comprehension of the English language. 
 
 

96 comments:

  1. *Hamlet - Famous Shakespearean play where Prince Hamlet is determined to exact revenge on his Uncle who murdered his father, the late King Hamlet.
    *Ophelia - The potential love interest of Prince Hamlet, who acted as a foil character to his mother, Queen Gertrude.
    *Dante - Major poet of the Middle Ages, also known as the Father of the Italian Language.
    *Fyodor Destoyevsky - Russian writer whose literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society.
    *Jesus Christ - Messiah of the christian faith. Believed to be sent from God to wash humans of their sins. Debatable Martyr.
    *Mary Magdalene - was rid of her seven demons my Jesus, and was the first to see him after his ressurection.
    *FDR - Only president to be voted for longer than two terms, and famous for leading America through war time and the Great Depression.
    Civilian Conservation Corps - Work relief program created to aid families who had difficulty finding work during the Great Depression.
    Gargoyles and Harridans - Gargoyles, stone creatures placed outside of buildings (usually churches) to ward off evil. Believed to come alive at night. Harridans act as brood-mothers to Gargoyles. They have no legs or feet because one airborne, it is said they can never land.
    *Greta Garbo - International superstar in the "Golden Age" and renown as a cinematic figure.
    *Ginger Rogers - American actress, dancer, and singer who appeared in film, and on stage, radio, and television throughout much of the 20th century.
    *Shirley Temple - Famous Actress, most known for her screenplay in Curly Top, and had her wholesome image displayed widely through dishes, dolls, and clothing.
    *Jane Withers - best known for being one of the most popular child film stars of the 1930s and early 1940s, as well as for her portrayal of "Josephine the Plumber".
    *Imitation of Life - A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
    *Claudette Colbert - French-born American actress and is recognized as one of the leading female exponents of screwball comedy.
    *Betty Grable - Grable was celebrated for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and studio publicity widely dispersed photos featuring them. Her iconic bathing suit poster made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era.
    *Hedy Lamarr - Austrian-american actress celebrated for her great beauty.
    *Clark Gable - Often named the top male movie star, and second only to the top box-office draw of all, Shirley Temple.
    *Jean Harlow - American actress and sex symbol in the 1930's, best known as the "blonde-bombshell"
    *Mary Jane - Yellow wrapped candy, with a white girl on the front with blue mischievous eyes.
    Also different name for Marijuana.

    The obvious allusion that Morrison uses, despite Shirley Temple, has to be Jane Withers. Jane is a world renown child actress, but also Morrison begins her whole novel with the tale of Dick and Jane. She describes the stereotypical white middle class family, even though she never directly states the race. This shows a stark contrast to the family that Pecola was born into. With Jane as her foil character, Pecola also wants someone to play with, but unlike Jane, it might never come for her. Or at least not in the way she or us, as readers expect.

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    1. Maylyne, how would one understand Pekola's world view without her references to a venerable past American time period? Would we as reader's still understand Pekola and the Breedlove's even if they weren't American? If they were say Kurds in Iraq or Afrikaners in South Africa would we still understand them? Is minority status a universal feeling or is it something unique to it's environment?

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    2. I am interested to hear your thoughts to Christian's post. Is minority status a universal feeling or is it something unique to it's environment?

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    3. Yes, I do think that minority status is a universal feeling. The reader, whoever it is, or wherever they are from can almost always relate to a minority status. Even if they themselves are not the minority group, they would hold reference to who the minorities are in their society. Although we as readers relate, or understand the Breedloves more because they are American, doesn't mean that it would change any less if they were Kurds from Iraq, or Afrikaners in South Africa. Instead of generalizing the Breedloves to Americans, if you were to specifically talk about them being black and living in Ohio, even though I myself as a reader can't directly relate to being a poor black girl in Ohio, I relate it to my surroundings and refer to the poverty that I am surrounded by.

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  2. 1.Hamlet-One of William Shakespeare's most famous works, a drama based on internecine family struggle and cruelty. Famous for being the inspiration of the Lion King.

    2.Ophelia-A love interest of Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet, whose character acts as the mirror of Hamlet's moral and spiritual decay.

    3.Othello-At first glance, the main character of his namesake Shakespearean play (that honor belongs to the cretinous Iago unfortunately), Othello is actually a heroic Venetian general of Black African Moorish descent. Othello is created by Shakespeare as a heroic character in a time period when most Black Africans were portrayed as villains or worse.

    4.Dante-One of the infamous poets of human history. Also known as one of the most subversive. His Magnum Opus, The Inferno, pokes fun at every facet of Late Middle Ages, Early Renaissance society in allegory form. Was known for getting away with things that would have gotten other poets drawn and quartered.

    5.Fyodor Destoyevsky- Russian writer of 19nth century who provided social commentary on the backwardness and reaction of Russian society in particular and human action in general.

    6.Jesus of Nazareth- Self-proclaimed Son of God and "Messiah" of the Jewish people according to the Christian faction of Abrahamic religion. Was said to have been able to conduct miracles in his time, such as the mass slaughter of demon possessed pigs and the turning of water into popular Hellenistic party drinks.

    7.Mary Magdalene- A woman whom according to whatever poor Biblical translator you trust the most was either a prostitute who Jesus of Nazareth protected from stoning in violation of the laws of the Old Testament or the wife of Jesus and mother of his children. Major character in the culturally significant Jesus Christ Super Star.

    8.Franklin Delano Roosevelt- Notable President of the United States who was confined to a wheel chair early in his life. Became an advocate for the Allies and Anti-Fascists in WW2 despite sweltering political opposition from political opportunists and fifth columnists. Infamous emperimenteer on the United States economy. Death while in office was met with dumbstruck and beleaguered global crowds. Gore Vidal called him the "Julius Caesar" of the American Republic.



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    1. Christian may I ask,where did you get the description of who Mary Magdalene was? I am sorry but whoever wrote that obviously has never read the Bible and does not know that Christ never united with a woman in all his time his on earth.

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    2. I have to agree with Vanessa. Please cite your source or go back and re-read source. If I am not mistaking, your source might be discussing or describing several Mary's in the bible. Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary, wife of Cleopas. Actually, the bible mentions several women by the name of Mary. Pay attention to Mary Magdalene; Morrison actually alludes to her in novel.

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    3. Christian ShaughnessySeptember 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM

      Well I'd be happy to point your curiosities to the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, Phillip, and the aptly named fragment (albeit colloquially named so far) Gospel of Jesus's Wife. Also ask yourself why a traveling 30 something year old Rabbi in a patriarchal society wouldn't be married. Was Jesus of Nazareth a man or not? And does a man not have needs?

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  3. 8.Franklin Delano Roosevelt- Notable President of the United States who was confined to a wheel chair early in his life. Became an advocate for the Allies and Anti-Fascists in WW2 despite sweltering political opposition from political opportunists and fifth columnists. Infamous emperimenteer on the United States economy. Death while in office was met with dumbstruck and beleaguered global crowds. Gore Vidal called him the "Julius Caesar" of the American Republic.

    9.Civilian Conservation Corps- One of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "alphabet soup" agencies that was designed to employ unemployed Americans during the great Depression. Gained the distinction of inspiring the phrase "boondoggle" along with the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

    10.Gargoyles and Harridans-Mythical creatures who ostensible "protect" one from the evil minions of the night.

    11.Greta Garbo- Film star and celebrity during the "Golden Age" of film.

    12.Ginger Rogers- Actress renowned for her entertainment medium versatility throughout the 20nth century.

    13.Shirley Temple-Huge child actress in the 1930's. Had a non alcoholic jazz drink named after her.

    14.Jane Whithers-One of the most popular child actors in her time, even rivaling Shirley Temple in market share.

    15.Imitation of Life-1934 novel that touched on openly racial themes, uncommon for its time.

    16.Claudette Colbert-Pioneer in physical comedy and "screwball" antics.

    17.Betty Grable-Scandalously blessed pin up model who was known for her looooooong legs.

    18.Hedy Lamarr-Beautiful Hollywood actress of the 20nth century.

    19.Clark Gable- One of the best actors in human history. Renowned and widely applauded for his awesome performance in one of the best films of all time Gone with the wind.

    20.Jean Harlow- Blonde Hollywood actress known for her attractive physical appearance.

    21.Mary Jane- Tasty Molasses and Peanut butter candy. Also known as marijuana to those whose experiences in this world are *ahem* herbally inclined.

    A reference of paramount importance is the mentioning of the existence of the "Civilian Conservation Corps". From this historical item we as readers can determine the time period and culture of the characters in the Bluest Eye. This helps us understand the setting and context in further detail, thus heightening our understanding of the financial issues the Breedloves feel on a daily basis simply trying to make ends meet.

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    1. Why does their financial hardship matter? Please elaborate.

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    2. Money in that time period was scarce, and it was rare to have nice things back then. Since Christian mentions the CCC then the time period would be while the nation was trying to leave the Great Depression. even though it was tough back then to survive with the little money one had, it was even harder for an African American person to survive since there was still discrimination going on.
      -Jesus Alcantar

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    3. Christian ShaughnessySeptember 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      Jesus Alcantar is right, more information as to the Breedlove's economic status makes it clear to us as readers what and where the Breedlover's are in life.

      Also are you married Jesus? This would help us settle an argument further up blog.

      Thanks.

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  4. Hamlet- Hamlet is recognized as an character in a famous Shakespearean play titled "Hamlet" He is portrayed as an indecisive adult, full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming and disgust for his mother’s sexuality, also a university student at Wittenberg, he is the son of the murdered king of Denmark, making him the one and only prince of Denmark.

    Ophelia: Also in Hamlet, Hamlet's love interest

    Othello- an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him. In spite of his elevated status, he is nevertheless easy prey to insecurities because of his age, his life as a soldier, and his race.

    Fyodor Dostoevsky- a Russian novelist, journalist, short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

    Jesus Christ- son of God, sent down to sacrifice himself for mankind's sins.

    Mary Magdalene- Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", sometimes interpreted as referring to complex illnesses.

    FDR- Famous for getting America out of the Great Depression.

    Civilian Conservation Corps- a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 17–23 part of the new deal program.

    Gargoyles and Harridans- Gargoyles are often statues that form as guardiens of the church, they are thought to come alive after dark. Harridans are the Gargoyles' 'brood-mothers' and carry their 'young' into battle.

    Greta Garbo- a Swedish film actress and an international star and icon during Hollywood's silent and classic periods.

    Ginger Rogers- an American actress, dancer, and singer who appeared in film, and on stage, radio, and television throughout much of the 20th century

    Shirley Temple- an American child film and television actress, singer, dancer (blonde hair, brown eyes, pale)

    Jane Withers- an American actress. Beginning a prolific career as a child actress at the age of three (brown hair brown eyes)

    Imitation of life- a old film about a struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter.

    Claudette Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures

    Betty Grable- Started as a young actress forced into acting by her mother, recognized for her platinum blonde hair.

    Hedy Lamarr- An actress who started her career at age 17, continued her career after her first film, in German and Czechoslovakian productions.

    Clark Gable- An actor who quit high school to work in a tire factory, before seeing his first play "The birds of paradise" realizing his pursuit to be an actor.

    Jean Harlowe- Jean "The Original Blond Bombshell" provided Hollywood with the image of the "Hollywood sex goddess". Somewhat like a Madonna or a Marilyn Monroe.

    Mary Jane- A type of peanut butter and molasses flavored taffy type candy with peanut butter in the center, the image of the young girl in the front.

    The allusion to Mary Jane affects the readers mood towards Pecola. While one may not know the appearance of the little girl on the Mary Jane wrapper, or even heard of the candy before the reader is provided with enough information to understand the change of Pecola's innocence. With the candy, as she feels the need to "eat Mary Jane", and her eyes, she is given "nine lovely orgasms" with the nine candies. The information given allows the reader to perceive Pecola differently, not so much as a child but as someone who is mature enough to gain nine orgasm, something which takes time with young women. The candy does not taste so great as to create this effect, but rather the idea of eating or rather being Mary Jane a girl who does not have to go through hard times such as being taunted or witnessing her family fight. If Pecola could "be" Mary Jane, a happy idolized white girl, maybe she would be happy.

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    1. I agree with you because a smilier situation happens with the Shirley Temple cup, she love that cup but because to her Shirley is the perfect little girl with a perfect life. Thats all Pecola wants a perfect life with no pain it.

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    2. While this is true, you can also amplify that it is not her beauty because rather than the author portraying a photo, or picture of Shirley Temple the author chooses to use a "silhouette". A silhouette is not a full outline of Shirley's beauty, but rather presents the idea or outline of Shirley. Morrison chooses to present the silhouette because the beauty of Shirley is of no importance, but rather the idea of her life style. Pecola's eager motives, illustrates her pursuit for the life of Shirley and the idea of her life, not her beauty.

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    3. I completely agree with you. My only concern is that I thought Pecola wanted those blue eyes displayed on the candy wrapper. That if she had those eyes her family would not fight nor people will not tease her.

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    4. I agree with your allusion and view point, because this scene made me look at Pecola way differently. At first I had the impression that she was a innocent girl who was always bullied. And this scene opened my eyes to the idea that she was a very experienced girl. Who as young as she is, she was able to experience all this.

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    5. I think what you meant to say was "women" not "young women" because young women aren't the only ones that require time to have orgasms. I do agree with the fact that she wants to BE Mary Jane. She wants to be beautiful with Blue Eyes and also does show her maturity because she is able to have the nine orgasms.

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    6. Miguel brings up an interesting point. What exactly does her desire actually reveal about her let alone society?

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    7. Pecola's desire of wanting the blue eyes reveals that she does not fit in with society like she wants. The setting and people that surround her are beautiful, but her house and family are not; they are "ugly". She wants to change that.

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    8. Sabrina, I agree with you about Claudia's feelings about Shirley Temple have nothing to do with actual beauty. Her animosity towards Shirley Temple does not stem from the jealously of wanting to be loved and adored by millions of people, but from just the 'idea' of the blond-haired, blue-eyed 'white' child being the one who is always adored.

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    9. Esperanza ElizarrarazSeptember 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      I do agree with what you said about the allusion. I thought though when I read this scene that as she was eating the sandy , Pecola herself became the little white girl on the wrapper. By being her, all her troubles would go away and she would have that perfect life that she's desired. She would be that white little girl that others looked at with adoration. Her orgasms were in a sense a release of all her wants being satisfied while eating the candy.

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  5. In the novel “The Bluest Eye” author Toni Morrison alludes to the religious figure Jesus Christ in order to establish an idea of what parents should be like, most importantly, of what a Father should be like. Jesus Christ, a member of the trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is unarguably, the Son. Jesus’ “father” (God), stands as a perfect example of the characteristics that a father is supposed to portray. The father God is loving towards His child[ren], His love in never failing and unconditional, He wants nothing but good for His child[ren], and would never do anything to harm his child[ren]. The allusion to Jesus Christ early on in the novel allows for the reader to have a perception of what a father (parent) is supposed to and allows for the reader to see the contrast that is made.

    Throughout the novel there is a contrast between the Father that Jesus has with the Father that Pecola has. Jesus is all that is good in a father (parent), whereas Mr.Breedlove is of all things evil,he is the extreme opposite of Jesus' father. The contrast that has been created between the two fathers can relate to the saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". In the case of Jesus and the Father God, this is a good thing- the Father was a Holy man, thus Jesus was holy. In the case of Pecola and Mr.Breedlove, it is a frightening thing. Mr.Breedlove was a vile man, and the fate of Pecola can thought to be similar to that of Cholly. The allusion to Jesus Christ and the contrast between the two fathers is ultimately established to allow the reader to ponder whether a young individual can break free of their family's pattern.

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    1. Christian ShaughnessySeptember 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM

      Vanessa, in your first claim you argue that the figure of Jesus of Nazareth is used by Morrison to establish a standard for parents to emulate. You then count on the Trinity as an elaboration of this standard. Is this metric only for fathers i.e. male parents, considering that Jesus of Nazareth was undisputably a male and that the common gender identification of Yahweh and the Trinity is male? If so, isn't this a terrible bar to use? Especially in an allegedly socially conscious work of literature? It wouldn't be wise nor prudent to do this would it? We wouldn't wish to leave the ladies out would we Ms. Gonzales? One can already feel the callous literary abandonment of the female without even being of the gender!

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    2. This time, I am going to have to say that I agree with Christian; does Jesus serve as an allusion solely for fathers, Cholly in this case, or is he a standard for all people, females included?
      I percieved the Jesus allusion slightly different.

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  6. Through the allusion of Mary Jane, the author demonstrates Pecola's substitute for love. The author suggests, "three pennies had bought her nine lovely orgasms with Mary Jane" (Morrison)Pecola sees the Mary Janes as much more than candy. In making this comment, Morrison argues that Pecola has found a substitute for love since she does not receive any from anyone. This situation reveals that Pecola is searching for love in order to fill level with Claudia and Frieda.

    The author conveys, "To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane" (Morrison) the significance of the candy and its appearances. Through the text, Pecola constantly wants blue eyes because she thinks it will change the way people behave around her. The author is insisting that Pecola believes she has become Mary Jane with pretty blue eyes and has felt the joy of love because she eats the candy with the picture of Mary Jane on it.

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    1. I see where your argument is going, Pecola finds a TEMPORARY substitution for love, but I believe there can be a deeper meaning to the Mary Jane candy. Most candy is sweet but this candy "Mary Jane" is not, it is moreover a salty candy, which should've hinted the reader to understand that her temporary love is not sweet, forsake it is fake, and only temporary. It is also ironic that right after the Mary Jane being introduced in the novel the prostitutes are later also introduced. It reveals an insight toward the more sexual upcoming scenes to be displayed in the novel.

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    2. Maybe off topic; but "Three pennies had bought her nine lovely orgasms with Mary Jane" foreshadowing the three "sugar coated whores later on?

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    3. Andrea, that's an interesting way to view it! Perhaps it could be foreshadowing, or maybe it was just to aid in transitioning?

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    4. NICE!!!! Andrea, that would be an awesome assertion. You could argue that. Actually, all deserts, sweets, treats, etc., seem to somehow refer back to sex. Please all; what are your thoughts?

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    5. Never thought about it that way but it makes sense, I would have never seen that in the book if Andrea didn't bring it up, that just makes me want to read more closely again.
      -Jesus Alcantar

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    1. I do not understand the "allusion" you are trying to explain. I was thought that an allusion was a "reference", and I see no reference to any object or person in this description. Although I do understand what you are trying to say, I do not see at any moment where a reference was explained to emphasis the meaning of the scenario.

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    2. The allusion i was trying to get across was the fact where Morrison says that in return they didn't despise her. Referencing it to society, but in actual context referring it to the three prostitutes. Morrison makes the allusion of referencing this quote to society without directly implying it. Do you get my view point now?

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    3. I have to agree with Lizbeth. You have not actually mentioned or discussed an allusion. Go back and try again.

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  8. Morrison's allusion towards 'Shirley Temple' is important to the novel as a whole simply because of the scrutiny Claudia expresses towards this figure. Shirley Temple is a young child star and evidently most girls are assumed to be enamored with her—Pecola and Frieda included, however Claudia lives as the exemption. The importance of the allusion is the insight it gives the reader towards Claudia’s distaste for ‘white’ girls. Claudia’s hatred isn’t over some petty experience or argument—but burns deep within her being. Claudia despises white girls for their place in society as the standard of beauty and for all that they take away from her kind. Shirley Temple is the perfect allusion for such hatred simply because she is the epitome of the beautiful ‘white’ girl that was centered within the media during this time period and the fact that she danced with Claudia’s ‘uncle, daddy, and friend’—Bojangles—as seen in one of Shirley Temple’s movies “The Little Colonel”. These factors are the true reasoning’s behind Claudia’s hatred. Skin color is not a deterring factor, instead it is the standard of beauty Shirley epitomizes, as well as the fact that Shirley is stealing away what is rightfully hers.

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    1. So, I am unsure of your claim. Is it that you feel she has a deep hatred for 'white' girls, or can you argue that she is jealous? Also the emphasis on the 'white' girls, is it still identified as a standard of beauty can you still argue that in a present day time? I appreciate that you had done your research, and explained where the reference of the -Bojangles- came from.

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    2. My claim basically stated that Claudia does possess jealousy towards the white girls, which is where her hatred derives from. (Hope that clears up any confusion within my claim.) Furthermore, the standard of beauty in this day and age has transformed from the novel's time period greatly, so it would be safe to say that 'white girls' are not considered the standard of beauty anymore due to there being a wider spectrum for the standard.

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    3. Sabrina's question deserves some attention. Please share your thoughts.

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    4. I understand what you are saying but I believe she is actually envious of Shirley. Not for her race but because she has Bojangles. Shirley should be convicted for stealing.

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    5. I feel that you captured the meaning of Shirley temple within the novel very well. I felt that it is important to include how this certain allusion revealed the hatred Claudia has against white girls. I know you mentioned it in your response and feel that you really analyzed what it was revealing. I agree that Claudia has this disgust among the white girls because of their place in society. It is a common case of jealous that grew within Claudia to cause the foul feelings of white girls or “Shirley temples”. With this the reader can understand what Claudia feels every time a white girl comes into her life.

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    6. I agree with you Sergio. I feel her anger stems from jealousy. Can you share why you believe she is jealous, Sergio?

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  9. In the novel "The Bluest Eyes" by Toni Morrison, the author uses an allusion between the three prostitutes and "three merry gargoyles" (Morison), which is an ugly creature which protects from evil spirits. I found this ironic because eventhough the prostitutes are not described as hideous humans or beauty queens, as far as the novel goes they are the most "beautiful" in personality wise because they accept Pecola for who she is. The prostitutes do not criticize her like the rest of the society does. Morrison incorporates the three prostitutes to have a feeling of protection over Pecola. Ms. Marie is the parental figure and always seems to show an insight of care for Pecola. Ms. Marie plays the foil character of Pecola's mother Mrs. Breedlove who shows no speck of care for Pecola, as Ms. Marie does.

    The author causes the reader to realize that the prostitutes are not like the stereotypical prostitutes. Although they are classified as a lower class because of their profession the prostitutes have a stability on their values. These values allow them to symbolize the irony on being compared to gargoyles.

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    1. I agree with your point that sates the three prostitutes serve as protectors towards Pecola, but how do you think the women allude to harridans as well?

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    2. Liz,is it really ironic that the prostitutes are compared to gargoyles, or is this comparison supposed to have a different meaning? To me it just seemed as if the gargoyles represented how society views these three prostitutes,as something hideous. Because if you think about it, people detest them for who they are, like Claudia's mother.In the research that I did, it also mentioned that gargoyles were used to attract non-Catholics to the faith.If you think about it, these three prostitutes have a certain seductive power that attracts any man of any nationality and marital status;according to their repertoire of men they have been with.Couldn't Morrison wanted to purposely compare them to gargoyles to express the view of society towards them?

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    3. Well I view gargoyles as protectors from evil/darkness. Plus in a way the prostitutes are protecting Pecola, they even show some parental attachment when they say "Hi, dumplin'. Where your socks?". This indicates that they care for her. Other people, mostly children, view them as evil and bad due to their parents telling story's about them. The reality is that the parents do not want their children to go down the path the prostitutes have chosen for themselves.

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    4. Liz, I like how you mentioned that the prostitutes protect Pecola. While reading the story I had connected the prostitutes as some sort of substitute family to Pecola, but after reading your response to the blogpost I have a clearer understanding of the importance that the prostitutes hold in Pecola's life. I think you did a very good job in your response!

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    5. I know you mentioned how the gargoyles related to the story but just like Emilia asked does it allude to the harridans as well? I agree with your views on the gargoyles, I just did not know what your viewpoint was of the harridans and the work as a whole. I also want to comment on Vanessa’s claim of the gargoyles. I think what you mentioned was very good as well. I did not see that maybe society viewed the prostitutes as hideous like gargoyles not protectors.

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    7. I agree with your allusion of the three prostitutes and gargoyles.I have nothing to criticize you were right on point in my opinion.

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    8. Although I agree with you on how the three prostitutes serve as protectors to Pecola, I have to side with Vanessa in saying that I don't think Morrison uses it ironically. I think it is more of an allusion to their profession, but also their caring manners. In the cartoons the, "Gargoyles" they were statues that were stone during the day and came out at night, like the prostitutes. But in the cartoon, the gargoyles served as protectors of the city, even though they were given no acknowledgement or reward because they were already deemed, unworthy.

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    9. Esperanza ElizarrarazSeptember 19, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      I do agree with what you said that Morrison uses the three prostitutes as protectors for Pecola. But yeah , I too agree with Vanessa's statement about her using the allusion to refer to their profession.

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  11. The way Morrison wrote about Shirley Temple is used to describe the Ideal women who is blond and blue eyes. The "perfect" women demonstrates the way society views women and what is consider to be beautiful, making Pecola and Claudia wonder about their beauty. In the novel beauty and self-esteem dictates a lot of the story line. You can see that since the whole time Pecola is wondering what it takes for a man to fall in love, making her wish she was a blond blue eyed beauty.

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  12. Hamlet- Brilliantly written by Shakespeare,Hamlet is a play that uncovers treachery,incest,and revenge.Prince Hamlet takes revenge on his uncle after he kills the King, Hamlet's father.Then, he takes his own mother as his wife to rule by his side.
    Gargoyles and Harridans- Gargoyles were first put on the roofs of homes as a spout to drain any water.They were of a grotesque nature with human-like or animal-like physic.However,it is thought that they were put on churches to attract non-Catholics into the faith, or at least to make them feel more comfortable or appealed.
    Mary Jane-A delicious candy that has gone through the process of remaking it,but none of the modified versions have been as good as the first.
    Jesus-The son of God.Also known as the savior of humanity because of his bloodshed that gave humans a second chance of reconciliation with God.

    In "The Bluest Eye",Morrison makes an allusion to Hamlet and it is not accidental. Since Hamlet is a play about incest, it perfectly sets a parallel to Pecola's life. Pecola gets abused by her father and ends up pregnant. In Hamlet, Prince Hamlet commits incest with her mother. It can be said that both the novel like the play portray how common it was for incest to happen within families of older time eras. This also produces a grotesque feeling in the reader from seeing the abuse that a poor young lady had to go through. With this parallelism, the author achieves to touch the reader's heart and make them be more lenient towards defending Pecola,even if it is only subconsciously. The parallelism also demonstrates how different trends can roll over to different time periods and reoccur in different social classes.Which demonstrates in it of its self that no one is freed of the possibility of this happening to them, no matter how hard it might seem.

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    1. Nice work. I saw you that you used the term "trend." The manner in which you use the term seems a bit unconventional. Can you explain?

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  13. Literary References

    Hamlet: Main character from Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" , the only prince who seeks revenge for his fathers death.
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    Ophelia: Also stars in "Hamlet" and happens to be involved with Hamlet.
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    Dante: A major poet during the Middle Ages, from Italy, one of his peaces of work "Commedia" has been considered a great literary work.
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    Fyodor Destoyevsky: A Russian who is regarded as one of the greatest novelists of the Golden Age.

    Religious References

    Jesus Christ: Believed to be the son of God, led many towards Christianity.
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    Mary Magdalene: Close friend of Jesus Christ and an important female disciple.

    Historical References

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Thirty second president of the United States of America during the the great depression.
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    Civilian Conservation Corps - From FDR's New Deal that helped unemployed Americans.
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    Gargoyles and Harridans: Gargoyles were used to scar away darkness and evil that tried to reside in Church's. Harridans were women that were vicious and scolding.

    Pop Culture References

    Greta Garbo: A film actress from Sweden who was an icon due to her performance in numerous films.
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    Shirley Temple: American actress famous for being a television actress, singer, and dancer. Featured in films like Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel, and Curly Top.
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    Jane Withers: Was a child actress and was one of the most popular child during the 1930's and early 1940's.
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    Imitation of Life: A novel that focused at American race relations.
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    Claudette Colbert: An actress that started her career in Broadway and became a freelancer performer.
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    Betty Grable: An american actress, dancer, and singer. She also appeared in several famous musical films.
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    Hedy Lamarr: An Austrian-American actress who was also Mathematically talented.
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    Clark Gable: An american film actor who was the top movie star in the mid- 1930's.
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    Jean Harlow: Consider to be a Film actress that was viewed as a sex symbol.
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    Mary Jane: A molasses flavored taffy candy with peanut butter in the center.

    In the novel "The Bluest Eye," Morrison uses allusions towards Shirley Temple and Mary Jane. When Shirley Temple is mentioned Claudia shows hatred towards Shirley not because she was white but because she danced with "Bojangles" which in a way can be view as a friend in Claudia's eyes. When Mary Jane pops up Claudia narrators that Pecola favors these candies due to the little girl on the wrapper who happens to have blue eyes.

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    1. Currently, your thoughts are a bit shallow. Look at that section again. Her hatred for old squinted Shirley stems from a deeper issue. What is that issue?

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    4. I think you are looking at this the wrong way. Claudia dislike Shirley because she is white.You should look into that section a little more

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    5. In the novel "The Bluest Eye" the author, Toni Morrison, uses the allusion of Jane Withers to better describe the dissimilarity between Claudia and her two compatriots, Frieda and Pecola. Though Freida and Pecola love the generally well known and adored Shirley Temple, Claudia favors the still famous, however less popular Jane Withers. This is significant because unlike the blonde, porcelain-skinned Shirley, Jane Withers is a more relatable young girl. While Shirley is this idea of utter perfection in children with her blonde hair and blue eyes, Jane depicts a girl that is easier to associate with as she has both dark brown hair and eyes. Claudia favors Jane not only for this more relatable appearance, but also for the way that she is not Shirley.
      Claudia does not simply despise Shirley, she dislikes the idea of perfection that she provokes. Since Temple is known as "America's little darling" how is a young underprivileged black girl supposed to look up to this unattainable standard?

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  14. In the novel, "The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison, the author alludes to Shirley Temple in a very direct manner. The author depicts Shirley quite vividly, but especially her Blue Eyes. This is done to allow the reader to understand Pecola's views on life. Such as because she has brown eyes she feels neglected and ugly, if she were to have blue eyes she would be "beautiful" in society's eyes. Pecola envies Shirley's seeming to be perfect life just for the sheer fact of her race. Society was cruel towards Pecola, she simply longed for people to accept her.

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    1. I agree with you that she is envious of Shirley Temple because she is white with blue eyes. Although Pecola may be a tad jealous of her race, you can depict from the story that she actually desires blue eyes so that her family will not fight.

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    2. Overall, i like what you said about her having brown eyes and being neglected because of them. Would you say that her wish for blue eyes shows her longing for people to accept her?

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    3. I agree Shirley causes Pecola a sense of anger due to the fact that Shirley has her life resolved because she is white, while Pecola has to face problem after problem because of her race. Though she shows adoration, she does envy her beauty and above all the love she receives from others which Pecola is eagerly waiting to receive from someone.

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  15. In the novel, Toni Morrison makes an allusion toward Shirley Temple. The allusion gives the the reader an insight to Claudia's point of view and the society views on the ideal child. In is through Claudia's point of view in which the readers find out that Shirley is described as a blonde hair, blue-eyed child that everyone adores. It is important to the work as a whole because it explains why later on in the story, the "white" or light colored people, like rosemary and Maureen are treated differently. It also explains the hatred Claudia those who aren't like her or her sisters.

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    1. But why are Maureen and Rosemary treated differently? Is it because they are a closer representation of Shirley Temple which the other girls despise?

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    2. In a way yes Maureen was not considered a person of the same race as Claudia Frieda or Pecola due to the color of her skin. However the girls do not like her because of the treatment she is given and they are not they still conversate with her due to her not being fully white.

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    3. Gaby, i would say yes, they are a closer representation to Shirley Temple but its only Claudia who despises her.
      Christian, so if Maureen was fully white or fully black, would it have an affect on how the girls approach Maureen?

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  16. Gargoyles are supposed to be these ugly creatures who are supposed to watch over a city while sitting on top of a building. Which can be represented by the whores who live on the second floor of the building. As they can watch over most parts of the street that they live in. Gargoyles and the whores have in common is that they can be these nice creatures but can turn vicious when they need. This can be seen when the whores through the Jew out the window.
    The whores can also be seen as harridans because as mother figures that teach Pecola things about life. Also since a harridan cannot land, the whores will not be able to keep a steady relationship with a man because they will always be floating around.
    -Jesus Alcantar

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    1. The gargoyles do relate to how the characters perceive the whores in the novel, as the ugly creatures you speak of in your post. Though they are unwanted by many, they do show to have good intentions in watching over Pecola as they do not despise her like others and Miss Marie shows to have mother like attentions towards her.

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  17. Toni Morrison incorporates many allusions within the novel “Bluest eye”, including that of the three gargoyles and the harridans. I find this topic especially interesting because many readers see the gargoyles as protectants of a building, and see harridans as dominant or vicious women. It is interesting that the author paired the words together; both meanings apply to the story as a whole. The three prostitutes almost seem as if they are guarding or even protecting Pecola, this reveals how they can relate to the gargoyles. They are to ward off evil just as any other protector. Though it is not as easily said as done considering that they are prostitutes, and not many would want then as a protector. On the other hand, the three prostitutes are not always the protecting type. When it comes to men they are as carless as they come. In the novel Morrison tells the reader “they abused their visitors”(Morrison). They were not kind to men but they were kind to Pecola. Which can also go back to the gargoyles. They may be viewed as a protectants of Pecola but to men, they are hideous just like any other gargoyle. As the author uses the meaning the reader begins to understand the true colors of the prostitutes. All in all, the author uses the two almost as a comparison, in order to reveal to the reader their views on Pecola and men.

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    1. I agree with you since gargoyles and harridans are supposed to be evil it is interesting to know they take a liking to Pecola and do not act the way they are believed to. They act as someone that a child could look up to such as Pecola.

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    2. Gaby, i like how you said they take a liking to Pecola. If pecola wasnt the way she is, do you think they would have approved of her? Or do you think Pecola would have stuck around the prostitutes if she wasn't the child she is?

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  18. In the novel "The Bluest Eye", Morrison alludes the three prostitutes to mythical Gargoyles. It is not unusual that Pecola found protection with prostitutes which are usually the outcasts of society because she herself was a bigger outcast then they were.Unlike society that did nothing but criticize Pecola the Prostitutes were her protectors like the Gargoyles and took her in when no one would talk to her.

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    1. I found it interesting how the prostitutes were compared to gargoyles. We know gargoyles are protectors but the are also ugly terrifying creatures so how is it that Pecola was comfortable enough to associate with them. Is it the fact that Pecola thinks so little of her self that anyone who accepts her is good?

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    2. It's interesting that you've taken the guardian approach with gargoyles. It reminds me of the gargoyles in the Disney variation of the movie, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Combining your's and Chris' ideas, the relationship of Pecola & the Prostitutes and Quasimodo & the Gargoyles are very similar in that all of them are viewed in their respective society as being ugly, terrifying, and/or unwanted and in that central flaw, all of them are able to develop a positive relationship from it. A well-played analysis Jose and Chris.

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    3. Probably, Chris. Pecola doesn't know what affection is from her own mother. So therefore, no matter how promiscuous these prostitutes are, she found shelter to put her heart in, even if it were only for a short while because these prostitutes actually talked to her, unlike the rest of the world. It overshadowed the fact that they are prostitutes and if you think about it, humans can't really live without another human's affection. And Miss Marie actually cared about her. Plus, like Jose said, she was a bigger outcast than they were.

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  19. In the novel “The Bluest Eye,” Morrison alludes to the pop cultural figure Shirley Temple in order to demonstrate society’s standard of beauty. Through Frieda and Pecola’s “conversation of how cuute Shirley Temple was” (Morrison) the reader can infer that appearance is a major part of how these young girls go about. They use Shirley’s to demonstrate how the white girls are able to obtain love, beauty, adoration, and care from everyone including “Bojangles who was [her] friend, [her] uncle, [her] daddy” (Morrison). Pecola in the other hand as a black girl seems to face the difficulties of her ugly appearance, her poor circumstances of a home, and the lack of a real family.

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  20. In the novel "The Bluest Eyes" by Toni Morrison, the author uses allusion toward Shirley Temple to show how not just Pecola looked up to her, but also Frieda. This can expose that all these girls admired Shirely Temple, because if they were like her they would live a better life. They wouldn't suffer and they would have a nice life. It seems like all these girls aim for is to fit the stereotype of a blonde haired blue eyed girl. Maybe because all the Caucasian girls had all they desired, happiness, love something Frieda, Claudia and Pecola didn't really have. This affects the work as a whole because it can show that society was influential from a early period in time. If you had blue eyes you were happy. If you didn't have blue eyes your life wasn't to good.

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  21. In the novel “The Bluest Eye”, author Toni Morrison alludes Mary Jane to The Bible and plant, Marijuana. The family seems religious because Mrs.Breedlove considers herself a Christian women, but Pecola seems to try and stray herself away from society, hence the Marijuana or "Mary Jane". The conflict of choosing between society, and God lays with Pecola as she begins aging and discovering she can make decisions for herself.

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    1. Now I don't fully understand your argument that Pecola is a caught in a "conflict of choosing between society", but I do think it's interesting that you related Pecola's Mary Janes to her mother/family's religion. Candy is widely viewed as a pure object. So is Christianity.
      However, in Pecola's life, both are extremely corrupted and explicit. While Pecola's mother is, as a "good Christian woman", supposed to live a Godly life, she does not exactly do so. This loss of purity bleeds into Pecola's personal, intimate thoughts, which is revealed when she eats the Mary Jane candy and, rather than feel the innocent pleasure of eating a tasty candy, feels the sexual pleasure of temporarily satisfying a long existing itch.

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    2. This is an interesting explanation. However, I feel as though you failed to follow the instructions on mentioning one of the allusions/references provided above. Nonetheless, your unorthodox answer could have been elaborated upon further like how does marijuana connect to Mary Jane - as the candy and as the icon.

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  22. In the novel, Toni Morrison makes an illusion towards Jesus Christ when Pecola is presented with her nine Mary Jane candies which could be a representation of something that only a few are able to see, have, or encounter. The candies and Jesus Christ are a representation of religious communion. Since Pecola is only able to have a few in her possession it is a special moment for her whenever she eats one.

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  23. In the novel "The Bluest Eye", Toni Morrison alludes to both Jane Withers and Hedy Lamarr to sublty reveal Claudia's deep, underlying contempt for her society's idealist image of the 'perfect' little girl and furthermore, her rejection of her own society's beauty standards. Rather than side with Pecola and Freida and chime in on Shirley Temple's cuteness, and rather than agree with Maureen Peel about her favorite actress being Betty Grable, Claudia, in both occasions, rejects the standard 'American woman'. Rather than favoring the blonde-haired, blue-eyed stars, she twice favored the more average looking woman-- the ones sporting brown hair and brown eyes. Although these decisions seem to be shallow and appearance-based only, it actually exposes the rebellion living in Claudia's mind. By rejecting the 'ideal women', Claudia simultaneously rejects her society's beliefs and sets herself apart from nearly everyone she surrounds herself by, including Freida and Pecola. Her rejection reveals the complexity of her mind, even at such a young age, and her disinclination to simply consent with popular opinion-- a shallow, racially based bias on beauty.

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    1. Do you mean to say that Claudia is refusing to conformto admiring the "standard 'American woman'" favored by society?

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  24. Allusion plays a significant role in "The Bluest Eye", by Toni Morrison. For instance, the author refers to the three whores that befriend Pecola as "Three merry gargoyles. Three merry harridans" (Morrison). Gargoyles are known as grotesque creatures that ward off evil and serve as rain-gutters, while harridans are scolding old women. By using these examples, Morrison advertently characterizes the three whores' personalities. Although Miss Marie, China, and Poland are not physically grotesque, through their chosen profession they are considered vulgar and are outcasts of the world, much like gargoyles are; and similar to harridans, Miss Marie scolds Pecola in a motherly way when Pecola is not wearing socks on a cold day. This affects the work as a whole by giving the reader an admirable impression of Pecola's neighbors. Although they are given titles one would find unflattering, when combining the definitions of "gargoyles" and "harridans" with the intentions of the three ladies, the reader realizes they provide insight for Pecola's development into womanhood.

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  25. The allusion to Shirley Temple stands out out to me as a reader the most. It not only shows Claudia's intellect but also Pecola's yearning to be accepted in society and be beautiful. Claudia's maturity and intelligence is demonstrated throughout the seen with herquestioning why the blue-eyed red headed girl is seen as beautiful and the dark hair brown-eyed girl isn't by society. Pecolas wants are shown with her attachment to the shirley temple cup as if everytime she used it her desires would become more tangible.

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    1. Yes, but how does the allusion to Shirley Temple show readers about the ways of society? You forgot to mention that.

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  26. I felt that the allusion of Dick and Jane foils Pecola's life and foreshadows each paragraph. For example in what we might consider chapter 3 the chapter is titled "HEREISTHEFAMILYMOTHERFATHERDICKANDJANETHEYLIVEINTHEGREENANDWHITEHOUSETHEYAREVERYH" one notices that this title is from the prologue and that it is cut off before it says that they are happy. This foreshadows that Pecola's family isn't happy they actually have a very dis functional and violent relationship which foils that of Dick and Jane.

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  27. In the story "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, the author uses allusion to reference the relationships between Pecola and her mother, Mrs. Breedlove to the relationship of Ginger Rogers and her mother. Ginger Rogers was an American actress, dancer, and singer during the 20th century. She had a close relationship with her mother throughout her life unlike Pecola and her mother. To daughters, relationship between mothers should be important in young girl’s life because she is someone we can look up to as well as seek guidance. The society such as media portrays good mother-daughter relationships but in reality, it is not always the case. For example in the story, it is shown that Mrs.Breedlove treats her daughter as she is dirt, calling her “ugly” as if her tortures are not enough from bullies at school.

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  28. A huge and significant part of Pecola's nature is that she has a fixation and a longing of acquiring and viewing the world through, as mentioned by the narrative, "blue eyes". Her viewing of the world through blue eyes will in turn cause others to view her differently - in a positive light. In this time period, beautiful Caucasian females boasting blonde hair and blue eyes were coveted as if they were national treasures. Having such a difficult life that is partly brought upon by her image to society, Pecola desires to embody the image society has set as the standard norm of beauty. Because of this, Pecola holds a strong admiration for Betty Grable, an American actress who was alluded or mentioned during a scene that takes place at the Dreamland Theater. Betty Grable, with her blonde hair and blue eyes, is the physical embodiment of what Pecola longs to be. In a novel that places emphasis on how image can drastically alter a person's life, Betty Grable is a prime example of exactly just that.

    To quote Pierce Hawthorne, a character portrayed by actor Chevy Chase on the critically-loved and clever television sitcom series, "Community", that also happens to be one of my favorite TV shows, "Betty Grable is streets ahead!"

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  29. Esperanza ElizarrarazSeptember 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    In the novel , Morrison alludes to the three gargoyles in reference to the three prostitutes. Gargoyles were used to ward off evil and protect buildings and such and they represent the three prostitutes, Miss Marie, China, and Poland. Gargoyles were hideous creatures and I believe Morrison used them to allude to the three prostitutes because this is how society views them, hideous in their actions of being prostitutes. But yet, they act as protectors of Pecola, and a deeper meaning to them in the story is revealed.

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  30. The author makes use of many different allusions in “The Bluest Eye,” but not without intentions. Toni Morrison’s specific allusion to Shirley Temple and Jane Whithers highlights society’s conformity of following the archetype of a blond and/or blue-eyed person versus the archetype of a brunette and/or brown-eyed person. Shirley Temple, the budding child star during the 1930’s, is also known as America’s Sweetheart. She danced, sang, and acted. Upon mention of her between Frieda and Pecola, Claudia said she liked Jane Whithers better. Jane Whithers is another child actress, but she was brunette compared to Shirley Temple. This says something about the whole blond and/or blue-eyed archetype in society. Society particularly favors the blond and/or blue-eyed person over the brunette and/or brown-eyed because they were more appealing, more beautiful. To Claudia, she chose Jane Whithers because she wasn’t blond and/or blue-eyed. She chose her because she seemed to be the less favorable one—the less known one (and believe me, I’ve never heard of Jane Whithers myself. Of Shirley Temple, I have, but not Jane Whithers). Therefore, Claudia doesn’t want to conform to society’s ways which was to ogle over blond and/or blue-eyed people like Shirley Temple. Personally, she never understood why these blond and/or blue eyed people were so appealing to society and what made anyone who wasn’t blond and/or blue eyed less appealing or less known. This was shown in the casement of the dolls and the purposes of the dolls. Even today in modern times, this can be pointed out. In the movies today for the typical adolescent, the blond was always the more favorable one, the archetype of one who had it all.

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  31. In the novel "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, the author uses allusion to explicate Pecola's desire for love. The author suggest that "three pennies had bought her nine lovely orgasms with Mary Jane" gives Pecola the bliss she dreadfully desired. Because Pecola is unable to gain real affection, she imagines the inanimate objects, such as candy, to represent a person. Also, not only did she imagine love but she had to buy love. Moreover, the desperate measures to obtain love are fabricated. Because she had bought her love, the feeling she have towards the candy are mere exaggeration of her desires. Thus, her desire for love is unfulfillable.

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