There are many themes that seem to run throughout this story. Each theme and conflict seems to always involve the character of Pecola Breedlove. There is the theme of finding an identity. There is also the theme of Pecola as a victim. Of all the characters in the story we can definitely sympathize with Pecola because of the many harsh circumstances she has had to go through in her lifetime. Perhaps her rape was the most tragic and dramatic experience Pecola had experiences, but nonetheless she continued her life.
She eliminates her sense of ugliness, which lingers in the beginning of the story, and when she sees that she has blue eyes now she changes her perspective on life. She believes that these eyes have been given to her magically and in some respects her eyes begin to corrupt her as an individual. The story begins to take a turn and the reader realizes that the main character has begun to entirely rely on self-image in order to build confidence. This leads to the question of how significant are the «Blue eyes» to society and how does the theme of beauty and ugliness linger throughout the story.
With this in mind, how does this make Pecola a victim of society and a victim in herself If any person can be credited for creating the obsession of beauty that Pecola builds it is Pauline (Pecolas mother). Pecola experiences many insecurities and it can definitely be said that many of these are because of the way that Pauline acts in society and around Pecola. It was stated in the story that Pauline would always go to the movies and rate the characters on their beauty. This is one example that shows the obsession that Pauline has with beauty and looks.
This rubbed off on to her daughter and that is where Pecola received her lack of self-esteem. It is clear that Pecola idolizes the ideals of being beautiful. It is interesting that Pecola is not the person telling the story in this book, and it is Claudia instead. It seems that the author wants the reader to build an immense amount of sympathy for Pecola because it would just be less effective if Pecola was telling the story. If it Pecola that was narrating in many parts then it would be more difficult to see her as a «total victim».
The structure and way this book is organized is a good clue of how Morrison wants us to see Pecolas and all black peoples situations. Instead of ordinary chapters, this book is organized by season. This might be implying that this isnt a story that has a beginning and an endit is an ongoing one. A season is a reoccurring phenomenon, which a society nor any individual can get around. Perhaps this is what is trying to be said about Pecolas situation because she is truly trapped. The culture that Pecola is in has very little future and hope, and pretty much everything that has happened once will happen again.
In other words Pecola will always be a victim and more circumstances will come along which will push her further towards being a «total victim». Throughout the story there is a strong sense of abandonment on Pecolas part. She is a lonely character that is heavily influenced by society and what it thinks. Pecola is very concerned on meeting the standard in society despite her past life. She is determined but in some respects this is one of the downfalls to her character. «Why, she wonders, do people cal them weeds She though they were pretty».
Mr. Yacobowski humiliates her, and she passes the dandelions and thinks, «They are ugly and they are most definitely weeds». This shows how Pecola can easily be manipulated by others and society. In a sense, Pecola has transferred societys dislike for her to the dandelions. She cannot accept the fact that she is not wanted. At one point in the story the narrator says, «We tried to see [Pecola] without looking at her, and never went near. Not because she was absurd or repulsive, or because we were frightened, but because we had failed her.
Our flowers never grew so we avoided her forever. The years folded up like a pocket-handkerchief. Sammy left town long ago; Cholly died in the workhouse; Mrs. Breedlove still does housework. And Pecola is somewhere on the edge of the town. » This brings up the concept of abandonment and how clearly even in her future her chances at being a social contributing member are slim. She is not accepted nor respected, even with blue eyes. This is due to her ugliness and the fact that the society around her is totally racist.
You can sense ignorance on Pecolas part because she just does not seem to understand that she is currently and outcast in society. «I even think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruits it will not bear.. » This relates to Pecolas child and African Americans in general in this particular setting. Basically Pecolas child has very little chance because «everything and everyone» is hostile towards blacks.
If anything negative is going to happen it will be to an African American because by this quote they do not have any chance at becoming contributing members to society. The society that Pecola lives in is racist. The soil can represent the society and she does not have the chance to be nurtured, and it is the same reason that the flowers will not grow that season. «A little black girl who wanted to rise up out of the pit of her blackness and see the world through blue eyes. For the first time he honestly wished he could work miracles.
This comes from the character Soaphead who finally realizes what it must be like to be an African American in a racist society. If only Pecola could literally see life through the eyes of someone who is not oppressed by their society. Pecola only wants to live up to the image of a blue-eyed white person. This is important, and it shows that the author is not only speaking to the black person about their sorrows, but also to the white person which shows how a racist social system can wear down an innocent mind. Basically being white is being successful and Pecola has no hope in this society.
It is not solely because of racism that Pecola is not accepted. Not only does she have to deal with the hatred she receives from the white person, but also she is an outcast in the black infrastructure. This proves that Pecola is a «total victim» because she has no way out and the only way she can be normal is to try to change who she is in order to be someone she is not. Basically Pecola is totally entrapped by everything, her past (rape etc.. ), her present (society both black and white) and her future (she has very little hope at being an contributing member of society).