In the novel "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, Morrison provides an interpretation of how whiteness is the standard of beauty, which warps the lives of black women and children, through messages everywhere that whiteness is superior and beautiful. In the short story "Recitatif", Morrison removes all racial codes from the narrative, for which racial identity is crucial in order, to give out a message that race is not important to become friends. In the novel and the short story, Morrison is able to relate herself to the racial indiscrimination and labels that her and her friends were exposed to as young children.
"The Bluest Eye" has many elements that relate to Toni Morrison's own personal life. The story is set in Lorain, Ohio, the town where Morrison was born in and grew up in. Segregation at this time was still legal, but the community was mostly integrated. Both black and white children attended the same schools, and neighborhoods were commonly interracial. The novel is also narrated by a nine-year-old black girl, which is how old Morrison would've been in 1941, the year the novel takes place. Furthermore, Morrison's family struggled financially during the Great Depression, similarly to the MacTeer family in the novel. Through "The Bluest Eye", Morrison makes a statement about how vulnerable a young black girl, such as herself, is as she is exposed to this implied white beauty and superiority and racism. "Do you know what she came for? Blue eyes. New, blue eyes, she said. Like she was buying shoes" (Morrison 180) is what Claudia says about Pecola because she is determined to obtain blue eyes, the standard of beauty in her perspective. In another point of time, Pecola mentions that "To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane" (Morrison 50). She thinks that if she eats the candy that has the picture of blue-eyed Mary Jane printed on the wrapper, she would acquire the eyes and look as pretty as Mary Jane.