Blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin was the envy of most young African American girls in the 1940's. In the tragic novel, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Pecola Breedlove, an eleven-year-old black girl is a victim of racial self-loathing and also rape by her father which results in pregnancy. Described as submissive, ugly, and ignorant, she is labeled the outcast amongst the black community of Lorain, Ohio. Though Pecola does have some friends, Claudia and Frieda Macteer, she wants to be accepted and loved by others.
Pecola grows up in an abusive and un-loving family. She longs to disappear from the face of the Earth to rid her of her problems; however, it soon drives her into a yearning to become beautiful. Pecola gets the idea that if her brown eyes were to turn blue, her world would be different. For a year Pecola prays for blue eyes, but her wish never came true. When she gets raped by her father, she thinks he does it because of her ugliness. Pecola goes to a spiritualist later on to ask for blue eyes and is led to believe that she will gain her wish. She is then truly convinced that she really does have blue eyes and goes insane as a result. (p. 204) "She spent her days, her tendril, sap-green days, walking up and down, up and down, her head jerking to the beat of a drummer so distant only she could hear. Elbows bent, hands on shoulder, she flailed her arms like a bird in an eternal, grotesquely futile effort to fly. Beating the air like a winged but grounded bird, intent on the blue void it could not reach--couldn't even see--but which filled the valleys of the mind.".
The tragedy of Pecola Breedlove is of oppression and violation in children. Children learn from the adults around them and believe everything adults say or do. The emphasis on Europeans in Pecola's community gives her the idea that only white people are beautiful and loved. Her belief in white superiority results in internalized racism.