The Bluest Eye

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The American Dream That Made Reality A Nightmare The primer which appears in the beginning of The Bluest Eye will prove to be one of the most important aspects of the works central theme. The "Dick and Jane" story provides the reader with a basic understanding of the stereotypical American dream. It portrays the pretty house, the pretty-white family, the happy dog, and the happy lifestyle which many during that time accepted as the perfect life. Children were taught this, adults preached it, and everyone's perception of beauty revolved around this ideal lifestyle. The primer appears throughout the novel in bits and pieces constantly illustrating the sharp contrast between the racially accepted stereotype and the devastating reality of the true nature of things. For Pecola and the lives of those around her, this stereotype devastated their lives and destabilized an entire race based on the fact it placed them outside of the American dream.

The narrator's explanation of "being put outdoors," highlights the entire underlying tone that runs throughout the entire work. On the one hand it is a child's fear of no shelter but it doubles as the tragic result of falling outside the stereotype of the American dream. The narrator states, "Outdoors was the end of something, an irrevocable, physical fact, defining and complimenting our metaphysical condition" (Morrison 17). She defines the tragic reality every minority, especially the Breedloves, faced as a result of being placed outside the accepted perception of the American dream.

Being outdoors meant being an outsider to the idea of true happiness and beauty because they lacked the social status and characteristics of the ideal white-American family. As a result, "Knowing that there was such a thing as outdoors bred in us a hunger for property, for ownership," and this led to a conflict...