Use of color in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eyes"

Essay by John MeroloHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 1996

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Pauline saw the beauty of life through the colors of her childhood down South. Her fondest memories were of purple berries, yellow lemonade, and 'that streak of green them june bugs made on the trees the night we left down home. All them colors was in me'1. Pauline and Cholly left the colors of the South when they moved North to Ohio to begin their life together. Through Cholly, Pauline hoped to find those colors of beauty that she left 'down home'.

For a while she did find her colors, her beauty, in the eyes of Cholly. He released in her all the colors of life which were sealed down in her soul. Everything about their early married life was described in vivid colors. This was true even of her sexual experiences with him. Everything was fine, ordered and beautiful in both Pauline and Cholly's life until they moved 'up North'.

Once they moved North everything changed. The colors went out of Pauline's life. 'I missed my people. I weren't used to so much white folks...Northern colored folk was different too'2. Cholly only became 'meaner and meaner and wanted to fight all of the time'2. He did not help the situation and contributed to his wife's dissatisfaction and disillusionment by not coming home. He found his satisfaction through other people, thus he neglected Pauline.

To make up for this neglect and her own insecurities, Pauline sought comfort through movies. Here she would sit and watch the perfect 'white' world of Hollywood. Here she would find her colors on the 'silver screen'. She had a longing for these colors which was going to affect her life and the lives of her family until it destroys them, especially Pecola.

When Pecola was born, a major change occured in...