One word which describes what stuck with me as I went on reading Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” was the word “bitch” from the utterance “You nasty little black bitch. Get out of my house.” (Morrison, 2000, p.72). The word “bitch” has been chosen because of the strikingly ironical context it is placed within and because it actually summarizes the general attitude to the main character and describes her unhappy fate.
In the novel, the utterance addresses Pecola Breedlove, the protagonist, who constantly suffers from being denigrated as a black-skinned and, as others perceive her, unattractive girl. The words belong to another character in the story – Geraldine – who wrongly accuses Pecola of doing harm to her cat. Ironically, Geraldine is a black woman too, yet she attributes herself to the middle class and thinks of herself as beautiful. This, as she thinks, gives her the right to insult Pecola who is also black yet poor. What strikes here is that black people appear to have been poisoned with the same substance as their white counterparts – class and racial discrimination. They are described as the ones that perceive their fellow African Americans through the lens of worth on the basis of the same merits: some are more black than others because they are poor, others are still more black because their skin is only a little darker (the author uses lots of descriptions of black skin in African Americans: the “milk-brown” color, for example, is “whiter” hence better) (Morrison, 2000, p.72). This unfair discrimination seems absolutely devoid of sense.
Secondly, the word has been chosen on the basis of its accurate reflection of Pecola’s life and ability to portray how she was perceived by others. Specifically, her father Cholly Breedlove rapes her as if she were a bitch, a dog, not a human being, and not his daughter. He rapes her ignoring her belonging to his blood and commits incest. He rapes her once again, because for him she is nothing but a dog. Other people in the story demonstrate a humiliating attitude to Pecola, too, as if she were an animal not a human. Maureen Peal, Yacobowski, Geraldine, and even Pecola’s mother perceive the girl as some being that is inherently inferior to them, so they often treat her as a bitch. Pecola ends up insane. Although she ends up happy to think that she finally possesses blue eyes, it is clear that her life was the life of a poor unloved animal, dog’s life, and …bitch’s life, if you wish.