This being what most African American girls desired in the 1940s. This was considered
“beautiful” to African American girls in the 1940s. In Toni Morrison’s first novel and national bestseller
The Bluest Eye, eleven year old Pecola Breedlove grows up as an abused and unloved daughter. One of
the first events that happen in the story is when Pecola begins to menstruate and is told that she can
now have babies and that she is starting to grow as a woman. Then later in the story, she is raped and
impregnated by her father, resulting in a traumatic, sexual coming-of-age. She is labeled as an outcast,
someone who does not belong with the rest because of the color of her skin. She wants to escape
the world that she has been brought into; a world of hate, racism, and ignorance. She then desires to
become beautiful, so she prays for blue eyes. After a year of hoping and praying, she does not receive
her wish. She goes to a spiritualist asking for blue eyes, and when she believes that her wish will come
true, she convinces herself that her eyes have become blue and that she is no longer ugly, but beautiful.
Being a minority in a time of absolute prejudice, Pecola grows in the face of adversity, strife, and
tragedy. She is scorned by other children because of her brown eyes, dark skin, and curly hair that set
her apart from them. Because of these issues, she believes that whiteness is beautiful, and she is ugly.
She is wrongly blamed for things because of the color of her skin and the period of time that she lives
in, such as killing a boy’s cat, resulting in being called a “nasty little black…” by his mother. Then she is
raped by her own father, whom at that time was filled with mixed feelings of anger, hatred, and guilt.