d self-confidence as well as my personal voice. If something can be so powerful as to help sculpt a person like writing sculpted me, what can it accomplish for society?
I spent a lot of time writing as a child.
Toni Morrison understands this. She understands the power of communicating our inner dialogue, our inner conflicts, in a way that not only removes stress from the writer, but effectively illustrates a mindset, a voice, a time place and character for the reader. Morrison goes beyond this even, writing for a culture, a race, a gender, through the voice of “the most delicate member of a society: a child; the most vulnerable member: a female (p. 210).” There is something about that voice, the observing yet unknowing voice of a child, which tends to illuminate greater truths so powerfully. In the case of The Bluest Eye, the child narrators can only comprehend trauma within their limited frame of reference. They understand the severity of a conflict, but not the stigma or social response to it. In this way their voices could be considered pure, their responses truly reactionary at the most fundamental level. The simply drawn conclusions of a child make the adult reader wonder, “Why do we invent so many layers to express and identify a conflict?” In the case of Pecola, adults rely on social stigmas and pre-judgments attached to the Breedlove family to detach themselves from her pain, to avoid empathy. But a child, without an understanding of those constructs, cannot avoid the emotional response, cannot help but try to help. Adults are equipped with a huge tool set for dealing with conflicts that children lack, and thus are able to remain detached, unmoved by situations that call for a strong voice, a helping hand, or at the very least a bit of empathy. Morrison recognizes this and tries to strip the adult reader of their tools, their guard, and make them see the true issue at hand. She describes the role of the child narrators, “If they have any success, it will be in transferring the problem of fathoming to the presumably adult reader (p. 214).”
Morrison depicts self-loathing.
What is Morrison trying to express by stripping the reader of their emotional blockade? To some extent, this is the expression itself – the frailty of the constructs we employ to defend ourselves against caring, a frailty built on our own self-doubt, and in the case of the characters in The Bluest Eye, their own “racial self-loathing (p. 210).” This is the attitude that Morrison tries to tear down by exposing its weakness as well as its potential to cause irreversible harm. Morrison is attempting to reveal feelings that she believes to be “lodged in all young girls (p. 210),” and I think she succeeds. Beyond that, she has used writing as a tool, an outlet, for sharing a secret with the society that’s been working to keep it as such. Morrison says that, “the writing was the disclosure of secrets, secrets “we” shared and those withheld from us by ourselves and by the world outside our community (p. 212).” Thus, her book was a form of therapy, not only for herself but for her community, for her readers, and for the girl who only wanted blue eyes.