TONI MORRISON The Bluest Eye. Feminist Criticism “Examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic,

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  • TONI MORRISONThe Bluest Eye0

  • 0Feminist CriticismExamines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women (Tyson 81).Regardless of differing viewpoints on specific issues, certain universal assumptions from the feminist perspective are shared by feminists

  • Women are oppressed by Patriarchy economically, politically, socially, and psychologically (Tyson 90).Women are other, marginalized, defined by what they (allegedly) lack & what men (allegedly) have (Tyson 90).Anglo-European Civilization views women through the patriarchal ideology tenants of good girl, bad girl as in biblical portrayals, and Greek & Roman literature & mythology and women as irrational creatures by Western philosophy and the reliance on phallogocentric thinking that is male orientated based on vocabulary, rules of logic & objective knowledge by educational, legal, and business institutions (Tyson 91).

  • Biology determines sex (male/female) culture determines gender (masculine/feminine), socially programmed behaviors learned, not inborn (Tyson 91).All Feminist activities including theory and literature criticism, has the ultimate goal to promote gender equality socially, at home & workplace (Tyson 91).Gender issues play a part in every aspect of human production & experience including literature whether consciously aware or not (Tyson 91).

  • Feminism & Literature: Issues & ConcernsPatriarchal Ideology, Sexism & Beauty0Feminist, African American, Marxist, Lesbian, Post Colonial Various Ethnic Groups: Chicana, Asian American, Native American, Latina

  • 0Traditional Gender Roles & Patriarchal Ideology of the American DreamPatriarchal ideology suggests that there are only two identities that women can have. It she accepts her traditional gender role and obeys the patriarchal rules, shes a good girl; if she doesnt, shes a bad girl. These two roles also referred to Madonna and whore- view women only in terms of how they relate to the patriarchal order (Tyson 88). It is important to be able to recognize when a literary work depicts patriarchal ideology in order to criticize it or invite us to criticize it (Tyson 99).

  • 0Miss Dunion said that Mama should take me to the doctor, because I might be ruined, and Mama started screaming all over But why were you crying? I dont want to be ruined! Whats ruined? You know.Like the Maginot Line. Shes ruined. Mama said so (Morrison 101). Patriarchal Ideology

  • Neither did they have respect for women, who, although not their colleagues, so to speak, nevertheless deceived their husbandsregularly or irregularly, it made no difference. Sugar-coated whores, they called them, and did not yearn to be in their shoes. Their only respect was for what they would have described as good Christian colored women. The woman whose reputation was spotless, and who tended to her family, who didnt drink or smoke or run around (Morrison 56). Patriarchal Ideology

  • 0The Beauty ImperativeIn all (fairy) tales, a beautiful, sweet young girl (for females must be beautiful, sweet, and young if they are to be worthy of romantic admiration) is rescued (for she is incapable of rescuing herself) from a dire situation by a dashing young man who carries her off to marry him and live happily ever after (Morrison 87, 88).We were sinking under the wisdom, accuracy, and relevance of Maureens last words. If she was cuteand if anything could be believed, she wasthen we were not. And what did that mean? We were lesser. Nicer, brighter, but still lesser (Morrison 74).

  • 0Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self-contempt by the heap (Morrison 122). It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sightsif those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different. Maybe theyd say, Why, look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustnt do bad things in front of those pretty eyes (Morrison 46).

  • QuestionsWhat role does Feminist Theory play in the novel? How does Bluest Eye relate to Feminist Theory?0

  • 0How did Zora Neale Hurston respond to the imperatives of a patriarchal society that attempted to dictate her writing style and subject matter?

  • How do traditional gender roles influence the characterization of Alice in Lewis Carrolls classic tale, Alice in Wonderland and what aspects, if any, of patriarchal ideology can you identify in the portrayal of other characters when viewing the story through a feminist lens?0

  • The Part of The Bluest Eye Played byElizabeth HurleyToni Morrison Plays HerselfSpecial Thanks to the following:0 Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today