Morrison ends the novel with the rape of Pecola by her father, the lost of her incestual child, and the disdain of people around her. While the story does an amazing job at pulling at the reader’s heart strings, Morrison’s writings serve a deeper purpose than evoking pathos from the audience. The fictional story of Pecola and the other major characters in The Bluest Eye allow Morrison to make a statement about her nonfictional world.
After Morrison recalls her experience with a friend who truly wished for blue eyes, Morrison “pecks away at the gaze that condemned her.” (Morrison 210) Her writing describes the setting that causes such racial-self loathing and hopes to move the readers into heavy questions about their own moralities. This is made clear as she worries that “the weight of the novel’s inquiry on so delicate and vulnerable a character could smash her and lead readers into the comfort of pitying her rather than into an interrogation of themselves for the smashing.” (Morrison 211)
In truth, that is kind of how I did feel “touched but not moved.” (Morrison 211) Just as Cholly failed to blame the two white men who watch him with Darlene, I failed to blame society for Pecola’s situation. I let my sympathy override my sense of anger and injustice. It wasn’t until I read the afterword that I had to reevaluate my reaction to the end of the narrative. I think that Morrison wants us to feel more than sympathy for Pecola. It was up to the reader to realize that the Pecola’s rape was more complex a problem than Cholly’s mental state.
In the big picture, it was a white-centralized society that caused all of Pecola’s pains. The author wants the reader to recognize “a social disruption with tragic individual consequences.” (Morrison 214). The injustices to the black culture described throughout the novel are not limited to the fictional stories. The Bluest Eye reminds us that prejudice-based on race or not- is still a problem that needs to be constantly addressed. As we learned first semester, “the sympathetic imagination in literature and morality are psychologically dependent on each other…they augment each other’s growth and delicacy, and the decline in one necessarily precipitates decline in the other.”(Fall Anthology 274O)
So how does Morrison fit into this? Her characters leave the reader emotionally attached. Her imagery sparks the readers imagination. Her plot keeps the reader interested. But what makes her writing nobel prize worthy is an ability to evoke provoking moral questions while still maintaining all the other qualities that make a novel interesting. You could always read the Bluest Eye as just another good story, but that would be robbing it of its true value and of its authors intentions. The novel has that special ability to impact a reader and ultimately induce change…so why not embrace it?
The movie precious also uses sympathy and compassion so that the viewers may reevaluate the state of their society: