“Give the same interview she also says, “What

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Last updated: September 12, 2019

“Giveme your tired, your poor,Yourhuddled masses yearning to breathe free,Thewretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Sendthese, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I liftmy lamp beside the golden door!”This isa quotation from the poem, “The New Colossus” (1883) by Emma Lazarus,and is inscribed on the American symbol, the Statue of Liberty. However, thisenormous American dream has both a bright side and a dark side. This chapterwill analyze the invisibility of a minority people inside the white-centeredAmerican dream framework, and how the minority people try to exist as a part ofit.

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1.     TheAmerican Dream and the invisibility of the minority: Theprologue of The Bluest Eyebegins with the familiar elementary school story of Dick and Jane which issymbolically quoted and occurs in the story seven times, and which isironically paralleled with the situation of the characters as the story goeson: Hereis the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Hereis the family. Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane live in the green-and-whitehouse.

They are very happy. See Jane. She has a red dress. She wants to play.Who will play with Jane? See the cat. It goes meow-meow.

Come and play. Comeplay with Jane. The kitten will not play. See Mother. Mother is nice. Mother,will you play with Jane? Mother laughs. Laugh, Mother, laugh.

See Father. He isbig and strong. Father, will you play with Jane? Father is smiling.

Smile,father, smile. See the dog. Bowwow goes the dog.

Do you want to play with Jane?See the dog run. Run, dog, run. Look, look. Here comes a friend.

The friendwill play with Jane. They will play a good time. Play, Jane, play. (p.3)Asthe story continues, this repeated quotation which portrays white America bydegrees, loses its capitalization and punctuation, and all grammaticalstructure. In an interview with Thomas LeClair in 1981, Morrison, whenreferring to this quotation, stated that she wanted to make her readersvisually see the difference of what it was like to see the white life-style asanother civilization from the viewpoint of blacks. In the same interview shealso says, “What is hard for me is to be simple, to have uncomplex stories withcomplex people in them, to clean the language, really clean it.

” (p.123).Morrison’s attempt resembles what Langston Hughes did in 1925 in his poem, “I,too” or “Let America Be America Again”. Whitman celebrated American democracyand he “sang” for both males and females on an equal level. He covered thepeople of almost all social classes and races in magnificent poems such as,”One’s Self Sing”, “I Hear America Singing”, “America” or “Song of Myself” 6 from his hopeful viewpoint.

Theywere excellent poems; nevertheless, the reality was far from his vision. SoHughes “sang” the reality of black life with the implications of those ofWhitman’s, by saying, “I, too, sing America…I am the darker brother…I, too, amAmerica.” 7 Hughes changed Whitman’s poemfrom a white point of view into a black point of view while following almostthe same process of description as Whitman. Whitman had an expansive vision forhis America as a land of many races. He was white, he was a person of the early19th century, but he already had feelings and consideration for minoritypeople. Furthermore, he treated this issue in his poems many times. Hughes wasa big fan of Whitman, so his intention to cover and arrange Whitman’s poem wasnot to take revenge on him for his poem.

The real America was not like theideal future vision described by Whitman one hundred years ago. That’s whyHughes entitled his poem “Let America be America Again” or “I, too, singAmerica”. Here “America” implies the way Whitman described the ideal “America”(1888). Morrison was born 30 years after Hughes and The Bluest Eye was written three years after Hughes’s death. Thesituation of racial discrimination was still severe although it was much betterthan the slavery era. When we compare the style Hughes followed and the way hearranged Whitman’s “America” we see it is in a positive way, whereas Morrison’sstyle and arrangement of Dick & Jane’s “America” is very negative andintrospective. All the characters in TheBluest Eye are Americans who have been living there for severalgenerations.

However, their existence is negated in the scenes about Dick andJane because they are colored people. This quotation intimates  that thereason why the seeds of marigolds  didnot sprout, is because , “the land of the entire country was hostile” (p.206)and, “This soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will notnurture, certain fruit will not bear, and when the land kills of its ownvolition, we acquire and say the victim had no right to live”. (p.206) So thesehappy, peaceful, and innocent lines in Dick and Jane represent the tacitapproval of every value standard and the casting vote for life and death.

Morrison uses an effective symbol in the prologue using the seeds of themarigolds which did not sprout because of the unyielding earth. The marigoldsand the earth symbolize the influence of the environment on the individualwhich builds one’s personality. This quotation concerning Dick and Jane substantiatesthe invisibility of marginalized people in America, but Morrison arranged thisto illustrate America from the point of view of marginalized people.InThe Bluest Eye, Morrison showsus specific examples of the invisibility and the negligence exhibited towardmarginalized people. She employs a symbolic episode about a traumatic sofa inthe Breedlove house. They bought it new, but the fabric had split straightacross the back by the time it was delivered. The store would not takeresponsibility, and the white man who delivered the sofa palmed them off withhalf-truths and tried to confuse them probably because they were black. Itmeans a white man would have no hesitation in giving them defective products,and he also does not care or is not afraid of what they may feel or if theywould get angry.

Another example is when Mrs. Breedlove was in hospital todeliver Pecola, she was examined by a white doctor and young white interns. Thedoctor has no hesitation in instructing his students in front of her, saying”now these here woman you don’t have any trouble.

They deliver right away andwith no pain. Just like horses.” (p.125) She gets furious, and deliberatelymade her delivery exaggerated by screaming.2.


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