Research Article

Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 298-320

First online:

Tragedy of the self-splitting—A psychological reading of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

  • Yang DingAffiliated withCollege of Humanities, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Email author 
  • , Xiangguo KongAffiliated withCollege of Humanities, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine


In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison digs out the negative impacts the mainstream culture exerts on the black people through the depiction of the tragedy of the Breedlove family. The Breedloves are always after their dreams of building an ideal ego in their self-pursuit, but the adverse circumstances in the white-dominated society give them no “Other” to project in their self-building, thus making their frail efforts all in vain. Under such a hostile environment, they are mentally forced to linger in their prolonged mirror stage and this is just the reason for their self-splitting. The Breedloves are stuck in the permanent contradiction of the Mirror Stage, and the insurmountable conflict between their ideal ego and their real life sets the tone for their tragic life. This article attempts to present the mental sufferings the white society sets for the blacks through an analysis of the life track of the Breedloves in accordance with Jacques Lacan’s theory.


ideal ego self-building self-splitting mirror stage Toni Morrison