, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 298-320
Date: 22 May 2010

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

Abstract

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.

Ding Yang 丁扬, currently Lecturer at College of Humanities, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, obtained her Master’s degree in literature from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2006. Her academic interests lie in American novel and Western literary theory. She has published such articles as “Yihua ziwo de rensheng beiju—Zui lan de yanjing zhong Buleidalafu furen de houxiandai xinli qianxi” 异化自我的人生悲剧—《最蓝的眼睛》中布雷德拉夫夫人的后现代心理浅析 (Life tragedy of self-alienation—An analysis on the post-modern psychology of Mrs. Breedlove in The Bluest Eye) and “Lun Xun A Q zhengzhuan de xushi shijiao chutan” 鲁迅《阿Q 正传》的叙事视角初探 (An exploration into the narration perspective in Biography of A Q by Lu Xun).
Kong Xiangguo 孔祥国, now Lecturer at College of Humanities, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, graduated from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics with a Master’s degree in English language and literature, specializing in English novels. His main publications include: Yiqu zhipu chengzhi de aiqing shiyan—Shixi Luobote Pengsi de yiduo honghong de meigui 一曲质朴诚挚的爱情誓言—试析罗伯特彭斯的“一朵红红的玫瑰” (A simple yet sincere oath of love—An analysis of Robert Burn’s “A Red Red Rose”) and “Maolaier taitai: Erzi yu qingren zhong zhenzheng de huimiezhe” 毛莱尔太太: «儿子与情人»中真正的毁灭者 (Mrs. Morel: The real destroyer in Sons and Lovers).