Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview

DONALD B. GIBSON


Text and Countertext in The Bluest Eye

I ... have no hesitation in regarding the white race as superior to all others in beauty.... Human groups are unequal in beauty; and this inequality is rational, logical, permanent, and indestructible.

— Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau,
Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races

Along with the idea of romantic love, she [Pauline] 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.

— Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, French diplomat, ethnologist, fiction writer, bearer of the infamous reputation of "father of racism," and a correspondent for sixteen years of Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote these words in the early 1850s. Tocqueville, as might be expected, disagreed strongly with Gobineau's authoritarian, anti-democratic stance and argued against the whole of such racist and reactionary thinking. We might imagine further that his counterarguments fell upon deaf ears because Gobineau's arguments stem from very basic beliefs about human nature, the nature of the universe,

____________________
From Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. © 1990 by Donald B. Gibson.

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