Figure 11: Essay Excerpt on Frieda and Claudia, The Bluest Eye

Below is an excerpt that falls under the comment “Idiom/Idiom?

You may access the comment by clicking on the “I” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

Sample Excerpt

Where Frieda adores her “. . . blue-and-white Shirley Temple cup” (Morrison 12), Claudia dislikes this perception of beauty.  Both Frieda and Pecola give in to the blue-eyed white doll that they so desire to be like.  They even refer to Claudia’s distates as “. . . incomprehensible” (Morrison 12).  This concept of beauty to Frieda and Pecola is “ugliness” to Claudia. The . . . dolls, which were supposed to bring me great pleasure, succeeded in doing quite the opposite.  When I took it to bed, its hard unyielding limbs resisted my flesh—the tapered fingertips on those dimpled hands scratched.  If, in sleep, I turned, the bone-cold head collided with my own.  It was a most uncomfortable, patently aggressive sleeping companion. . . . I had only one desire:  to dismember it.  To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me. . . . I destroyed white baby dolls.  But the dismembering of dolls was not the true horror.  The truly horrifying thing was the transference of the same impulses to little white girls.  The indifference with which I could have axed them was shaken only by my desire to do so.  (Morrison 13-15) The idioms supposed, unyielding, resisted, collided, uncomfortable, dismember, and indifference within the quote are all somewhat complementary.  Claudia is “supposed” to agree to this standard of beauty so accepted by her sister and her mother, for her mother is the one who gives Claudia a white baby doll every Christmas.

Figure 11: Essay Excerpt on Frieda and Claudia, The Bluest Eye

Revision Considerations

It is always important to examine the words the author uses within the context of the work as a whole. Here is a revision of the student’s analysis. The revision sample below represents the appropriate use of the author’s words.

Similar to the doll, Claudia is also supposed to love this thing of beauty, but she is unyielding. She resists the adoration. Her views collide with those of Pecola and Frieda.  Their views make Claudia feel uncomfortable. In the same way that Claudia wants to “dismember” the doll to see of what it is made, Claudia’s “distastes” is a form of her personally dismembering Pecola and Frieda to see also of what they are made. Claudia’s indifference toward little white girls and her desire to want to axe them is the same indifference and desire toward Pecola and Frieda, although they are little black girls.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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