In Wendall: “I don’t ask to turn into

In
the case of Ellison’s Invisible Man,
the hero once studied in a state college for blacks on a scholarship awarded as
a prize for winning a battle royal in which he was forced to join in to
entertain a party for white people. He originally had a talent for making beautiful
speeches, and he studied so hard cultivating his intelligence at the college.
He never forgot to curry favor with his professors or sponsors by always
thinking about what they would want him to do or say. Nonetheless, suddenly he
is thrown out because he provokes the president’s anger by an accident.

In
The Bluest Eye, Mrs. Breedlove
became a live-in housekeeper after her husband, Cholly burned down their house.
When she negotiates with shopkeepers as the housekeeper, she exhibits her
justice and power using the name of the Fisher family (her master). But this
ivory tower is at the expense of her own self and family. She cries “Crazy
fool…my floor, mess…look what you… work…get on out…my floor, my floor…”(p.109)
when Pecola spilled a pie in the Fishers’ kitchen, but actually there is
nothing that really belongs to her in Fishers’ household. She has a house to
work in, but she does not have the house as a home. She can not live her real
life and she can not bring up her own children.

Concerning
the dream to have a home, there is an interesting link with them 9 (1969) by Joyce Carol Oates even though she is
white and the story is about whites. them
is a story about a poor white family struggling through the depression of the
1930s, and the novel received the National Book Foundation Award in 1970. There
follows a quote from a letter to the author from one of the main characters,
Maureen Wendall:

“I don’t
ask to turn into you but to see myself like this: living in a house out of the
city, a ranch house of a colonial house, with fence around the back, a woman
working in the kitchen, wearing slacks maybe, a baby in his crib in the baby’s
room, thin white gauzy curtains, a bedroom for my husband and me, a window in
the living-room looking out onto the lawn and the street and the house across
the street. Every cell in my body aches for this! My eyes ache for it, the
balls of my eyes in their sockets, hungry and aching for this, my God how I
want that house and that man, whoever he is.” (p.336)

The
framework of a decent house and family resembles that of “Dick and Jane’s
house.” It can be said that this is the ideal American middle-class life. Here
in them, Maureen depicts
herself “working in the kitchen,” so it is clear that she does not yearn for
the lifestyle as an aristocrat. However, even though she dreams of a husband
and child, she does not care about “whoever he is.” Actually her dream comes
true later, and she gets a house just like she wanted, by marrying her evening
college professor who had a wife and children. Behind her fanatic desire, she
had enough reason to do this. Her family always had bitter battles between both
husband- wife and parents-children, they were poor whites living in a slum, her
mother was selfish, and her father was unemployed and was later murdered by
someone. Wishing to get away from home, she began to save money earning it
through prostitution, but her money was discovered by her mother’s second
husband. He was an alcoholic and mistakenly thought that she was always
stealing his money, and he beat her up until she was severely injured. She grew
up in a slum in Detroit and her life was actually very difficult. Because of
the setting and era of the story, there are also many episodes or lines
referring to “Negro”/ “niggers”, and there always appear expressions like,
“Aren’t you glad you’re not a nigger, at least? Jesus, how’d you like to be a
nigger and sick on the top of it? I did that much for you at least, kid.”
(pp.343-344) Therefore, it is obvious that even though they are in quite a
lower class as whites, blacks were still lower than them.

In
the case of The Bluest Eye, all
Pecola wants is to have blue eyes which means to be accepted and loved by
people, so she does not care about materialistic fulfillment. Pauline says “my
floor!” for the floor of a white family’s kitchen, so in a sense she has a
desire for material satisfaction. However, she does not have the concept of
becoming the owner of the house in the real meaning. She is satisfied and proud
of herself only through the feeling of being a member of a decent white family,
as a housekeeper. Moreover, it is interesting that she does not yearn to have
her own family and live in her own house. It is enough for her to be just a
perfect housekeeper and be a member of a white household. There is great
difference between blacks and whites concerning the concept of the American
Dream.

Morrison
writes in her essay, “Young America” distinguished itself by, and understood
itself to be, pressing toward a future of freedom, a kind of human dignity
believed unprecedented in the world. A whole tradition of “universal” yearnings
collapsed into that well-fondled phrase, “the American Dream.” 10 Freedom, democracy, or chance
etc, there are many words used to represent America with symbols like the
Statue of Liberty or Dick and Jane. Whitman, when he composed poems to
celebrate America, tried to illuminate not only the majority but also the
minority. However, it was still a viewpoint from a feeling of superiority.
Hughes tried to enlighten us about the invisible truth which was not in
Whitman’s American picture. The picture is true in a sense, but there is an
invisible margin and there are marginalized people. Wright and Ellison and
other black writers also tried proclaiming their existence to make whites see
them and also to awaken their fellow black men. Oates tried to show the life of
marginalized poor white men and poor white women. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison completely covered these gradations and
deepened the analysis of the American dream and delved down to the deepest
parts of those invisible areas to which no one had yet referred; black women
and black children. After beginning with a perspective of the country, she
leads her reader to a much closer and deeper view of the communities in the
country. This point will be further elaborated on in the next chapter.