AP Literature and Composition
16 December 2017
Pecola, Ophelia, Rejection
While reading the ending of the bluest I realized that Pecola's story ended, in the same way, Ophelia's life ended - rejection. Pecola is a rejected child by her family, neighbours and societies view, and because of this, she tries to disappear, when she does this “little parts of her body faded away.” (Autumn 3, pg.45) She wants to disappear because she is not only unhappy with herself, but with societies, rejections of her. These are the characteristic that connects her with her father. When Cholly is rejected by his father, he also attempted to disappear. He is so overwhelmed at being turned away by his father that he runs away. In this situation, Toni connects both daughter and father.
Ophelia was not directly rejected by society like Pecola is. If she wouldn't have gone mad and died by the end of the book like the majority of the character, I don't think that she would have been able to get married. In her society a woman has to be chaste, they have to be obedient to men- that is their father (if not married) or their husband. It is just like in Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice where if a woman engages in premarital sex she is put to shame and rejected, but if a man does it (Wickham, Hamlet) there is no consequence. We can see this when Laertes is talking with Ophelia about being deflowered:
“ Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister, And keep you in the rear of your affection, Out of the shot and danger of desire. The chariest maid is prodigal enough If she unmask her beauty to the moon. Virtue itself ’scapes not calumnious strokes. The canker galls the infants of the spring Too oft before their buttons be disclosed, And, in the morn and liquid dew of youth, Contagious blastments are most imminent. Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear. Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.” (Act 1, Scene 3)
By the end of each book, both Pecola and Ophelia end up mad or crazy ( do we really want to call it that?). But why were they crazy? After the events of her rape, getting pulled out of school, and getting the bluest eyes, we see Pecola talking with a new companion. Her new friend is the only one who talks to her because her mother can't stand to look at her, her brother is gone, and she does not go to school anymore. Even so, her friend is sometimes oblivious to Pecola's feeling. We see her make mean side comments that Pecola does not seem to notice. It's like Pecola's little voice knows that no one cares ...