Self Hatred Essay

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When Pecola enters Geraldine's home, she is repulsed by the sight of the girl who appears to be of a lower economic class.

Geraldine is not the first person to have shunned Pecola, and by this point, Pecola has already internalized the community's hatred of her.

Her classmate, Maureen Peal, is light-skinned and beloved.

The black boys in their class not only admire Maureen but submit to her. The narrator tells the reader about how boys's eyes "genuflect" in Maureen's exalted presence.

Pecola, like Claudia and Frieda, consume the message that all things beloved are associated with whiteness.

Cholly Breedlove also internalized this message; however, his masculinity, which was once used against him, gives him a tool to fight back—against black women., “all modern thought can be reduced to a mechanical denunciation of the West, emphasizing the latter’s hypocrisy, violence, and abomination.” I wouldn’t say that John Rawls or Jürgen Habermas or Benedict XVI fit that description. We are imperialists, racists, and purveyors of unsustainable consumption that threatens to engulf the world in an environmental disaster.Yet Bruckner, one of the so-called “new philosophers” in France who made a big stir in the 1970s when they criticized the habitual Marxism of French intellectuals, points to a very real and powerful trend in contemporary Western culture. The colonization of the New World amounted to genocide. Capitalism depends upon the exploitation of the world’s poor. To a certain extent, our present self-laceration reflects one of the virtues of Western culture.Geraldine believes that in order to be respectable, she must be clean, and her obsession with multiple forms of cleanliness takes over her life.As a result, she becomes ashamed of her own physicality, and sex becomes a burden that she must endure for the sake of being married.Yet, as Bruckner recognizes, our postmodern age does not seem to view criticism as a way of refining and deepening our loyalty to the real achievements of Western culture, not the least of which is the freedom to criticize. As Bruckner explains, “ This is the paternalism of the guilty conscience: seeing ourselves as the kings of infamy is still a way of staying on the crest of history.” For a long time the liberal establishment in America believed that our society was the source of good in the world.The traumas of the 1960s undermined this complacent belief in American exceptionalism.Geraldine, a light-skinned black woman, and her son, Junior, are part of an economically privileged class within black American society.Geraldine's internalized racism and classism had caused her to hate fellow black people, particularly low income black people.Geraldine holds her dead, blue-eyed cat, and staring at Pecola in her tattered clothes and muddy shoes, calls her a "nasty little black bitch" and bans her from the house.Both Geraldine's and Junior's shame and internalized racism cause them to be cruel to Pecola.


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