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Aesthetic Reverberations in Literature and Education

Edited By Feryal Cubukcu

Aestheticism is broader in scope than the philosophy of art. It is also broader than the philosophy of beauty, in that it applies to any of the responses we might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit, whether positive or negative. That is why the articles in this collective volume aim to highlight the various reverberations of aestheticism on literature and education over the centuries.

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Racialized Beauty Aestheticism in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (Meryem Ayan)

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Meryem Ayan1

Racialized Beauty Aestheticism in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

1. Introduction

Toni Morrison, in her first novel The Bluest Eye (1970), presents black women characters struggling against the standards of the Western beauty, which is a socially and racially constructed concept. Morrison uses the elements of aesthetics in her novel to demonstrate the complexity of black and white beauty in a racialized society. Moses states that “beauty is a deeply problematic concept in Morrison’s work” (1999, p. 633). Thus, the Black beauty is a problematic concept because it is both destructive, especially when the definition of beauty matches with the “white beauty image” (Gillespie, 2008, p. 55), and constructive when the beauty standards match the value of the black beauty image. Morrison deconstructs the tendency that whiteness is a standard of beauty by indicating that blackness has its own value of beauty concept and presents positive images of blackness and black beauty aesthetic judgment. However, Morrison also focuses on the damage that the black women characters suffer when they think that standards of beauty are measured with whiteness in a racialized society because beauty is socially constructed and subjectively perceived and judged. Thus, the aim here is to discuss black aestheticism, beauty construction, and racialized beauty aestheticism in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

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