Self Hatred Essay

Morrison uses language to convey the influence that Maureen has over others. In addition to this, there are also the myriad messages from popular culture.

Shirley Temple is adored (Claudia mentions how much she hates Temple just to rebel against the universal acceptance of the child star), and the little girl whose picture is drawn on the Mary Jane caramels that Pecola loves is white with blue eyes.

Junior internalizes his mother's lack of affection towards him by tormenting the cat.

The cat represents black people who wish to assimilate into whiteness.

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.

, “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.

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.


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