Panoptic Mechanism of the Blue-eyed in Toni Morrison’s "The Bluest Eye"

By Sima Farshid.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 5, 2014 $US5.00

Toni Morrison’s first novel, "The Bluest Eye" (1970) depicts the hideous effects of Euro-American discourse presented by various media on the life of African- Americans. In her agonizing narrative, she dramatizes the operation of white-dominated media especially Hollywood movies in reinforcing the discourse of the blue-eyed, and confirming their racial superiority by spreading the “sequences of signs” that signify their “modalities of existence." It is argued here that this process indicates the operation of a panoptic mechanism that controls blacks’ mindset and behavior almost in the same way that the supervisor of Behtham’s Panopticon’s central tower does, according to Foucault, with the difference that the controlling agent of this system is set in the wide-spread American media. Morrison portrays in a touching way how that system molds blacks’ state of mind, affects their feelings and induces a bitter sense of inferiority among them. Her novel relates the story of a poor black girl who suffers from the sense of ugliness and inferiority because of being black and finally goes mad, for the reason that American media permanently presents an image of beauty whose components are white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair – the very signs she lacks.

Keywords: Panoptic Mechanism, Euro-American Discourse, White-controlled Media

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, October 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 5, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 362.308KB)).

Dr. Sima Farshid

Assistant Professor, English Department, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Alborz, Iran (Islamic Republic of)