KIJHUS Volume. 4, Issue 2 (2023)


Nriagu Mary


Trauma Epigenetics The Bluest Eye Racism

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Abstract: In this essay, I argue that epigenetics is a relevant tool in underscoring and examining Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970) while affirming that racial trauma can be inherited or transferred from parentsto their wards who are victims of racial psychological trauma that have been unavoidably inherited from the environment. In the quest to underscore and examine racial trauma in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, who should be blamed for Pecola’s continuous yearning for the bluest eye? Why will Pecola yearn for the bluest eye? Moreover, who constructed the notion of beauty as white or black? Compounded with curiosity about what other authors have done in the novel necessitated my essay, hinged on reading the novel using epigenetics. Epigenetics though a more recent approach to examining literary works could be a biological and social science term that describes how characters or humans are affected by the traits inherited from their parents and environment and how these traits grossly impact their lifestyle and pose a threat that necessitates psychological challenge, which could afterward lead to trauma. In my reading of The Bluest Eye, I will be paying critical and close attention to various instances through character, characterization, setting, and narrative techniques to establish how the author has intrinsically weaved these elements in the novel to depict the psychological brain disorder in the novel that necessitated to racial trauma. I argue further that racial trauma can be incorporated and encoded into the culture, which is unconsciously assimilated and inherited by the members of such an environment or community. The essay concludes with facts from the novel that trauma can be epigenetically inherited from parents and the environment. As for Pecola’s self-racial loathing, her community also contributes to her psychological disorder because her parents are members of the same community who have also inherently inherited this trauma. Pecola’s madness results from intrinsic and extrinsic anomalies that have crept into her brain from both her parents and community.