“Two Kinds” “TBE” “Miss Amer”
People can be changed by the expectations and pressure of the society. The evils of our society are explored in “The Bluest Eye” and “Two Kinds”, by Amy Tan and Julia Alvarez. In “The Bluest Eye”, Pecola wanted to fit in, but the interaction she had with Maureen & Junior, as well the idea that beauty was important, led her to lose her self-esteem. Jingmei Woo also didn’t like to disappoint or fail her mother in “Two Kinds”. Her mother had moved to America so she could have better opportunities. She was devalued by her self-worth when she saw what Waverly expected of her. In contrast, the movie “I Want to Be Miss America” shows how beauty can affect a person’s self-esteem, as it can lead to self doubt. So, the interaction between the main character and other people or ideas can negatively impact their self esteem.
Pecola Breedlove is the main character and protagonist in Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”. She was raped by two men, but she also suffered abuse from almost all the characters. Pecola believes that having blue eyes and a light complexion will help her change her view of life. She feels being African American is a bad thing. Pecola’s interactions with people and her ideas had a negative impact on her self-worth after she was raped. Maureen Peal appears on page 64, as she deals with Pecola’s interactions and their argument. Maureen asked Pecola the question: “Have You ever Seen a Naked man?” Pecola, in self-defense, responded that “No father would ever be naked before his daughter. Pecola broke down when Maureen started arguing with Frieda because Maureen was obsessed with boys naked. Pecola’s head was tucked in a sad, funny and helpless way (Page 72) as a result. Maureen and Junior both denigrate Pecola. Junior invites Pecola over to his house and tells her about the kittens. Pecola is amazed that it’s possible to pet them. Junior was throwing the kitten at Pecola as he handed it to her. The result is a scar. Pecola then tries to escape, but Junior tells her that she has become his prisoner. Geraldine calls Pecola a “nasty little black b*****” (Page 92). Geraldine called Pecola a “nasty little black b*****” (Page 92). Geraldine lowered Pecola’s sense of self-worth by making a judgment about her. Pecola now wants to fit into society better, which is why she has blonde and blue hair with light skin. Jing-mei Woo’s mum wants only the best and so she began preparing her for success in America by putting together a multitude of tests. This ranged anywhere from predicting Los Angeles’ daily temperature to mentally multiplying numbers. She saw her “mother’s disappointed look… I hated her raised expectations and failed expectations… [and] she began to cry.” As she is pushed and reaches her limits, Jing-mei Woo begins to question if she could make her proud. Waverly Woo, Jing’s cousin and “Chinatown’s Littlest Chinese Chess Champion” is also invited to the talent show. Jing’s thinking that as long she looks good, people will applaud her. After the performance, “Waverly shrugged and looked away.” It was then that she said, “You’re not a genius as I am” (page 4 paragraph 53) which brought back all those uncomfortable moments when she felt she had let her mother down again.
In “I Want To Be Miss America”, Julia Alvarez feels the pain of not fitting in in a world where beauty is valued differently. The text says that she watches the Miss America Pageant live on TV. She was told that being thin and white would be the ideal beauty to win the Miss America title. Due to the ideals of society set for beauty, these women began to doubt themselves. They wanted in, but were “short and [their] hair frizzed” (page 38) while others were curvy. The narrator shows how self-doubt is a person’s worst enemy on page 44. Julia Alvarez is “feel[s] a foreigner in her country, which [she] considers now” (Page 43). Julia’s constant doubts about her abilities further diminishes her self esteem as both a woman and American.
At a young age, words and experiences have a great impact on developing self-worth and self-confidence. Pecola, in “The Bluest Eye”, is confronted by Maureen and Junior. They teach her about beauty and make her feel self-conscious. Amy Tan’s novel “Two Kinds”, which features Jing-mei Woo, is also rife with work and negatively impacts her self-esteem. She keeps disappointing her mom. In “I Want To Be Miss America”, Julia Alvarez’s self-doubt is triggered by beauty standards. The protagonists’ interactions with other people and their ideas begin to negatively impact on their self-worth.