The Bluest Eye & Wicked’s “Popular”

In Toni Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye, the girls struggle with fighting against racism and being bullied for the color of her skin. Blackness is used as an insult, as seen in “it was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth” (p. 65). They are compared to Maureen Peal, who has lighter skin and somehow seems more beautiful because of it. The girls appraise themselves if they only had blue eyes they would be compared to as beautiful.

This text reminded me of one of the most famous Broadway shows, Wicked, and its song “Popular.” They lyrics and theme of this song can be directly compared to the experience of the girls in The Bluest Eye. This song is addressed to Elphaba, who is ugly and unpopular because of her green skin. She covets Glinda’s white skin and blonde hair, and Glinda decides to take Elphaba on as a project to help make her beautiful and popular. Lyrics in the song include, “When i see depressing creatures, With unprepossessing features,” and I’ll teach you the proper poise,
When you talk to boys.” These lyrics imply that Elphaba’s skin color prohibits her to be successful in fulfilling gender roles. Though Elphaba’s skin color is green, her disadvantages come from her skin color not being white.

Lastly, both the novel and show can be compared to Keyword Essay: Race. This essay analyzes race in children’s literature, and how some texts “represent race continually perpetuate perceptions that belittle people of color” (p.190). The Bluest Eye does not critique this statement entirely, but it does show a realistic childhood of young black girls in a different way. It does not invite in perpetual stereotypes but rather shows their affects. The essay also discusses how some critique race to be simply a social construct, whereas others view it as a place to come together and share culture. In the broadway show, Wicked , race appears more of a social construct as Elphaba’s skin is green. It is easy to look past this because it is not real, but at closer analysis her treatment can be compared to many of those who do not have white skin.

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