Pecola has a difficult time as a child. The fact that Pecola calls her mother Mrs. Breedlove and not mother highlights the permanent absence of mother role in Pecola’s psychic life. It is obvious Mrs. Breedlove does not have a good relationship with her daughter. Mrs. Breedlove never showed affection to Pecola and unfortunely, they both never had much of an attachment. It can be seen when since Pecola’s birth Mrs. Breedlove referred to her as ugly. This truly affects Pecola in her real stage. As a child, Pecola is in need of love and affection to create a sense of self. Even from the beginning, Mrs.Breedlove creates a negative sense and image for Pecola.
Morrison emphasizes Pecola’s lack of love and desire early on in the novel. Pecola keeps questioning herself on how people going to love her as she frequently looing herself in the mirror. Pecola believes that if she having a pair of blue eyes she will be loved and treated well by the family and the society. She also related a person’s lovability to their beauty if she looked different they would act differently. Besides that, Pecola is so caught up with her imaginary until she has a problem in differentiating herself with the other. This applies to the mirror stage concept where Pecola’s desire to have a pair of blue eyes as she is always looking in the mirror, the mirror that upheld by white society standards, therefore Pecola is ugly for not having pale skin and blue eyes. Through the Pecola transformation from imaginary to symbolic order, it causes her experiencing mental, psychological and physical break down. The image and perception of what is beautiful are constructed by the society. This effect Pecola’s desire to be beautiful and continually build up the image of being beautiful set by the standards.
Unfortunately, Pecola’s father, Cholly, is absent from Pecola’s life just like Mrs. Breedlove. He fails to represent the symbolic function because he is derived from the white culture as he is psychologically disabled. Because Cholly could not meet up the symbolic role in Pecola’s imaginary, Morrison introduces Soaphead Church to fill the role of the symbolic father. Pecola turns to Soaphead for help after the father rapaed her. Soaphead appears as a powerful and symbolic figure as he plays a much more role than the parents. However, as he lacks power, he chooses to play a role as a God so Pecola believes him that he will give her anything she wants. Because of this deception, Soaphead put himself in the imaginary rather than the symbolic. To remain as a God role, Soaphead keep convincing Pecola to remain in her imaginary by constantly checking her reflection and asking her friend for reassurance that she has the “bluest” eyes. Pecola’s unable to evolve her psychic from the imaginary to symbolic, all Pecola can do is to take the imaginary for the real. Her mental breakdown demonstrates of how she tries to fit with the ‘white culture’ standard which domination the perception of being beautiful is having pale skin and a pair of blue eyes. This causes Pecola to neglect her self-worth and forcing her into isolation.
Lacan’s stages of the real, imaginary, and symbolic are expressed throughout Pecola’s life in The Bluest Eyes. Nevertheless, the society plays an important role in pushing Pecola’s mental devastation. Lacan’s Mirror Stage helps me to understand Morrison’s The Bluest Eyes.