Othering Each Other: Mimicry, Ambivalence and Abjection in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

Shima Peimanfard, Fazel Asadi Amjad


This study examines the intersections of Post colonialism and Psychoanalysis in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. It also aims to challenge Bhabha’s notions of mimicry and ambivalence as he deems them to be great forms of resistance against White supremacy. Indeed, The Bluest Eye considers Bhabha’s notion of mimicry as an oppressive strategy, especially when adopted by colonized characters like Pecola in their futile attempts to imbibe the imposed images of white culture. In addition to this literary inspiration, Julia Kristeva is among those Psychoanalytic critics who gives a further boost to my argument against Bhabha; remarking that mimicry creates the hazards of absorbing the norms of the dominant culture, and can result in psychological forms of oppression posed to the colonized, namely abjection. For instance, in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the non-whites use mimicry as the sole arena of struggle to get out of the marsh of abjection and create a sense of self; failing to grasp that mimicry itself contains the threat of ridding them to abjection and the vicious circle of ‘othering each other.’ Therefore, Bhabha’s ambivalent experience, to which the colonized is promoted through manifesting feats of mimicry is indeed a trap; for the voice that comes out of such experience is psychotic.


Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Mimicry, Ambivalence, Abjection, Self-abhorrence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.4p.115


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