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Compare and Contrast Standards of Beauty for Women in Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ and Sylvia Plath’s collection of poetry ‘Ariel.’

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” they say. Everyone does not have the same opinions about the standards of beauty. Beauty is defined when we see an object or person and is perceived according to personal likes and dislikes, knowledge of the elements of beauty, emotions, and other social cognitive factors.

Since earlier times of human history, poets and authors have been describing beauty in their works according to their own imagination of standards of beauty or by some inspirational beauties they encounter in real life, however, people hugely take influence from what they read while recognizing things and developing concepts including the concept of beauty. Consciously or unconsciously, they compare the beauty of the objects and people with the standards they read in books. Though other media also influence the perception of beauty in the minds of people, such as movies, television, and advertising media, classic media, such as poetry and prose, ideally influence the perceptions of people.

One of the most popular, important, and controversial books of the 20th century is Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, a collection of poetry work of her published in 1965 for the first time. Though the book has been controversial since its first publication, it has given inspiration to aspects of female identity and the standards of being recognized, especially in terms of beauty. The essay basically compares the beauty representation of women in Sylvia Plath’s poetry on the subject of Ariel. The portrayal of “woman” in Sylvia Ariel has inspired artists, painters, musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, and lyricists. Sylvia’s Ariel Woman has been revitalized in art and music since its first publication. In a society plasticized by mass-mediated celebrity culture in the 1950s, where the media rhetoric of female beauty was slimness, youth, and whiteness, women idealized beauty in Plath’s verses as a prerequisite to perfection.

Sylvia has creatively linked the color red to a woman’s beauty, implying that the beauty of a woman is as vibrant as red. A total of nineteen poems in the Ariel collection have the appearance of red. The order of these poems in the collection has outlined one single character’s purification and rebirth pattern. Out of the nineteen red poems of the collection, the first four deal with the woman’s body. The poetess associates the body of a woman with the body of Mother Earth in her next eight poems “Through the Beautiful Red”, these poems are mostly written in a theme setting of before dawn or night. Rebirth of the body after physical deterioration and mental memory loss in the next six red poems. The last of Sylvia Plath’s “triple-Goddess” red poems, “Stings,” concludes the rebirth and purification of the female body.

Associating red color with a woman’s body highlights the vibrancy and liveliness the poet wants to reveal about a woman’s body. The Triple Goddess is highly influenced by the “The White Goddess” of Robert Graves, who is a woman with a lovely outlook with a hooked nose, a slender body, her lips in red, sparing eyes colored in blue, and a pale face.

The poetess has connected a woman’s body with the main physical phenomena occurring with it, such as motherhood, wounds, and deterioration. Metaphorically, the poetess has described a woman’s body as merely a channel for giving birth to a child and does not feel like her own. Sylvia’s poems are tragic yet give an altogether different way of looking at the element of beauty in a woman and her body.

“Ariel” tells the story of a woman who has a stallion and rides it in the field at dawn. It humble components bliss, the individual change occurring throughout the experience.

“The Jailor,” “Tulips,” “Woman Lazarus and the poem “Cut” reveal the songs accomplishing the color shading of red associated with the woman’s body. The poetess describes hearts, eyes, ribs, skin, bones, hair, teeth, mouths, and knees other than the remaining body parts in the stanzas. The speaker deals with the advancement of her character through her physical body. The lady fights against the counter male serious powers but still depends on her body’s capability to make a living on and on for strategies for exceeding her catches. Such verses and photos, despite directing toward various parts of the Triple Goddess, illustrate the beauty (“Sina Queyras: How Sylvia Plath offers a way to see beauty in tragic circumstances | Quill and Quire,” n.d.).

“Ariel’s” short length and appearance straightforwardness – a lady rides her stallion through the wide open at sunrise – is given a false representation of the extraordinary measure of basic consideration and acclaim that the sonnet has gotten since its distribution in 1965. It is viewed as one of the poetess’ very proficient yet mysterious sonnets because it investigates significantly more than a mere sunrise ride in the morning. Noticed should be the ballad gives a name to her accumulation “Ariel”.” The sonnet legitimizes its centrality through the utilization of astonishing symbolism, striking enthusiastic reverberation, verifiable and scriptural references, and an amazing feeling of development. Commentators have a tendency to examine the ballad as investigations of a few distinct subjects, including graceful innovativeness, sexuality, Judaism, animism, suicide and passing, self-acknowledgment and self-change, and magic.

In the first place, the title “Ariel” alludes to three prominent things. Poetess wants to ride a particular stallion, the hermaphroditic sprite from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest and Jerusalem”, likewise called “Ariel in the Old Testament”. Commentators who talk about Shakespeare’s Ariel tend to peruse Plath’s ballad as an investigation of idyllic innovativeness and process. Shakespeare’s Ariel typifies this power, and Plath might endeavor to form an illustration of the way to compose a lyric. The artist starts in haziness, yet is pulled along by the motivation of graceful dialect. The sonnet starts in detachment; however, it moves into one of control and power. The faultfinder Susan van Dyne takes note of how the artist’s self-change is shown in her utilization of finished sentences, which starts halfway through the ballad. She winds up plainly as both man and woman, stallion, its rider, artist, innovative power, target, and bolt. She isn’t only a hostage of this inventive energy, but she specializes in it.

Concerning the scriptural suggestion of Jerusalem, there is not an uncertainty a result of Sylivia’ s interest – nay, fixation – with religion of Jews. “Ariel” means “lion of God” from Hebrew, the poetess alludes as being a “God’s lioness” in the line number four of the stanza. Pundits have watched a repetitive theme in Plath’s verse wherein she connects steeds with religious bliss. Riding appeared to be an approach to accomplish this amazing quality. William V. Davis considers Plath to be needing to convey this private, euphoric, mystery to the peruser.

The roads with a specific end goal were to pick up a reduction from the substantial assessment he had put upon his inhabitants. She had been disappointed with his unyielding quality and ravenousness in the tax assessment matter and kept on requesting that her significant other facilitate the weight. One can comprehend the association as far as the security she appreciates on her ride or as a proposal that she rides for a more noteworthy reason than just her own particular delight. The implication likewise resounds as a result of the overarching interest in the culture of the West’s prohibited figure of the naked female and the issues of the exhibition; Plath utilizes this picture to take control of her self-show and does not say any male look whatsoever. She grasps her ride and the greater part of its summonings of energy, including sexual power, and can disregard even a youngster’s cry that “melts in the divider.” On this ride, she can immovably announce her ladylike freedom far from smothering male-centric powers.

At long last, in commentator Marjorie Perloff’s talk of animism and tension, she guarantees Plath’s verse as illustrative of the delighted, ambiguous, beautiful composition, which focused upon self, in this manner shunning any kind of account objectivity. Plath relates to the set of all animals to convey what needs to be, delineating people as dormant and frosty and creatures as dynamic. Perloff remarks that “at its most serious, life moves toward becoming demise; however, it is passing that is wanted: the ‘Self-destructive’ jump into the ‘red/Eye’ of the morning sun isn’t just vicious yet happy.” On the off chance that one is so disposed of, one can even associate this elucidation to the women’s activist and innovative understandings to propose that Plath’s definitive objective was to relate blissful free-for-all – how we recognize and comprehend the furor, at last, uncovers our own identity and intrigue.

Toni Morrison raises prejudice and class can inconveniently impact individuals’ point of view toward themselves.

Tragically, we live in a general public that spots such extraordinary accentuation and thought toward the feel of magnificence.

For the Breedloves what society characterized as magnificence was not something they felt they would ever be. Society denounced them for being appalling, and they surrendered to that naming. They never endeavored to transcend it and, along these lines, brought their kids up similarly. This created a sentiment of self-loathing and uselessness in their youngsters, particularly their little girl, Pecola. From birth Pecola is said to be revolting by her mom and poor people tyke was never allowed to ever set up herself: “However I knew she was terrible. Head brimming with pretty hair, however, Lord she was appalling.” (p.128) She was never adored, but instead, she was ignored and made to be self-scorn since she didn’t appear to be somebody that her folks and society would love. She loathed herself so much that she began fantasizing, imagining, and imploring that she was a really blue-peered young lady whom her folks would love: “It had struck Pecola sometime prior that if she ha eyes like those in the photos, they will be unique in other words, delightful, she herself would be extraordinary. If she appeared to be unique and wonderful, Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove would possibly be unique as well. Perhaps they’d say, “Why, take a gander at really peered toward Pecola. We mustn’t do terrible things before those pretty eyes.”

“The Bluest Eye” is Tony Morrison’s first novel, which was published first time in the year of 1970. In the novel, Morrison challenges the excellence benchmarks of Western culture and exhibits a socially built idea of magnificence. Morrison likewise perceives that if the standard of beauty was whiteness as well as any other criterion, at that point, the estimation of obscurity is decreased, and The Bluest Eye attempts to undermine such tendency. While exhibiting feel of good in being dark, the writer not only depicts positive pictures of darkness. Rather, it centers on the impairment dark ladies’ characters endure in the development of gentility in a racialized society (Matus, 1998, 37).

As Gurleen Grewal additionally contends, only turning around apparent ‘grotesqueness’ to excellent obscurity “is insufficient, for counter conversations like these do not touch the core of the issue: the classism based on racial differences maintained by predominant standards and generalizations” (Grewal, 1998).

This exposition will initially take into account the developments of womanliness and, after that, propose how Morrison’s imaginary dark individuals react diversely to Western norms of magnificence. Sandra Lee Bartky inspects the development of Western womanliness by applying Michel Foucault’s hypotheses about the creation of subjectivity in present-day social orders in her article “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernisation of Patriarchal Power.” Foucault contends that “train produces subjected and rehearsed bodies, easygoing bodies” (Bartky, 1988).

Nonetheless, the writer perceives that Foucault thinks not about sexual orientation contrasts and “is visually impaired to [the] disciplines that deliver a methodology of exemplification that is particularly female” (Bartky, 1988). Moreover, She contends that breaking down penalizing social that create female bodies uncovers the phenomena of sexism that are in practice in a man-dominated Western culture (Bartky, 1988).

Both Tony Morrison and Sylvia Plath have described the different ways of seeing beauty in their prose and poetry. Both artists have entitled beauty central to the woman and her bodily features. Morrison has condemned through his outstanding depiction of racial and socially built standards of beauty in the Western culture, whereas the poetess Sylvia has very deeply rooted the beauty of Mother Earth to the beauty of a woman’s body. Sylvia’s representation of the female body, standards of loveliness, and tenderness of females in a very different and unique way.


Sugiharti, E., 2002. Racialised Beauty: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Counterpoints conference committee.

Wilkins, A., 2010. ” Through the Beautiful Red”: The Use of the Color Red as the Triple-Goddess in Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Plath Profiles: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Sylvia Plath Studies, 3, pp.74-89.

Bartky, S.L., 1997. Foucault, femininity, and the modernization of patriarchal power (pp. pp-61). na.

Van Dyne, S.R., 1994. Revising Life: Sylvia Plath’s Ariel Poems. Univ of North Carolina Press.

Sina Queyras: How Sylvia Plath offers a way to see beauty in tragic circumstances | Quill and Quire [WWW Document], n.d. URL (accessed 2.13.18).

Matus, J.L., 1998. Toni Morrison. Manchester University Press.

Grewal, G., 1998. Circles of sorrow, lines of struggle: The novels of Toni Morrison. LSU Press.



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