Peola & Precious: a Comparison

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 116

Words: 1005

Pages: 5

Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 08/15/2013 03:59 PM

Report This Essay

Self-Loathing in Imitation of Life and Precious

A comparison of Peola and Precious

Imitation of Life (1934) and Precious (2009) contain stories of young black women who fight against themselves to be something they are not. Each woman faces hardship and discrimination, and must fight to find their place in the world. They loathe themselves for who they are, and for the hardships that have been placed upon them. Each finds a temporary way to cope with her problems, as well as finding out what they must do to live in harmony with who they are.

In Imitation of Life, Peola is the perfect example of the tragic mulatto stereotype. She is able to pass for white, but when her “efforts to mingle with whites as a white are frustrated by the appearance of her very dark mother,” (Bogle p. 57-59) she rejects her mother and starts to hate herself for being a light skinned Negro. Peola fights to pass for white, moving away from her mother and to a new town where nobody knows her. Her plan is again cut short when her mother finds her and tries to bring her home. Through the movie Peola is constantly fighting against society to find equality and to find the same opportunities for herself as are offered to other people. Bogle explains, “The explanation for Peola’s rebellion is that she wants to be white, not that she wants white opportunities” (p. 60). Delilah tells Peola several times to accept herself the way she is. At one point she tells Peola, “He made you black, honey. Don’t be telling him his business. Accept it, honey.” (Imitation of Life), a wise piece of advice from a mother, that would benefit anyone. Peola does not listen to her mother, and rejects her even more for wanting to fit her into a society where she does not fit in. After Delilah dies, Peola’s “weeping by her mother’s casket was Hollywood’s… way of finally humiliating her… making her conform to the remorseful mulatto type” (Bogle p. 60), and closing her story.

Precious, like Peola, faces...