The Bluest Eye by Toni Morisson

1171 Words5 Pages
Toni Morisson's novel The Bluest Eye is about the life of the Breedlove family who resides in Lorain, Ohio, in the late 1930s. This family consists of the mother Pauline, the father Cholly, the son Sammy, and the daughter Pecola. The novel's focal point is the daughter, an eleven-year-old Black girl who is trying to conquer a bout with self-hatred. Everyday she encounters racism, not just from white people, but mostly from her own race. In their eyes she is much too dark, and the darkness of her skin somehow implies that she is inferior, and according to everyone else, her skin makes her even "uglier." She feels she can overcome this battle of self-hatred by obtaining blue eyes, but not just any blue. She wants the bluest eye. Morrison is able to use her critical eye to reveal to the reader the evil that is caused by a society that is indoctrinated by the inherent goodness and beauty of whiteness and the ugliness of blackness. She uses many different writing tools to depict how "white" beliefs have dominated American and African American culture. The narrative structure of The Bluest Eye is important in revealing just how pervasive and destructive social racism is. Narration in novel comes from several sources. Much of the narration comes from Claudia MacTeer as a nine year old child, but Morrison also gives the reader the insight of Claudia reflecting on the story as an adult, some first person narration from Pecola's mother, and narration by Morrison herself as an omniscient narrator. Pecola's experiences would have less meaning coming from Pecola herself because a total and complete victim would be an unreliable narrator, unwilling or unable to relate the actual circumstances of that year. Claudia, from her youthful innocence, is able to see and relate how the other characters, especially Pecola, idolize the "ideal" of beauty presented by white, blue-eyed movie stars like little Shirley Temple. In addition to narrative structure, the structure and composition of the novel itself help to illustrate how much and for how long white ideas of family and home have been forced into black culture. Instead of conventional chapters and sections, The Bluest Eye is broken up into seasons, fall, winter, spring, and summer. This type of organization suggests that the events described in The Bluest Eye have occurred before, and will occur again. This kind of cycle suggests that there is notion that there is no escape from the cycle of life that Breedloves and MacTeer live in.

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