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The Bluest Eye and the Contemporary American Novel
There are an infinite number of possible ways to study the development of the American novel. In doing so you invariably have to read a good number of books by American authors. The problem is you can't just walk into the bookstore and pick a few writers, read their novels, and think you understand the way the American novel came about. You have to follow certain guidelines, and read from different time periods to further your understanding. The big question is what novels are worthy of being studied to define the progress of American fiction. What makes one novel more "scholarly" than the rest, and how does it help your understanding.
Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye has proven to be a book capable of furthering ones education on the subject of the American novel. The reason being that this novel transcends what other writers before her time had done. It stirs emotions in people that hadn't been exposed by previous authors. Yet it reminds them of the classic writers that they have come to love, and who have already made their contributions to the world of American novels. It is from here that a new writer develops their style and continues to change the way people write and the way others think.
The specifics on exactly how The Bluest Eye does these amazing things are hard to put into words. Morrison uses some different techniques to get the readers attention. The language is one object used to show the emotions of the characters and convey the message of a passage. Vulgar and slang words are part of the way in which she does things differently. The word fuck probably never appeared in any of Hawthorne's novels. The use of relatively recent forms of black vernacular speech gives the reader a sense of how recently these events have taken place, and how close to home they strike. The reader gets to know the characters pretty well, which helps them to identify with certain situations. All of these examples explain how Morrison creates a story that will be read and remembered. You can't be respected as contributing to a genres development if no one remembers what you did.
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Morrison is definitely a writer worthy of being studied when learning how the contemporary American novel came to be. But this is just my opinion how does that make it valid? Winning the Nobel Prize usually earns you a good deal of deserved respect. Becoming a national best-seller also tends to carry bragging rights, but if you don't believe me, read The Bluest Eye and you'll agree that it's worth while.