The bluest eye essay questions

Discuss the narrative structure of the novel. Why might Morrison have chosen to present the events in a non-chronological way?

The bluest eye essay questions

For further information on her life and complete works, see CLC, Volumes 4, 10, 22, 87, and Inspired by a conversation Morrison once had with an elementary school classmate who wished for blue eyes, the novel poignantly shows the psychological devastation of a young black girl, Pecola Breedlove, who searches for love and acceptance in a world that denies and devalues people of her own race.

As her mental state slowly unravels, Pecola hopelessly longs to possess the conventional American standards of feminine beauty—namely, white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes—as presented to her by the popular icons and traditions of white culture.

With its sensitive portrait of African American female identity The bluest eye essay questions its astute critique of the internalized racism bred by American cultural definitions of beauty, The Bluest Eye has been widely seen as a literary watershed, inspiring a proliferation of literature written by African American women about their identity and experience as women of color.

From the SparkNotes Blog

Plot and Major Characters Ignoring strict narrative chronology, The Bluest Eye opens with three excerpts from the common s American elementary school primer that features the All-American, white family of Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane.

The first excerpt is a faithful reproduction, the second lacks all capitalization and punctuation marks, and the third dissolves into linguistic chaos by abandoning its spacing and alignment. This section is interrupted by an italicized fragment representing the memories of Claudia MacTeer, the principal narrator of The Bluest Eye.

As an adult, Claudia recalls incidents from late when she was nine years old living in Lorain, Ohio, with her poor but loving parents and her ten-year-old sister, Frieda. The rest of The Bluest Eye divides into four separate time sequences, each named for a season of the year and each narrated by Claudia.

In the midst of the hostilities, Pecola constantly prays for blue eyes, believing that if she only had blue eyes, life would be better.

Abandoned almost at birth, he is rescued by his beloved Aunt Jimmy, who later dies when he is sixteen. After her burial, Cholly is humiliated by two white hunters who interrupt his first sexual encounter with a girl named Darlene. He flees to Macon, Georgia, in search of his father who is miserably mean and wants nothing to do with his son.

Essay Questions

Crushed by this encounter, Cholly eventually meets and marries Pauline and fathers her children. Years later, in Lorain, a drunken Cholly staggers into his kitchen, and overcome with lust, brutally rapes and impregnates Pecola.

American society tells Pecola happy, white, middle-class families are better than hopeless, black, working-class families. Victimized in different degrees by media messages—from movies and books to advertising and merchandise—that degrade their appearance, nearly every black character in the novel—both male and female—internalizes a desire for the white cultural standard of beauty.

This desire is especially strong in Pecola, who believes that blue eyes will make her beautiful and lovable. At the same time, every African American character hates in various degrees anything associated with their own race, blindly accepting the media-sponsored belief that they are ugly and unlovable, particularly in the appalling absence of black cultural standards of beauty.

Unlike Claudia, who possesses the love of her family, Pecola has learned from her appearance-conscious parents to devalue herself.

The bluest eye essay questions

Besides exposing the inherent racism of the American standard of beauty, The Bluest Eye also examines child abuse in terms of the violence that some African American parents subconsciously inflict on their children by forcing them to weigh their self-worth against white cultural standards.

As his surname implies, Cholly can only breed, not love, and his brutal act against his daughter produces a child who cannot live. Pecola believes that if she had beautiful eyes, people would not be able to torment her mind or body. Critical Reception Regarded by modern literary critics as perhaps one of the first contemporary female bildungsroman, or coming-of-age narratives, The Bluest Eye initially received modest reviews upon its publication in Commentators later claimed that they neglected the work because Morrison was unknown at the time.

Since then, however, The Bluest Eye has become a classroom staple, and scholarship on the novel has flourished from a number of perspectives. Many critics have approached the novel in the context of the rise of African American writers, assigning significance to their revision of American history with their own cultural materials and folk traditions.

Others have considered the ways The Bluest Eye alludes to earlier black writings in order to express the traditionally silenced female point of view and uses conventional grotesque imagery as a vehicle for social protest.Join Now Log in Home Literature Essays Bluest Eye Bluest Eye Essays The Music and Silence of The Bluest Eye Jennifer DeLeo Bluest Eye.

Among Toni Morrison's works, "images of music pervade her work, but so also does a musical quality of language, a sound and rhythm that permeate and radiate in every novel" (Rigney 8). The Bluest Eye Essay.

SparkNotes: The Bluest Eye: Study Questions

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Toni Morrison

At the end of the novel, Claudia questions her own right or ability to tell the truth about Pecola’s experience. Write an essay in which you discuss Pecola's dream of happiness and Langston Hughes' poem "Dream Deferred." Is Pecola's wanting the bluest eyes a "dream deferred"? Discuss Pecola's dream in terms of its worth, compared to the dreams of young Pauline, the dreams of Louis Junior's mother, Geraldine, and the dreams of Soaphead Church.

The Bluest Eye is a novel about racism, and yet there are relatively few instances of the direct oppression of black people by white people in the book. Explain how racism functions in the story.

Explain how racism functions in the story. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison questions the origin and validity of truths imposed by white standards of beauty. The white standard of beauty is defined in terms of not being black, so in turn, blacks equate beauty with being white.

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