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The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

About the author


About the document

Published date
documents in English
8 pages
2 times
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  1. Toni Morrison's biography
  2. Autobiographical elements in The Bluest Eye
  3. Prologue
    1. The Dick and Jane narrative
    2. Second part written in italics: Narration by an unnamed narrator
  4. Autumn: Chapter 1
    1. Theme of injustice: Being a child, being poor, being a woman, being black
    2. Theme of beauty: Racism distorts beauty standards
    3. Love hate relationship between blacks and whites
    4. Pecola's desire to internalize white values
    5. Coming of age
  5. Autumn, Chapter 2
    1. Shift in narration
    2. Playright's instructions for a set, sympbolic objects
    3. No positive symbols in the Breedloves's home, only suffering and degradation
  6. Autumn, Chapter 3
    1. The Breedloves's ugliness
    2. Pecola's longing for blue eyes
    3. The three prostitutes, happy without society's acceptance
  7. Conclusion

The Bluest Eye contains a number of autobiographical elements. It is set in the town where Morrison grew up (Lorain), and it is told from the point of view of a nine-year-old girl, the age Morrison would have been the year the novel takes place (1941). Like the MacTeer family, Morrison's family struggled to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Morrison grew up listening to her mother singing and her grandfather playing the violin, just as Claudia does. In the novel's afterword, Morrison explains that the story developed out of a conversation she had had in elementary school with a little girl, who longed for blue eyes. She was still thinking about this conversation in the 1960s, when the Black is Beautiful movement was working to reclaim African-American beauty, and that is how she began her first novel.

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