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Word Count: 1176
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. Further, dividing the book are small excerpts from the "Dick and Jane" primer that is the archetype of the white upper-middle class lifestyle. Each excerpt has, in some way, to do with the section that follows. So the section that describes Pecola\'s mother is started with an excerpt describing Dick and Jane\'s mother, and so on. The excerpts from "Dick and Jane" that head each "chapter" are typeset without any spaces or punctuation marks. The "Dick and Jane" snippets show just how prevalent and important the images of white perfection are in Pecola\'s life; Morrison\'s strange typography illustrates how irrelevant and inappropriate these images actually are. Names play an important part in The Bluest Eye because they are often symbolic of conditions in society or in the context of the story. The name of the novel, "The Bluest Eye," is meant to get the reader thinking about how much value is placed on blue-eyed little girls. Pecola and her family are representative of the larger African-American community, and their name, "Breedlove," is ironic because they live in a society that does not "breed love." In fact, it breeds hate; hate of blackness, and thus hatred of oneself. The MacTeer girls are flattered when Mr. Henry said "Hello there. You must be Greta Garbo, and you must be Ginger Rogers", for the names ring of beauty that the girls feel they will never reach. Soaphead Church represents, as his name suggests, the role of the church in African-American life. "I, I have caused a miracle. I gave her the eyes. I gave her the blue, blue, two blue eyes," Soaphead says. The implication is that the church\'s promise that if you worship God and pray to Him
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The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, Imitation of Life, Blue eyes, Pecola, Dick and Jane, Good hair
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