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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye (original 1970; edition 1972)

by Toni Morrison

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8,098124394 (3.87)345
Title:The Bluest Eye
Authors:Toni Morrison
Info:Washington Square Press (1972), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)


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English (119)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
The writing is as lovely and as dense as poetry, but I would have liked more subtlety in the story and more variety in the sad-child point of view that isn't really a child's point of view at all. Children don't "usually have "binding conviction that only a miracle will relieve them," for example. There were many startling brilliances--one of my favorite scenes was Claudia tearing apart a much hated white-baby china doll--but mostly I felt suffocated by this humorless book. ( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
The Bluest Eye is the story of a girl named Pecola and her family and is told through the eyes of two other girls from the same town. In the opening pages of the novel, we learn that Pecola was raped by her father and had a baby. The rest of the novel related the history of the family and the events that led up to their situation.

I found this book easy to get into and fairly easy to read despite the disturbing subject matter. The afterward written by Morrison discussed her thoughts on her intentions with the novel and where she succeeded and failed in writing it. This was really helpful in getting me to understand much of the book.
( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Through the eyes of children, we get a sense of the social consequences of passive, pervasive racism. The damage that can be done to the fragile self esteem of the weak, seeping in through the very climate of a culture. A black child praying for blue eyes, in the belief that such a simple beauty could change her reality. That her parents rage would be calmed, the cruelty of children quieted, and the indifference of society would be lifted. This tragic story is blanketed in stunning prose, a poetic but versatile command of language enriches every line of Morison’s work. ( )
  Alidawn | Jan 16, 2016 |
The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison

This is a really tough book to rate as it deals with child abuse and the perception of a young girl about what it means to be black in a world where everything is telling you that white is superior.

The storyline is hard hitting, heart breaking and inevitably tragic and yet despite all this there are moments of fun, hints of hope and the constantly strong voice of the narrator who questions convention.

I gave this 5 stars not for enjoyment but because this is so beautifully written, the language is poetic and unlike other 1001 novels the abuse, sexual and none, is not focused on in a way that makes reading unbearable.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
The bluest eye belongs to the more readable novels of Toni Morrison. It is less experimental, and written in a more traditional style, accessible to broad readership. It is essentially a rather sad story of a coloured girl, growing up in such dire circumstances that she denies her identity. The longing for blue eyes is a pars pro toto, it is a longing to be different, to escape from her miserable livelihood. A sad and touching story. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
I have said "poetry." But "The Bluest Eye" is also history, sociology, folklore, nightmare and music. It is one thing to state that we have institutionalized waste, that children suffocate under mountains of merchandised lies. It is another thing to demonstrate that waste, to re-create those children, to live and die by it. Miss Morrison's angry sadness overwhelms.

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toni Morrisonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dee, RubyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the two who gave me life
and the one who made me free
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Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father's baby that the marigolds did not grow. A little examination and much less melancholy would have proved to us that our seeds were not the only ones that did not sprout; nobody's did. Not even the gardens fronting the lake showed marigolds that year. But so deeply concerned were we with the health and safe delivery of Pecola's baby we could think of nothing but our own magic: if we planted the seeds, and said the right words over them, they would blossom, and everything would be alright. It was a long time before my sister and I admitted to ourselves that no green was going to spring from our seeds. Once we knew, our guilt was relieved only by fights and mutual accusations about who was to blame. For years I thought my sister was right: it was my fault. I had planted them too far down in the earth. It never occured to either one of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola's father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair. What is clear now is that of all of that hope, fear, lust, love, and grief, nothing remains but Pecola and the unyielding earth. Cholly Breedlove is dead; our innocence too. The seeds shriveled and died; her baby too. There is really nothing more to say--except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452282195, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 2000: Originally published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the author expressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure: "It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalk up this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly high standards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if not sophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetorical sweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjects that would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historical memory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself.

Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:

You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.
There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.

This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pin too much of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which gives The Bluest Eye the sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one. --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:54 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Pecola Breedlove, a young eleven-year-old black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dreams grow more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity.--from publisher's description.… (more)

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