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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
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The Bluest Eye (original 1970; edition 1972)

by Toni Morrison

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7,522111459 (3.88)301
Member:OWSLibrary
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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» See also 301 mentions

English (107)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
This was part of my summer reading list. I couldn't exactly relate to the character. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't forced upon me. ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
An amazing look at how we see beauty in ourselves and others. ( )
  Renn_22 | Jul 6, 2014 |
Listening to Toni Morrison read one of her own books is always a pleasure - an experience akin to going to a poetry reading or sitting back at a musical concert. Her descriptions of every day life - a torn set of tights or falling asleep in a cold bed - are so vivid and beautiftully portrayed. Normally, that would earn 4 stars for me. But in The Bluest Eye, I had brief moments where I really understood what it feels like to be a young black girl, poor and ugly, raped by her father, who believes that if only her eyes were blue, then all of her problems would disappear. Beautiful and haunting. ( )
1 vote jmoncton | Mar 9, 2014 |
A good example of a great writer working through their problems before they hit their stride. The prose is purple and corny, and the subject and metaphors cheesily heavy handed. I couldn't get more than 50 pages in without rolling my eyes back into my head.

The ideas of race-based beauty ideals is brilliant, though handled sloppily and without much grace. She tackles these same issues with infinite beauty in her next novel, SULA, and her famous short story, "Recitatif".

I really wanted to love this book but her prose did not yet reach her usual Faulknerian levels of brilliance. Overall a big time early miss from a great artist (though I'm sure the prose improves as the book goes on, if I could ever force myself through the long opening. I decided to read BELOVED instead) ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
Toni Morrison is heavy. I read this for a survey course of her work in college. It is a painful story of a young girl growing up in an abusive household, always wishing she could be someone else. ( )
  rfewell | Feb 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (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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Please distinguish between this complete 1970 novel and any abridgement of the original Work. Thank you.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:00 -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)

(summary from another edition)

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