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The Bluest Eye (1970)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11,660205457 (3.92)564
The Bluest Eye (1970) is the first novel written by Toni Morrison. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.… (more)
1970s (97)
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» See also 564 mentions

English (196)  Spanish (5)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (204)
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
It's incredible that this is Toni Morrison's first book, and even more incredible that she would criticize her own use of language and structure in her afterword, as those were exactly what I thought made this so astounding. Morrison approaches the story of Pecola Breedlove from many different directions, spiraling in on her tragedy, so that readers can understand how many facets of oppression collude to result in the poverty, abuse, rape, and self-loathing portrayed here. Morrison does not flinch from the realities she is portraying but neither does she make them melodramatic; this is how her simple use of language and the vernacular serves her and the story well. ( )
  sturlington | May 31, 2022 |
Such a sad story, written so well. Told in different perspectives with some back and forth of timeline gave me a sense of what was going to happen, a definite foreboding, but the anticipation of the event was present at each chapter break, not really knowing when it was going to happen. The stories are so intertwined which can make it a little confusing until it is all woven together, or perhaps when it starts to unravel, however you look at it. I felt I spent some time at the beginning of each chapter trying to figure out who was speaking and their position in the story. So sad the culminating event, just achingly sad, but told from an unexpected perspective which almost explained the reasoning behind it all. Wonderful piece of work, but I probably would not read it again, the initial impact was great enough for me. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
This is the only book of Toni Morrison's that I have been able to read all the way through and it was powerful. It tells the story of young Pecola by telling the stories of the people around her. Morrison's descriptions and insights were nuanced and well-told.

What also makes this book effective is the generational nature of abuse, not just from one generation to the next but also the ways in which abuse happens within a generation. Pecola's parents subject one another to abuse as their lives together break down. She witnesses the abuse and rather than run away like her brother she retreats into herself. She has nowhere else to turn for guidance or comfort.

And I was struck by the insight into how compassion and empathy are luxuries that few of the characters can afford. Generations of African-American families have gone through sexual humiliation and degrees of violence, and the scars become visible as harsh words or actions directed towards another. To understand and be forgiven is not an automatic response, and I saw that emptiness as another, larger tragedy for the characters and their tales. ( )
  threadnsong | Apr 16, 2022 |
I want to love this, my first read of the novel.. The language is beyond exquisite. The characters, multi-sensual. Bits and pieces of story burn with human, spiritual revelation. But the story in action is almost too small to sustain the weight of its details, threads, and lesson. The author's note (read, as my whole audiobook was, by the author) in the end patiently and persuasively addresses some of my difficulties with the book and made me love it more for its wanting. ( )
  rinila | Feb 25, 2022 |
Heart-wrenching story about a young black girl who dreams of having blue eyes so that society would perceive her as "beautiful." I read that Toni Morrison wrote this book to illustrate how hurtful and hard racism is on black people. After reading this story, I have a better understanding. Content warnings for incest, sexual abuse, pedophilia, and racism. An important book! ( )
  mrstreme | Feb 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morrison, Toniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Žantovský, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balacco, LuisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bofill, MireiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cousté, AlbertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dee, RubyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallén, KerstinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Häupl, MichaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lázár JúliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilz, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rademacher, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt-Dengler, WendelinAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schneider, HelmutContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thigpen, LynneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the two who gave me life
and the one who made me free
First words
Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941.
Quotations
And it is the blackness that accounts for, that creates,the vacuum edged with distaste in white eyes.
But we listened for the one who would say, “Poor little girl,” or, “Poor baby,” but there was only head-wagging where those words should have been. We looked for eyes creased with concern, but saw only veils.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this complete 1970 novel and any abridgement of the original Work. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

The Bluest Eye (1970) is the first novel written by Toni Morrison. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

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