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The Bluest Eye (1970)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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13,684241445 (3.92)595
Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. HTML:The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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 (152)
2024 (4)
Read (111)
AP Lit (235)
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» See also 595 mentions

English (229)  Spanish (6)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (240)
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
Pecola Breedlove is a little girl that Claudia - the narrator for most of the story - goes to school with. Pecola is poor and abused and has so internalized racism that she wants nothing more than to have blue eyes so she can be beautiful. Interspersed with Claudia's more straightforward narrative, we also get the stories of various adults in this small Ohio town who come into contact with the kids and affect their lives.

What happens when everyone outside of you tells you you're lesser, worthless, ugly, and will never amount to anything? That's what Morrison explores in this book, through multiple characters who have all been affected by racism in one way or another. Claudia and her sister have loving parents and stability, but they like all the other kids in their class buy into colorism. Some of the adults, affected by their own pasts, perpetuate trauma on the next generation. We're told early on that Pecola's father rapes her, and a later chapter gives us the perspective of a pedophile. Pecola's story is the most depressing because she has nothing going for her, but everyone is affected to a lesser or greater extent, and no one - or at least no adult - is fully innocent. This is Morrison's debut novel, and you can see the hallmarks of her style, with beautiful language and memorable characters grappling with racism and the difficulties life brings them. It's not an easy or a happy read, but it's worth engaging with. ( )
  bell7 | Jun 24, 2024 |
This was my first read by Toni Morrison. I was drawn to it because it is on the endangered book list in my state. I LOVED this book. This woman can write. One of the saddest, most eye opening, and moving books I have ever read. I look forward to diving into more works by her. ( )
  cdeboard | May 29, 2024 |
I don't even know where to begin. Brutal...yet beautiful. I'll probably never forget this one. ( )
  milbourt | May 11, 2024 |
Read this one the old fashioned way: checked the book out from the public library.
Known for its insights into the hearts of people feeling rejected, dejected, and ornery as a result, this is a sure cure if you fear you’re feeling overly ebullient. ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
READERS SIDENOTE: I feel at times compelled to read a book because of its hype, or it won an award, or it has a snazzy cover; in this case, The Bluest Eye was not only a National Bestseller, it was a winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature - that's a big deal. Unfortunately, this, like many that have caught my eye because of extraneous reasons rather than my gut based on "the back flap," fell flat. This flatness was not because of poor writing or bad subject matter; it was because of the same reason that prompted me to pick it up: the hype, and my, in turn, expectation.

The Bluest Eye is a story of true color; Pecola Breedlove's ebony skin and her desire for blue eyes - to make her beautiful. In the afterward, Ms. Morrison pens that she doesn't want the reader to pity Pecola, but it's hard not to. As a mother, as a person who always found fault in her appearance, I read the book with a mixture of sadness, empathy, pity, and guilt (my eyes are not blue, but my skin is white).

The book was not to derive my guilt but to enlighten me, I'm sure, which it did - I felt deeply for Pecola's dream to be what she could never; in her case, a girl with blue eyes. Ms. Morrison does an exceptional job at causing the reader to see their innocuous fortune through the eyes of those who are told they are not as blessed.

I got lost a couple of times as the book wandered down a path to call out an example or point and then felt jolted back when the scene would shift, and I again understood where I was and with whom I was interacting as the reader. I guess this inability to follow would be my issue, as who am I to discredit or downplay the scholars voting on the highest acclaim in literature.

Would I recommend the Bluest Eye? Yes. I think we all need to be stretched, academically and socially. ( )
  LyndaWolters1 | Apr 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 229 (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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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.)
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Please distinguish between this complete 1970 novel and any abridgement of the original Work. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. HTML:The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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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