The Bluest Eye Essay Examples

Essays on The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye is fascinating to both readers and critics, through the merging of fantasy and realism in fiction; while simultaneously exposing the harsh and sensitive, and often overlooked truth that exists in the black American society. That is, a truth about black identity, in a predominantly white societal context.

Social Issue in “The Bluest Eye”
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In the novel The Bluest Eye, written by Toni Morrison, the development of characters throughout the novel have been fractured by external values that are out of their own control. One character, among many others throughout the novel, Cholly Breedlove is broken from external events in his life he had no control over. Battling with parenthood, sex, and racism his life hasn't been exactly easy. Although Chollys actions are not justifiable, these external events played a key role on his…...
The Bluest Eye
Beauty is Pain: What Society Sees versus What I See
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How do we decide who is attractive and who is not? Society is full of information telling us what is beautiful, but what fact is that information based on? The topic of beauty has been studied, analyzed, and controversial for centuries. We all know the feeling you can have when our eyes admire a visually pleasing face. Beauty plays a big part in the novel The Bluest Eye, where characters were subjective of their looks and style corresponding to society. In the The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, a significant theme of physical beauty is…...
The Bluest Eye
Historical and Psychological Roots of Ethnic Discrimination in The African-American Community
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Another interesting point Toni Morrison shows in The Bluest Eye is sometimes black people themselves discriminate against people who had darker skin. On chapter 5 we are introduced to a women named Geraldine, a black women (presumably light skinned) who is well educated, but discriminates against dark-skinned people. She separates people between “niggers” and colored. “They sat in little rows o n street curbs, crowded into pews at church, taking space from the nice, neat, colored children (Morrison, Tony The…...
The Bluest Eye
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Racism Issue in “The Bluest Eye”
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Dark-skinned African-American women carry a heavy burden when it comes to racial acceptance and they endure interracial and intraracial racism, which leads to problems with self-esteem and difficulties embracing their ethnic identity. Introduction: The issue of skin color is still a big issue within the black race because in the times of slavery black people were treated differently according to their skin color. The roots of this kind of bigotry run deep throughout the country. African Americans see colorism all…...
The Bluest Eye
Novel “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
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In Toni Morrison’s historical fiction novel, The Bluest Eye, the internalization of Eurocentric standards of beauty and how they damage the lives of African American girls and women are closely depicted. Through her carefully crafted chapters, Morrison also illustrates the effect a discriminatory social system can have on a race of people and how it may wear down their minds and souls often inclining them to hate their culture, heritage, and even their own appearances. I believe that The Bluest…...
The Bluest Eye
The Bluest eye – Toni Morrison
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In the autumn section of the bluest eye, by Toni Morrison, the most intriguing passage that I have read occurs in the pages 33-34, beginning with; "Letting herself breathe easily now... " and ending with; "those pretty eyes. " This passage is particularly unique in the sense that it exposes a lot about Pecola's situation at that time, her character, her feelings and emotions as well as her desires. The writer uses a number of different literary devices to convey…...
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Book Analysis: The Bluest Eye
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“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion” This quote is explaining that if every book is censored that no-one will be able to think or say what they really feel. (Shultz). The Bluest Eye is a very controversial piece of literature. Many people say that it should be burned due to the many inhumane activities included. On the other side,…...
The Bluest Eye
Women In The Society
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ABSTRACT In contemporary world of this twenty first century, where modern science and technologies, new life style has reached its great height, people consider that men and women are given equal rights in family, education and other affairs. But, speaking truly, women are deprived of their real rights. Moreover, women aren't even regarded as humanbeing where they are illtreated, subjugated, brutally charged, seen and used only as wanton and lecherous creatures by the male folks for their least and meanest…...
GenderSocietyThe Bluest EyeWomen
Communities shape the way people think about themselves and the people around
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Communities shape the way people think about themselves and the people around. There reflect the ideas, beliefs and socio-economic realities that people share as a collective whole. Who interact with and how they react can foster a sense of belonging or lead to rejection and isolation. Culture, society, environment seem to play an important role in the shaping identities. Sometimes different things that shape identity range from a wide variety of values and belief to experiences. In novels The Bluest…...
CommunityCulturePeopleThe Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is a novel written by Toni Morrison an
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The Bluest Eye is a novel written by Toni Morrison, an African-American novelist and a Nobel Prize winner. The novel is set in the 1940s during which the African-American women were under great pressure to conform and satisfy the beauty standards that were put, that were; the ideal blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. The novel focuses on many different themes such as sexuality, race, beauty, and family. One of the major themes is social class. Social status plays…...
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Literary elements in the bluest eye
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In 1970, Toni Morrison published an intense novel, The Bluest Eye, to show the world the effects that internal racism had on African American families during the 1940s. The novel begins during the month of autumn, a time of confusion, contempt, and corruption in the life of the young narrator, Claudia. In the course of this portion of the story, Morrison eloquently portrays the potential effectiveness of literature through her master use of literary elements. Setting, mood, tone, and imagery…...
AutumnThe Bluest Eye
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
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Tony Morrison ended up being the prominent American writer of the second half of the 20th century primarily due to the fact that of her novel "The Bluest Eye" published in 1970. The family relations, appeal and ugliness, ruthlessness and love are in the focus of the novel. The book is narrated by a young black woman, Claudia MacTeer and the reader realizes through her understanding the atmosphere in the household of her buddy Pecola Breedlove. The family relations in…...
CultureThe Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
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Contrasting Images: How Comparing Two Ideas Helps Emphasize Theme in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison uses the classic Dick and Jane primers to contrast the unusual relationships that are established within the novel between family members or loved ones. The primers are helpful in doing so because they represent what is considered to be the ideal version of the perfect family, and therefore emphasize the dysfunctional relationships that exist within the Breedlove family. This…...
The Bluest Eye
Self and Identity in The Color Purple
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In African-American texts, blacks are seen as struggling with the patriarchal worlds they live in order to achieve a sense of Self and Identity. The texts I have chosen illustrate the hazards of Western religion, Rape, Patriarchal Dominance and Colonial notions of white supremacy; an intend to show how the protagonists of Alice Walker's The Color Purple as well as Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, cope with or crumble due to these issues in their struggle to find their identities.…...
GodIdentitySelf identityThe Bluest EyeThe Color Purple
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ABSTRACT: Racial Discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status. In The Bluest eye ,Morrison took a different approach to the traditional White-Versus-Black racism. She acknowledged that most people are unaware of the racism that exists within a culture and often the racism that exists within themselves. Morrison's essay describes a world free of racial hierarchy as dreamscape and unrealistic.…...
DiscriminationRacial DiscriminationThe Bluest Eye
We've found 15 essay examples on The Bluest Eye
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Inaudible Voice of Pecola

Diana Josephine and R., Aseda Fatima, Inaudible Voice of Pecola in Toni Morrison’s Novel the Bluest Eye (February 7, 2018). International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Literature (IMPACT: IJRHAL) Vol. 6, Issue 1, Jan 2018, 335-33. Available at SSRN:

Josephina and Fatima examined the inaudible voice of the main character, Pecola, in Toni Morrison’s first novel “The Bluest Eye”. Their research is liked to key word, such as, black girl, community, insane, family, violence and rape. Pecola’s demise according to this review is like that of entrapment in her community attempting to be different but suffers more than is expected. Her Rape, violation and the discrimination, all stem from a community forced into obedience of being subservient. The Breedlove family as described was only a part of a larger community framework of racism. This review by Josephina and Fatima highlights Pecola as the catalyst for change, wanting to be different but suffering the raft of her family, friends and her community.

Pecola had the fortitude and energy to even make her community different but as highlighted in this review, every attempt was met with ridicule and shame. Wanting what was so normal and beautiful in other families is hinted as being a world of struggle and unthinkable. Her rape as noted was like an added indictment putting a heavier burden of the will to change and the will to be different. In this review, Pecola; black, poor, laughed at and raped, yet attempting a mask of wanting blue eyes to cure a problem rutted in race domination by the upper-class only caused pain. Morrison, through this journal review by Josephina and Fatima examined what appears to be an uncured America of yesteryear which still lingers on event as we review this great novel.

Racial and Sexual Intolerance in The Bluest Eye

Sarangi, Dr. Itishri & Pattnaik, Ms.Minushree. (2017). Racial and Sexual Intolerance in The Bluest Eye. The Creative Launch. II. 406-421. Accessed 5/6/20

Sarangi and Pattnaik’s journal focus on a system where chauvinism, malevolent and sexism exists, in which a young black girl seeks to achieve beauty, which she views as a means for happiness and survival in a dominantly white society. They highlight how the Bluest Eye is fascinating to both readers and critics, through the merging of fantasy and realism in fiction; while simultaneously exposing the harsh and sensitive, and often overlooked truth that exists in the black American society. That is, a truth about black identity, in a predominantly white societal context. This black identity which is inextricably tied to slavery and is often not addressed overtly. Much of Black identity and beauty standards have been heavily impacted was woven by slavery and the perceptions of it. Sarangi and Pattnaik highlights that the blacks who try to falsify their identity and run away from self and ancestry, further aggravate the problems because majority of white Americans to date have not been able to accept blacks as part and parcel of the country. Whites still look at them differently. In The Bluest Eye, the entire Breedlove family perceive themselves to be ugly. The truth lies in their thinking, not in their appearance. “Although their poverty was traditional and stultifying, it was not unique. But their ugliness was unique.” (The Bluest Eye 36). All the characters demonstrated their view of self in distinctive ways which can commonly be seen in modern society. For instance, Sammy the eldest son deals with his perceived ugliness by hurting and giving pain to others. Pauline during her adolescent period tries hard to be like the whites and even named herself as ‘Polly’ which only whites keep. The entire family held to the horrible belief, but it is not their look or poorness that was ugly but their assessment made them so. “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.” (The Bluest Eye 37) “Morrison calls “Africanism” a ‘trope’ and a ‘virus’. “All of Morrison’s characters exist in a world defined by its blackness and by the surrounding white society that both violates and denies it. The destructive effect of the white society can take the form of outright physical violence, but oppression in Morrison’s world is more often psychic violence. She seldom depicts white characters, for the brutality here is less a single act than the systematic denial of the reality of black lives.

Journalist Point of View

Isherwood, C. the new york times.

The New York Time reviewed Toni Morisson’s novel the Bluest Eye from a journalist point of view placing the main character Pecola as a front for change but in an effort to expose the effects of white supremacy on the black American society. The Times describes Ms. Morrison’s exploration of the cultural pathology behind them with lyrical grace in her impressionistic novel. A comparison of planted tree seeds to that of Pecola’s father planting his very own seed of life in his daughter, brought this theatrical review to life, exposing the effects of a family hardship on itself. The Times gave much needed credence to Ms. Morrison for writing a novel which in turn grabbed an active audience after this story was captured on stage. The Times was more about exposing the truth of racism and exploitation rather than analyzing the written story, which itself was already based on truth.

Based on the Times review, Toni Morrison’s novel, as adapted for the stage by Lydia Diamond was a reminder to all who viewed it that changing one’s appearance may not always change the was a racist society would see, judge or treat you. The reviews speak to the reaction of the actors in the staged play of this novel as well as the captured audience. Both having experienced similar struggles in their lives. The sexuality descriptive effects of both the novel’s characters and the play and reading audience reflect the disgust of a white problem in a black American society. The times did justice to a well written novel by Toni Morrison.

Identity, Race and Gender in The Bluest Eye

Gomes, Rosana Ruas Machado (2016). Identity, Race and Gender in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO RIO GRANDE DO SUL INSTITUTO DE LETRAS. Accessed 5/6/20

Gomes’ journal focuses on Identity, Race and Gender in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. She is of the view that Morrison’s novel can be read as a claim for racial pride, and what Morrison’s suggestion for a healthy, healed identity is. Morrison tells a shocking story of a black little girl named Pecola Breedlove, who descends into madness after being emotionally and physically abused on several occasions by her community and family. In the years covered by the narrative, 1940 and 1941, the Breedlove girl is constantly bullied and mistreated. She views herself as ugly, and attributes their mistreatment to her physical appearance. Pecola ultimately loses her sanity when she is raped by her father and losses the baby. Gomes is of the view that the novel brings to discussion matters such as gender, race and identity, and raises questions on racial self-loathing, the menace of white beauty standards, and the loss of one’s self. Gomes argues that Morrison believes that assimilating the white concept of beauty may be quite harmful to African Americans, and perhaps not the best solution to promote their healing.

The formal devices in the novel appear to suggest that African American traditions are the key to achieving wholesome and healthy identities. Also central to Gomes’ view is the questioning of beauty standards and the concept of beauty itself, the characters who are oppressed by them and who also use them to oppress others. Some figures like Pauline, Maureen Peal and Geraldine assimilate and try to imitate white concepts of a good lifestyle. The way in which they separate themselves from other African Americans and the harm they do to themselves and to other blacks by deeming them unworthy. While these concepts are not significantly woven through the plot but the narrators voice was giving insight into that underpinning theme. Ultimately, Gomes suggests that “the existence of something beautiful will require the existence of something ugly–always excluding and harming someone.” Morrison seems to think that the fact that whiteness is considered the most important or only kind of beauty is not the only problem. The sheer whole importance attached to this particular value is misguided. As a solution, Morrison brings love, stories, connection to the community. In The Bluest Eye, that community is the African American one, since that is the position of the main characters.

Feminist Critique on The Bluest Eye

Ruiz, Karen. ‘Feminist Critique on Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye’ (2018). Eddie Mabry Diversity Award. Assessed 5/7/20

Karen Ruiz examines the Bluest Eye through a feminist critique analysis, that is how the central theme of racism and its impact on identity, is catalyzed through various female interactions with a key character, Pecola. Ruiz contends that Morrison explores black females’ exposure to a standard of beauty within which they cannot identify. Their interactions with a society so deeply resentful and rejecting of blackness, instills a sense of inferiority and hatred of self that threatens black female’s perceptions. Pecola is the poster child representative of the callous treatment of black children and their internalizations of their oppression. Her interactions with various females cement her feeling of worthless and disempowerment. Pecola falsely adopts blue eyes in her attempt to redefine herself to conform to a beauty standard that excludes her.

Pecola Breedlove’s interaction with a white shopkeeper showcases the rejection and invisibility blackness grants in society. The experience in the store supports the idea of white dominance and the prevalence of racism that deeply affects Pecola. Making her feel shameful and inferior. Pecola’s experience with Maureen Peal, a light-skinned wealthy girl, strengthens Pecola’s understanding of the appearance she lacks and the implication of the appearance she does possess. Claudia acknowledges that girls like her and Frieda and Pecola would always be lesser. “Nicer, brighter, but still lesser.” Ruiz brings to the fore the presence of ‘intraracial’ prejudice, i.e. racism within a race, a concept often term colorism in the black community. Such Colorism can be seen in the character Maureen, who views herself as superior because she is of a lighter complexion and looks whiter than the other black girls. She looks more like her oppressors. Maureen verbally attacks the girls by using the same dehumanizing names that the boys at school used towards Pecola. Pecola is vulnerable to Maureen and the boys’ degradation. She easily believes her and submits to her insignificance and ugliness. Conversely, Claudia appreciates that what is scarier is standards that make girls like Maureen appear more beautiful and worthwhile. Geraldine, a light-skinned woman encourages her son to play with white children only, reinforces the idea that Pecola’s blackness is deplorable. The cruelty through which Geraldine insults Pecola for what she herself possesses, blackness, demonstrates her own internalizing of whiteness as the standard of beauty.


These five varied analyses of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, was selected as they provide a panoramic perspective of the central theme of race, identity and acceptance in the text. What’s important to note is that the 1940’s struggle of the African American community in the context of white dominated society is still very real today. Significant strides have been made to engender acceptance and celebration of black beauty and all forms of beauty. More importantly, significant efforts to foster that recognition that brown and black are beautiful too. Despite this, more work must be done to truly see all as equal.

FAQ about The Bluest Eye

Beauty is Pain: What Society Sees versus What I See
...MARIANNE MODICA,“Resistance among Friends: The Bluest Eye.” Race among Friends: Exploring Race at a Suburban School, , Rutgers University Press, 2015, pp. 104–136. JSTOR, Accessed 22 Apr. 2020....

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