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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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
A little confusing at times, but over all not a horrible book.Published 8 months ago by Linda Carter
A tough read to be sure, but an amazing one. As moving and as poignant as Morrison's other highly acclaimed works The Bluest Eye is a must read for anyone interested in the topics... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jasmin
I am so glad I read this book again. It is really easy to understand why it was and is such a phenomenal work. Read morePublished on July 23 2012 by nomadmama
This is a brutal, sad story. On the surface it is the story of being black and poor in the forties. It is also a story of rape, incest, racism, and self-loathing. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2008 by Nicola Mansfield
I will give you the basic premise of the book:
I have saved you however long it may have taken you to read that. Read more
This story is about a young African-American girl, Pecola Breedlove, who has a very hard childhood. She is an outcast in school, her parents don't care for her, and she is all... Read morePublished on March 11 2005 by BethDeHart