Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Publisher
Genres: African American Literature
Rating: 5 out 5 Crowns
“The Bluest Eye” was not in my book collection until I watched a documentary called “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I am” in the documentary, Ms. Morrison told the story of what inspired her to write “The Bluest Eye.” Listening to her tell the story about her eleven-year-old classmate telling her that God did not exist because she had been praying for blue eyes for two years and hadn’t received them. This story made me cry.
Hearing Toni Morrison share the inspiring story made me order the book and sit at least two hours a day reading. After reading the Bluest Eye, I sat, imagining myself hugging Pecola. The eleven year-old Black child that prayed for blue eyes. The elven year old Black girl unaware of her own Beauty cause no one in the black community told her that she was beautiful.
I would recommend “The Bluest Eye” to every Black Queen and King uprising. There are scenes of rape, incest, and Black trauma narrated throughout the book; these are situations and traumas that convey the life of Pecola.
The Bluest Eye is the first novel written by Toni Morrison in 1970. The story narrates the life of Pecola Breedlove, The Breedlove family, Frieda and Claudia MacTeer, and The Macteer family through seasons and the anticipation of the Marigolds. Pecola, who is eleven- years-old, questions how to be loved. Pecola believes that the only way to be loved and accepted is to have blue eyes. The “ugly” that Pecola thought that she was is supported by the narration of the black characters in the book. Pecola faces abuse and internal racism from her mother, father, and others within her community.
“How do you do that? I mean, how do you get somebody to love you?’ (Pecola asked) But Frieda was asleep. And I didn’t know.The Bluest Eye-Toni Morrison.
Morrison also introduces us to two sisters Frieda and Claudia Macteer. The two sisters befriend Pecola when their parents allow Pecola to stay with them during the Autumn season. Morrison starts the book with the ending—leaving the reader to wonder why Frieda and Claudia are searching for why the marigolds did not sprout where they planted them and why they felt guilty about it.
…But the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved.Tweet
“The Bluest Eye” -Toni Morrison-
I did a lot of reflection while reading “The Bluest Eyes” I first thought about the eleven-year-old me who wondered why she did not have dark blue eyes like her dad. Secondly, I thought about when I was teased about my full-figure lips, my big eyes by other Black kids in elementary and middle school—the times when I believed that I was “ugly” by the standards of my race.
Morrison’s published work made me sit with the eleven-year-old me and tell her that she is beautiful, and the natural features that she was once teased about having are now “features” that people are paying money to have.
“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do”.-Toni Morrison-
Morrison shares more detail about her eleven-year-old school friend wanting blue eyes in the afterword. She states, ” The Bluest Eye” was my effort to say something about that; about why she had not, nor possibly ever would have, the experience of what possessed and also why she prayed for so radical alteration. Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing” (Morrison, 210). I was left with the same thought whose standards of Beauty are we as Black people comparing ourselves to?.
The narrative of Black Beauty and Black Perfection is constantly being measured by imaginative standards created in our community. We have to show and be an example to young Black girls and young Black boys that our differences make us unique and perfect within our own culture, community, and village. This starts with planting a seed of self-love that will bloom into loving each Black Queen and King for who they are.
Morrison, T. (2020). The bluest eye. Alfred A. Knopf.
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