"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

Set in Ohio in the 1940s, The Bluest Eye examines the tragic life of Pecola Breedlove.  She is only eleven or twelve years old, but she knows with certainty that she is ugly, lonely and unwanted.  All she wants are the bluest eyes imaginable – blue eyes like the little white girls that everyone thinks are so pretty – and that will change her life for the better.

This has to be one of the saddest, painful, and maddening books I have ever read.  Morrison attacks this girl’s life through several different narrators, all proving why this little girl never had a chance for actual happiness.  Even her last name is ironic, as there is no trace of love bred anywhere near her family.  But for her to find internal happiness and madness at the same time by believing she has gotten what she asked for is just heartbreaking.

Morrison’s use of language is incredible though.  Her lyrical descriptions are like poetry hidden in prose.  I also enjoyed the way dialects were written out in dialog….  very clever and truthful.  The change between narrators was a bit disarming though, and held be back from falling into the book itself.  It took some getting used to, but it added to brutal life story that was being told.

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Penguin, 1970
216 pages


5 thoughts on “"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

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  1. This might be my favorite Morrison book, along with Song of Solomon. It's amazing that this was her first novel. A difficult but well worth it read.


  2. In graduate school I took a class in which we read all of Toni Morrison up to that point. Her writing (the themes and details) are very difficult, complicated and multi-faceted but very much worth the read.


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