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The Bluest Eye

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Zhari Hammonds

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of The Bluest Eye

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-facts.html
Toni Morrison
Author's Biography
Plot
In the story, the perspective is taken from two young girls, Pecola Breedlove and Claudia Breedlove. Pecola faced with insecurity about the color of her skin and ultimately the color of her eyes. She seeks her identity through the image of having the features of a white girl. Having being raised by a mother and father with similar insecurities, Pecola does not feel right in her own skin. She suffers through the unfair treatment of her self-hating mother, and being raped by her own father who is lost himself. Claudia MacTeer is simply the girl watching her world unfold on the outside looking in. She follows, with hate, the lives of her peers who are rejecting the black and embracing the white. The closeness she shares with her sister Frida allows Claudia to understand the becoming of age as a teenage girl, and the unfairness of the life of an African-American girl and her longing for acceptance in society.
Characters
Pecola Breedlove:
Pecola suffers an unfair childhood. Already feeling some discouraged by her "ugliness" the other children describe her appearance as, she unfortunately is led into even more unfortunate events. Being the child of domestically violent parents, and becoming crazed over the desire for blue eyes, Pecola does not seem to have a sudden positive turn around in the story. Pecola Breedlove is a Flat Character.
Pauline Breedlove:
Pauline is a mother who triggers self hate into her own family, with her preferences of rather taking care of a white family rather than her own. Pauline possessing her own major flaws, does not do anything to help Pecola deal with "hers". She completely ignores her daughters insecurities, and causes more of a pitiful lack of sympathy in her child. Pauline continues throughout the story as unchanging,but becoming more hardened towards her daughter. Pauline can also be thought of as round.
Claudia MacTeer:
Claudia is the eyes of the community. Claudia portrays the opposing side of Black Hate that Pecola unfortunately does not see. Claudia chooses to fight against other's hatred of their community rather than fall victim to it. She experiences eye opening opinion as she grows up stable enough to understand her own self and the others in her community. Claudia's character is Round.
Cholly Breedlove:
Cholly Breedlove is a disturbed man, who has fallen into states of depression, due to being unwanted. Cholly drinks away his sorrows and beats his frustrations into his family. Having fantasies about the past, that lead to him twice raping his daughter Pecola, Cholly has frustrations that do not seem to ever get resolved. Cholly takes advantage of his liberty as a black man. Cholly Breedlove's character is Flat as well.

Setting
The setting of the novel "The Bluest Eye" takes place in a community in Lorain, Ohio in the 1940's. Flipping back in forth between different characters perspective the story takes us mostly throughout the lives of an African-American community. Many of the characters holding feelings of shame, insecurity, and depression about their "blackness" the novel holds a very gloomy and sad atmosphere. The reader can somewhat gain a sense of pity and sympathy for the characters in the novel such as: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove, and event the curious natures of both Claudia and Frida MacTeer.
Student Name: Zhari Hammonds
Instructor's Name: Dr. K. Armstrong
14 April 2014
By: Toni Morrison
May 2007
The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio to a working class family. As an adolescent, Toni gained a strong interest in Literature,and grew to pursue the subject further in college. Morrison was big on Humanity and the studies of African Americans. She studied at schools such as, Howard and Cornell University. Also, worked on her academics at Texas Southern, Howard, and Yale in the year of 1989. Morrison's motivation for her writing was greatly influenced by her family, and her experiences in school. Starting at a very young age as the only black child in her class, Morrison dodged many potential controversies. Toni Morrison is the winner of major prizes such as The Nobel Prize as well as the Pulitzer.
Theme:
The discouragement of those around child, whom suffer from their own insecurities can cause a digression in the strength of ones community as a whole.
Literary Element:
Word Study
Dismembering

p. 22
"But the dismembering of dolls was not the true horror."
The taking apart of...
To divide into parts; cut into pieces; mutilate
The dismembering of a vampire is the only way to assure it not coming back to life.
Self-Hatred
p. 65
"They seemed to have taken all of their smoothly cultivated ignorance, their exquisitely learned self hatred, their elaborately designed hopelessness and sucked it all up into a fiery cone of scorn that had burned for ages in the hollows of their minds--cooled--and spilled over lips of outrage, consuming whatever was in its path."
Negative perception of one's self
Feeling of one who hates themselves
Black people sometimes show a form of self-hatred towards themselves when picking on one another for the shade of their skin.
Ignorance

p.22
"They seemed to have taken all of their smoothly cultivated ignorance, their exquisitely learned self hatred, their elaborately designed hopelessness and sucked it all up into a fiery cone of scorn that had burned for ages in the hollows of their minds--cooled--and spilled over lips of outrage, consuming whatever was in its path."
Not knowing...
Lack of knowledge or information
The group of kids acted rude out of ignorance when they saw Patricia crying about her stuffed animal.
Vanity

p.74
"Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then."
Having self conceit...
Obsessive pride in own's appearance, abilities and achievements.
Lady Gaga is always singing about how beautiful she is, she possesses strong vanity about herself.
Word Study Con't...
Guileless
p.75
"Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves."
Unconsciously
Sincere; honest; frank
We guilelessly told Anna the truth about her audition performance.
Surreptitiously
p. 85
"He must enter her surreptitiously, lifting the hem of her nightgown only to her navel."
Sneakily
Secret or unauthorized
Jerry surreptitiously put the rat poison into Carol's food.
Wailing

p. 99
"I found her upstairs lying on our bed, crying the tired, whimpering cry that follows the first wailings--mostly gasps and shudderings."
Screams and cries
Mournful sounds
The wailing of the widow were sad and slow.
Engrossed
Reminiscences
p. 149
"All were engrossed in early-night reminiscences about dreams, figures, and premonitions."
Busy with, distracted by
Occupy completely, as the mind or attention; absorb
We were to engrossed in what Lupita Nyoung was saying to worry about what she was wearing.
p.149
"All were engrossed in early-night reminiscences about dreams, figures, and premonitions."
Remembers old times; reflects
The act or process of recalling past experiences
We reminisced on how things used to be when we were younger.

p. 148
"They slid about furtively searching for shelter, while his body remained paralyzed."
Alert
Sly; surreptitiously; shifty
We went furtively into my mother's room for our cellphones.
Furtively
Level 3 Questions
In this novel, I learned that it is important to admire my black role models and stand up for my fellow black peers. In the novel, I admired the way Claudia stood up for her own race, and questioned why were given dolls that do not look like us to call beautiful. "What made people look at them and say, 'Awwwww,' but not for me?....It was a small step to Shirley Temple. I learned much later to worship her, just as I learned to delight in cleanliness, knowing, even as I learned, that they change was adjustment without improvement." (23). Claudia was not happy with the way society set her up to admire white little girls, rather than black. She comments further on that by backing up her black models and actresses. "We passed the Dreamland Theater, and Betty Grable smiled down at us. 'Don't you just love her?' Maureen asked ... I differed. 'Heddy Lamar is better.'" (69). I think Claudia makes herself an individual by standing behind her race.
Level 3 Questions
In the novel, The Bluest Eye, Morrison does add clever inclusions of humor, symbolism, and irony. The main character that exemplifies the most humor would be Claudia Macteer, and her curious nature that the reader may find dry but humorous. "'I don't want to be ruined!...You know. Like the Maginot Line. She's ruined. Mama said so.' The tears came back. 'But, Frieda, you could exercise and not eat.'" (101) Claudia comments on Frieda's worry about losing her virginity, but making fun of The Maginot Line's weight. By Claudia's innocence the reader can see where the humor comes along. P
Pecola Breedlove's yearning for 'blue eyes' can be thought of as a form of symbolism, because at that time it was thought of as beauty. While having her delusional conversation with her self, her former self asks, "Ha. What would I look like with blue eyes?" and the blue eyed Pecola responds with, "Nothing much." (194) that replies shows her new confidence with her new found beauty in her eyes. By possessing her blue eyes she considers herself higher in class and beauty.
Irony can be found in the passage of the story involving a conversation with Maureen about Pecola's name. It was a realistic, ironic observation when Maureen notices Pecola's name is the same as the character off of The Imitation of Life,
where the main character is also experiencing self hate. "The picture show, you know. Where this mulatto girl hates her mother cause she is black and ugly but then cries at the funeral. It was real sad. Everybody cries in it. Claudette Colbert too." (67). It particullary interesting that Pecola shares a name with a girl that also hates the fact she comes from some black and "ugly".
The rhetorical technique(s) that Toni Morrison uses in this novel are flashback and flashforward. Morrison alters the character perception and person, by switching back and forth between the first person opinion/perception of Claudia, and the third person perception the reader gets when the story is directed toward Pecola. This helps see the defensive attitude of Claudia, while also a look at the attitude other characters have about Pecola, as well as other characters such as Pauline and Cholly.
Word Study Con't
Synthetic
p. 190
"No synthetic yellow bangs suspended over marble-blue eyes, no pinched nose and bowline mouth."
Fake, no real, artificial
Not real or genuine
Dr. Armstrong prefers human hair, rather than synthetic hair for her braids.
Harridans
p. 54
"Three merry harridans."
Old women
Scolding vicious woman; hag; scold; shrew
The English teachers in college are known to be real harridans.
Level 3 Questions
In the scene, in The Bluest Eye, where Pecola is being bullied, the boys are using the term "Black e mo" to describe her. This form of slang is used to offend her, sort of in comparison to, "blacky", "darky", or even "nigger". Due to this unfortunate phrase, the result is the taking up for Pecola, through Frida's rage!
Gaily
p. 114
"Heady with the smell of their own musk, thrilled by the easy power of majority, they gaily harassed her."
Happily
Merrily, joyfully, cheerfully
We gaily congratulated the football team.
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