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The Bluest Eye annotations

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by

Hannah Sentgerath

on 3 September 2012

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Transcript of The Bluest Eye annotations

"There were no memories among those pieces. Certainly no memories to be cherished. Occasionally an item provoked a physical reaction: an increase of acid irritation in the upper intestinal tract, a light flush of perspiration at the back of the neck as circumstances surrounding the piece of furniture were recalled. The sofa, for example. It had been purchased new, but the fabric had split straight across the back by the time it was delivered. The store would not take the responsibility...
"Looka here, buddy. It was O.K. when i put it on the truck. The store can't do anything about it once it's on the truck...." Listerine and Lucky Strike breath.
"But i don't want no tore couch if'n it's bought new." Pleading eyes and tightened testicles.
"Tough shit, buddy. Your tough shit...."
You could hate a sofa, of course-that is, if you could hate a sofa. But it didn't matter. You still had to get together $4.80 a month. If you had to pay $4.80 a month for a sofa that started off split, no good, and humiliating-you couldn't take any joy in owning it. And the joylessness stank, pervading everything. The stink of it kept you from painting the beaverboard walls; from getting a matching piece of material for the chair; even from sewing up the split, which became a gash, which became a gaping chasm that exposed the cheap frame and cheap upholstery. It withheld the refreshment in a sleep slept on it. It imposed a furtiveness on the loving done on it. Like a sore tooth that is not content to throb in isolation, but must diffuse its own pain to other parts of the body-making breathing difficult, vision limited, nerves unsettled, so a hated piece of furniture produces a fretful malaise that asserts itself throughout the house and limits the delight of things not related to it." The allegory in this passage is clearly seen when describing the couch. The tear symbolizes a small problem, and when it was not immediately handled, it became bigger to the point it ruined the entire couch. This relates to life, you cannot let a small upset in life affect you to the point where you are overwhelmed. After the shift in tone, the authors word choice and attitude become more and more negative towards the couch as it is explained. Explaining how the "gaping chasm" exposed the "cheap frame and cheap upholstery depicts a deeper meaning to the falling apart of the couch. Just as when we have a problem, and we let it go on to long and out of hand, we find that we start to notice even more issues. If the man had merely sewn up the couch, he wouldn't have revealed to himself more negative aspects of the couch. The author builds you up to believe that the "item" causing these physical reactions will be high in meaning. The author purposely leads you on in the very beginning of the passage. She enjoys making the reader expect a certain outcome, then being able to surprise them with her own twist. To us, a torn couch would not create such a reaction. Tone shifts from an attitude of self pity to being apathetic.As soon as the man who bought the couch starts begging the man who dropped it off for help, the other man immediately becomes aggressive and rude. It's as if the desperation makes the shipment guy feel uncomfortable to the point he's apathetic. Blame is given to the couch for the reason of not finishing other things around the house. When technically, the only thing that holds up back from doing what we need and should do is ourselves. Instead, the couch is talked about "withholding" the man from doing the other tasks. Morrison's negative connotation (highlighted in blue) is connected to the tearing of the couch. The more the couch tears, the worse the mans feelings and life around him get. This word choice draws you into the feelings and consequences of the buyer that came with the torn couch. Anaphora is used with the word "from" to exemplify the list of what the couch has limited. It switches to "which" as to explain how the previous limitation of the couch have now effected the physical being of the furniture. In society we can all relate to the act of someone imposing, we know the feeling that comes with it. That is why Morrison uses personification here, to help the reader identify with the man's feelings, even though the feelings are toward a piece of furniture. The Bluest Eye pg. 36-37 When re-reading this passage i realized there was double meaning. The first obvious meaning being the symbolism of the couch and how it connected to the rules of life. Letting one minor upset consume you and then dictate the rest of your actions is no way to live, thus demonstrated by the couch and its small tear that became a chasm.

The second, more underlying meaning, being that we should not judge others on what mean the most to them, the small things sometimes upset or mean the most. In the very end of the passage it is clearly stated: "so a hated piece of furniture produces a fretful malaise that asserts itself throughout the house and limits the delight of things not related to it". Morrison wants us to be able to empathize with the no-name character, even if we personally do not have a connection to a torn couch, we have all had a time where something seemingly important to us was ruined and limited our delights as well. Morrison is explaining in her own way that
different things, no matter of how much significance
they mean to us, or don't mean to us, may be important to another, and affect them in ways we cannot fathom. One may have never expected the effects of a couch on ones nerves, vision, or ability to not enjoy things they once had.
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