Many of you are beginning to understand how The Bluest Eye both offers counternarratives (petite histoires) to the primer excerpts (grand narrative) that preface each section of the novel, and shows the destructive power that such simplistic ideals of white beauty and prosperity can have on those whose families and homes do not match them. At the same time, the novel also hints at all of the familial and social problems that can be hidden within such an idealized nuclear family. You will have the chance to explore this topic further on the Postmodernism Exam and Essay, if you choose.
In reading The Bluest Eye, it’s important to note that Morrison was explicitly exploring complex social and economic issues within the black communities of a midwestern town–not simply opposing black and white realities, as if there were no class differences within each segment. For this week’s blog response, please keep that point in mind as you address both of these questions.
- Intraracism is racism within racial groups. How is it portrayed in The Bluest Eye? How does it relate to white middle class values and ideals of beauty? Cite and analyze evidence.
- How are sexuality and its repression, including the darker sides of it such as pedophilia, prostitution, molestation, and rape, represented in the novel? What do these different aspects of sexuality have to do with one another, if anything, in the narrator’s view? Avoid simply focusing on rape, and make logical connections in your analysis rather than making a list. Consider three characters from this list: Mr. Henry, Cholly, Geraldine, Mrs. Breedlove, Soaphead Church, Rosemary, Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda. Cite and analyze evidence.