Summary and book reviews of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye

By Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2000,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2000,
    215 pages.

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Book Summary

The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment. Selected as Oprah Winfrey's April 2000 Book of the Month. Republished by Random House in April 2000

Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel. Rosemary Villanucci, our next-door friend who lives above her father's cafe, sits in a 1939 Buick eating bread and butter. She rolls down the window to tell my sister Frieda and me that we can't come in. We stare at her, wanting her bread, but more than that wanting to poke the arrogance out of her eyes and smash the pride of ownership that curls her chewing mouth. When she comes out of the car we will beat her up, make red marks on her white skin, and she will cry and ask us do we want her to pull her pants down. We will say no. We don't know what we should feel or do if she does, but whenever she asks us, we know she is offering us something precious and that our own pride must be asserted by refusing to accept.

School has started, and Frieda and I get new brown stockings and cod-liver oil. Grown-ups talk in tired, edgy voices about Zick's Coal Company and take us ...

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Reading Guides for The Bluest Eye and Paradise

Few writers have been as celebrated or influential as Toni Morrison. The recipient of the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and of awards from the National Book Critic Circle and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, she has also won the Pulitzer Prize, and was the first African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Cited by many as our greatest living writer, Morrison continues to produce works of highly-accessible fiction that are of literary and social significance. This accessibility is perhaps her greatest gift to her readers, for she presents hard truths and historical fact without didacticism or ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Newsweek

This story commands attention, for it contains one black girl's universe.

The New York Times - John Leonard

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is an inquiry into the reasons why beauty gets wasted in this country. The beauty in this case is black. [Miss Morrison's prose is] so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry...I have said 'poetry,' but The Bluest Eye is also history, sociology, folklore, nightmare and music.

The New Yorker - L.E. Sissman

A fresh, close look at the lives of terror and decorum of those Negroes who want to get on in a white man's world...A touching and disturbing picture of the doomed youth of [the author's] race.

Detroit Free Press - Gary Blonston

A profoundly successful work of fiction...so controlled, so good...with the same clean precision that Sherwood Anderson used to carve his troubled little town...Taut and understated, harsh in its detachment, sympathetic in its truth...it is an experience.

Reader Reviews
Cloggie Downunder

hard to relate to
The Bluest Eye is the first novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is set in 1941 in the small town of Lorain, Ohio, and tells the story of an 11-year-old Negro girl, Pecola Breedlove, who becomes pregnant to her father Cholly. Pecola‚Äôs family ...   Read More

Ditra Coleman

Other Peoples Feelings
I have read "The Bluest Eye" about 15 times since I first read it at 28 years of age..... I am now 49. It is hard to sum up such a heartfelt piece of literature. The story and meaning of this book goes far beyond the words on the pages. ...   Read More

Ditra

TOUCHED
I first read The Bluest Eye about 20 years ago. I have read it about 10 more times since. I grew up in the 60's and 70's along with three younger sisters and an older brother. This book touched home for me on soooo many levels. Though both of my ...   Read More

afroman

It was o.k
The bluest eye displays extremely well the toils and pitfalls of being black in 1940's America. Although slavery was abolished at this point, stigma was still in place for being black. The struggle that Pecola faces in the novel is one that can be ...   Read More

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