aysThe Clear Message of The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye fits into our study of the American novel because it tells the story of a group of Americans, men and women and children who are descendants of slaves, and live in a society where, even though many people deny it, the color of your skin determines who you are and what privileges you are entitled to. I think that Morrison does a wonderful job of telling a story that is real, that makes the reader feel something, and that makes the reader relate, regardless of your skin color.

I cannot say that I can relate to what it must have felt like for Pecola to be called a “a nasty little black bitch” and accused of killing a cat when she did nothing. But, I can say that I know what it is like to feel ugly and scared. Pecola is an extreme example of a person who is treated horribly by everyone she encounters, whether it is because she is black or ugly or both. Her mother ignores her, her father rapes her, her friends betray her, little boys and girls and adults call her names, and even a cat and a dog are killed in her presence. All of these things are experienced by people all of the time, however, it might not be as extreme or it might just be one or two of the things. Something that seems as trivial as name calling is something that happens to all Americans.

Morrison takes American experiences and characteristics, such as violence, growing up, love, family, hatred, race, beauty and ugliness, and illustrates them in a way that is so clear, yet so painful. These American experiences are not covered up or toned down to seem less serious; they are real and they are heart-breaking. Every one of Morrison’s characters can be related to in one way or another because they are Americans and they are human. I think that Morrison sums up how The Bluest Eye impacted me in the following quote: “So it was with confidence, strengthened by pity and pride, that we decided to change the course of events and alter a human life” (191). That is what Morrison did to me as I read this novel. Through her writing I was changed, and this, I believe, was Morrison’s purpose. “Being a writer she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agency as an act with consequences” (2 Nobel Lecture).