Showing posts with label African American Literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African American Literature. Show all posts

Monday, July 24, 2023

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Reading banned books that stir controversy is a new passion of mine. In my readings so far books that are banned have stirred the most growth, and are often difficult to read. It is my firm opinion that having difficulty reading something shouldn't deter us from reading them. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is no exception.

Description from Goodreads:

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves' garden do not bloom. Pecola's life does change—in painful, devastating ways.

What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child's yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Toni Morrisons's most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.


This moving, well written book will sit with me for a long time. According to Marshall University this book was banned due to child sexual assault. In its history according to Marshall University it has been challenged/banned across the United States fourteen times. The sexual assault was difficult to read, but it was an important part of the book that I applaud Toni Morrison for not leaving out. It's only a piece of the entire picture she was showing us.

This book gives us a raw glimpse of what like was like for black Americans in the early 1940's.This story drifts and connects each character brilliantly. We see the girls grapple with feelings of envy, shame and anger often at the same time as they navigate a world where the beauty standard is blonde and blue eyed, not black. Where it's straightened hair, not coyly. Where it's light skin, not dark. It goes beyond looks though, and delves into how these young girls' lives were so different from their white peers. 

Ya'll....this isn't supposed to be an enjoyable read. 

Pecola Breedlove's story is deep, and Toni Morrison gives us the a clear outline of how she is a victim of generational trauma. One that her parents also suffered, and the root of all of it is white supremacy and racism.

This book belongs in schools, even with it's the child sexual abuse..the message is just as important today as it was when it was originally written in 1970. Our students need to be taught history from a human perspective, with empathy and from black voices.

This story will benefit any reader because it will: 

  • Offer a raw personal glimpse of history for black Americans
  • Deepen knowledge of American History
  • Expose readers to themes of racism, and bigotry from the perspective of black voices.

For more resources for those who wish to continue an anti-racist journey:

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was published in 1970, and is available on Amazon and Bookshop and should be available in every public library in the United States, and if it isn't make some noise about it, and/or donate a copy. 

If you appreciated this post instead of buying me a coffee please head over to NAACP and make a donation.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library. All opinions about this book are my own. Resources for further education are provided and there are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!