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The Bluest Eye Analysis Essay, Research Paper

The Bluest Eye

In a film interview, Morrison has stated, “I suppose The Bluest Eye is about one’s dependency on the world for identification,self-value, feelings of worth.” Toni Morrison has been consistently insightful and helpful critic of her work. With regard to herfirst novel, she has indicated that her plan was to take love and the effects of its scarcity in the world as her major themes,concentrating on the interior lives of her characters, especially those of an enclosed community. Her stated aim is to show “how to survive whole in a world where we are all of us, in some measure, victims of something.” Morrison’s broad vision extends beyond the individual to one that explores self-discovery in relation to a “shared history.” In order to dramatize the destructive effects of this kind of dependency, she intentionally exaggerates to find the limits.

In The Bluest Eye, Claudia MacTeer provides a child’s point of view-sometimes from an adult perspective-while an omniscient voice relates information unknown by Claudia. There are also passages shifting between third person omniscient and first person stream of consciousness. Morrison uses these combined voices to give varied perspectives without resorting to authorial intrusion or preaching. She wants her readers to participate fully in her fiction, to go with her to examine the often painful circumstances of her characters’ lives.

Survival, a theme running throughout Morrison’s fiction, is difficult for the strongest of her characters. For eleven year old Pecola Breedlove, the focal character of The Bluest Eye, discovering a means to affirm her own identity is thwarted at every turn. Morrison’s first novel takes place in 1941, when Pecola, an innocent and convenient victim of her community’s frustration, anger, ignorance, and shame, becomes a woman. Raped by her father, she gives birth to a stillborn child and then escapes her sense of ugliness into madness, convinced that she has magically been given blue eyes.

The Bluest Eye illustrates the possible consequences of entirely depending on external conditions for self-image, for in attempting to satisfy a paradigm that differs so radically from reality, African-Americans may destroy their essential nature. And in denying their natural gifts (or, as Morrison calls it, their “funkiness”) in order to placate white expectations, African-Americans accelerate their self-destruction.


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