Univerzita Hradec Králové
Katedra anglického jazyka a literatury
The Bluest Eye
Autor: Zuzana Lišková
Studijní program: Učitelství pro 2. stupeň ZŠ
Studijní obor: anglický jazyk - český jazyk
Hradec Králové 2010
First novel of Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, tells a story of a tragedy of the black girl Pecola, who is abused and raped by her own father. It is not only the story about the girl herself, but also about American society during the Great Depression (beginning of the 1940’). It shows, among many other things, the superficial conviction of the American society which has had one ...view middle of the document...
Nevertheless she could have encountered such problems, for example racism, raping, child’s abuse which could inspire her.
The title of the novel is therefore very clear. Blue eyes are something that Pecola thinks is considered beautiful. This feeling of her is only encouraged by blond haired dolls with blue eyes every girl wants to get. This is probably taken from The Doll Test which was executed in 1940’ and ‘50s by the husband and wife team Kenneth and Mamie Clark. They conducted a series of psychological experiments examining young black children’s relationship to race. They gave very young children otherwise identical black and white dolls and asked them to say which one they liked better. And overwhelming majority of the black children identified the white doll positively and the black doll negatively. This test shown the psychological damage done to black children by school segregation.
Because Pecola does not poses either of these qualities, meaning blue eyes and blond hair, she considers herself ugly. Her parents constantly fight with each other and the little girl thinks she is the reason of these fights. She thinks her ugliness is the fuel that keeps them going. Therefore she wishes to have blue eyes of Shirley Temple, who she admires the most. These blue eyes would make her pretty, so pretty her parents would stop fighting, her brother Sammy would stop running away and people would finally notice her. She thinks people would stop doing bad things in front of her pretty eyes.
“And people would have to be nice and the teacher would see me, they would really look at me in my eyes and say, look at pretty-eyed Pecola.”
The story is not narrated by Pecola herself as it could be expected. It is narrated by her friend Claudia McTeer instead. According to Bryan D. Brown this narrative approach is used intentionally. He argues, that Morrison wanted to keep Pecola from any first person narration in order to show her as a total and complete victim of actions that was taken around her. She uses Claudia out of a very fair reason – she is happy and satisfied with herself which she demonstrates in her actions, e.g. when she breaks the white doll she was given, and through her point of view she can show how other person in the story, especially the small heroine unreasonably idealize the ideal of beauty..
The story is divided into four parts which are not named as chapters or simply numbered. Every part is named after one of the season of the year – spring, summer, autumn and winter. This I found interesting and it could be understood as something more than just a simple title of a chapter. Year’s season are something that repeats regularly every year for centuries. It suggests that they were here before and they will be here again next year. Hence if applied to the story itself and its material we can say that the children’s abuse and violation of human rights are problem that will occur again and what happened to Pecola will eventually...