The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title  ·  The Bluest Eye

author  · Toni Morrison

type of work · Novel

genre  · Coming-of-age, tragedy, elegy

language  · English

time and place written  · New York, 19621965

date of first publication  ·  1970

publisher  · Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. The novel went out of print in 1974 but was later rereleased.

narrator  · There are two narrators: Claudia MacTeer, who narrates in a mixture of a child’s and an adult’s perspective; and an omniscient narrator.

point of view  · Claudia’s and Pecola’s points of view are dominant, but we also see things from Cholly’s, Pauline’s, and other characters’ points of view. Point of view is deliberately fragmented to give a sense of the characters’ experiences of dislocation and to help us sympathize with multiple characters.

tone  · Lyrical, elegiac, embittered, matter-of-fact, colloquial

tense  · Past, as seen by the adult Claudia

setting (time)  ·  19401941

setting (place)  · Lorain, Ohio

protagonist  · Pecola Breedlove

major conflict  · Pecola needs to receive love from somebody, but her parents and the other members of her community are unable to love her because they have been damaged and thwarted in their own lives.

rising action  · Cholly tries to burn down the family house; Pecola is snubbed by a grocer, tormented by boys, and blamed for killing a cat.

climax  · Pecola’s father rapes her.

falling action  · Pecola is beaten by her mother, requests blue eyes from Soaphead Church, begins to go mad, and loses her baby.

themes  · Whiteness as the standard of beauty; seeing versus being seen; the power of stories; sexual initiation and abuse; satisfying appetites versus repressing them

motifs  · The Dick-and-Jane narrative; the seasons and nature; whiteness and color; eyes and vision; dirtiness and cleanliness

symbols  · The house; bluest eyes; the marigolds

foreshadowing  · The prologue foreshadows the major events of the plot.

More Help

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Character of Picola Breedlove in The Bluest Eye.

by touhidsm, May 11, 2014

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Answer: The Bluest Eye, written by Toni Morrison is a very noteworthy work in English Literature. However, a tragic character is a creative art suffers from a tragic flaw. In a modern tragedy the tragic protagonist may suffer from the reason he or she is not responsible. In “The Bluest Eye”, Tony Morrison presents a more complicated portrayal of racism of an African American girl called Pecola B... Read more


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Discuss about the Themes and Symbols of The Bluest Eye.

by touhidsm, May 12, 2014

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Answer: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is definitely a masterpiece in English Literature. Here in this writing, Toni Morrison has included some of important themes and symbols which make the writing more prominent. In Toni Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye, theme, symbols and characterization contribute to the formation of the novel. The novel further shows the way white beauty can easily be degradi... Read more


3 out of 3 people found this helpful

The Bluest Eye is the quest for individual identity and perception of beauty – elucidate.

by touhidsm, May 21, 2014

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Answer: The Bluest eye is one of the finest pieces of English literature. This masterpiece is written by Toni Morrison. Here in this novel The Breedlove family has shown the individual identity and perception of beauty perfectly. The Breedlove family is a group of people under the same roof, a family by name only. Cholly the head person of the family is always drunk and an abusive man. His abusive i