The Bluest Eye
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. The Bluest Eye uses multiple narrators, including Claudia as a child, Claudia as an adult, and an omniscient narrator. Which narrative point of view do you think is most central to the novel and why?
2. Who do you think is the most sympathetic character in the novel and why?
3. The Bluest Eye is a novel about racism, and yet there are relatively few instances of the direct oppression of black people by white people in the book. Explain how racism functions in the story.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How does nature function in the novel? Do you consider it a benevolent presence against which the events of the novel are contrasted, or a potentially malevolent force? Is Morrison’s use of natural imagery hopeful or ironic?
2. Which is a greater threat to the children in The Bluest Eye: racism or sexism?
3. At the end of the novel, Claudia questions her own right or ability to tell the truth about Pecola’s experience. How seriously are we to take her questioning? Is she a reliable narrator?
4. To what extent is Cholly to blame for his violence against his family? Which other people or circumstances may also be to blame? What is the novel’s position on blame?
5. The novel includes a number of secondary story lines, such as Geraldine’s and Soaphead Church’s histories, with the main story line of the Breedlove family. Select one of these secondary stories and explain how it relates to or comments upon the main story line.
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