the world of children in toni morrison's the bluest eye

Topics: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Love Pages: 44 (8147 words) Published: February 14, 2014

The American novel is fascinating from its beginning in the eighteenth

century to the present day. The novel in America might be said to have come

of age in the early 1850’s with the great works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and

Herman Melville. In the explosion of realistic novels following the Civil War,

writers such as Mark Twain, William Jean Howells, and Henry James tried to

capture the psychological conflicts, manners and even speech of characters

from various parts of the country. From 1925 to 1955 some of America’s

greatest novelists like Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, John Steinbeck

and Ralph Ellison flourished, producing a host of novels exploring

materialism, racism, family, the Depression and the other subjects. Virtually

all of the most famous writers working in the United States like

Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, John Updike, Tom Wolfe,

Norman Mailer, Stephen King, John Grisham and others are known primarily

for their novels.

Toni Morrison, the American recipient of the Nobel Prize for

Literature in 1993, writing in a distinctive lyrical prose style, published her

controversial debut novel, The Bluest Eye, to widespread critical acclaim in

1970. Coming on the heels of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, the

novel, widely studied in American schools, includes the conventions of

beauty established by a historical racist society, painting the portrait of a

self-immolating black family in search of beauty in whiteness. Since then

Morrison has experimented with lyric fantasy, as in her two best-known later

works, Song of Solomon (1977), and Beloved (1987) for which she was

awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction; along those lines, critic Harold Bloom

has drawn favourable comparison with Virginia Woolf, and the Nobel

Committee to Faulkner and to the Latin American tradition (of Magical

Realism). Beloved was chosen in a 2006 survey conducted by the New York

Times as the most important work of fiction of the last 25 years.

Toni Morrison was born to George Anthony Wofford in London, Ohio

in 1931. Her father, George Wofford was a shipyard welder and her mother,

Ramah Wills Wofford, raised her family. Her family’s move from the South to

the North is much like the Breedloves in The Bluest Eye. Her mother’s family

moved from Georgia. Ramah and George had four children and Toni

Morrison was the second child. Morrison’s family was rich in folkloric

knowledge and musical acumen. Her mother sang in the church choir and her

grandfather was a professional violinist. Morrison grew up hearing folktales

from the adults and the Black community, tales of Slave times, Emancipation,

tales dealing with the racism of the White majority, and tales of the


Beloved, the book many consider to be Morrison’s masterpiece was

published in 1987. Beloved tells the story of an emancipated slave woman

named Seth who is haunted by the ghost of the daughter she killed. The novel

is an ambitious attempt to grapple with slavery and the tenacity of its legacy.

Beloved could be called a foundation story (like Genesis or Exodus) for

Black America. She is the first African American female writer to hold a Chair

at a University in the Ivy League.

“Sula” published in 1973, is a novel about a defiant woman and the

Relationship among Black females. Song of Solomon (1977) deals fully with Black male characters. The novel enjoyed both commercial and critical


The Bluest Eye is the novel that illustrates how racism which exists

within the African American Community has an oppressing effect on the Black

Community. Racism, oppression and marginalisation have corroded the


Cited: Publishing Company, 2007. Print.
Hurlock, E.B. Developmental Psychology: a life span approach.
New Delhi: Tata Mcgraw Hill, 2008
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