The Bluest Eye: Is the Plot of the Bluest Eye Real?


Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The book is set in Lorain, Ohio (Morrison’s hometown) and tells the story of Pecola, a young African-American girl who grew up during the Great Depression.

The story, set in 1941, is about how she is constantly regarded as “ugly” because of her mannerisms and dark skin. As a result, she develops an inferiority complex, fueling her desire for blue eyes, which she associates with “whiteness.”

Claudia MacTeer’s viewpoint dominates the novel. She is the foster daughter of Pecola at various points in her life. In addition, there is an omniscient third-person narrative with inset first-person narratives. The novel’s contentious themes of racism, incest, and child molestation have prompted numerous attempts to ban it from US schools and libraries.

The Bluest Eye: Plot Summary

Pecola Breedlove, a temporary foster kid whose father burned her home on fire, resides in Lorain, Ohio, with her parents, a renter named Mr. Henry, Claudia MacTeer, 9, and Frieda, 10. They’re also kids.

Pecola’s parents verbally and physically quarrel often, and she has little money. Pecola’s neighbors and classmates call her “ugly” regularly. Pecola wants blue eyes to look prettier. Most chapter titles come from the prologue’s Dick and Jane line, which describes a white family similar to Pecola’s.

The Bluest Eye

Through flashbacks, the book addresses Cholly and Pauline Pecola’s struggles as African Americans in a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant neighborhood. Pauline helps a wealthy white family. The chapter names lack interword separations, omit words, and repeat quickly.

Cholly rapes Pecola while doing the dishes in the novel’s present. His intentions are murky, a mix of love and hate. After a second rape, he flees, leaving her pregnant.

Only Claudia and Frieda are optimistic that Pecola’s child will live. They plant marigold seeds instead of buying a bike because they believe the flowers will save Pecola’s baby. Pecola’s premature baby dies, and marigolds never bloom.

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Pecola’s vivid imagination shows her mixed feelings about her father’s rape. Pecola thinks her blue eyes, not the news of her rape or her unusual behavior, is to blame for everyone’s changed behavior.

Claudia narrates again. She describes Pecola’s recent insanity and speculates that Cholly, who has since died, raped her. Claudia believes the town, including herself, has used Pecola as a scapegoat to make everyone feel good about themselves.

The Bluest Eye: Intentions of the Author

Morrison stated in an interview about her motivations for writing The Bluest Eye that she wanted to remind readers “how hurtful racism is” and that people are “apologetic about the fact that their skin [is] so dark.”

She reflected on her childhood, saying, “When I was a kid, we called each other names, but we didn’t think it was serious, that you could take it in.” Morrison elaborated on this point of self-esteem by saying that she “I wanted to speak up for those who didn’t notice [they were beautiful] right away.

She was deeply concerned about her ugliness feelings.” This concept of “ugliness” is conveyed through various characters throughout The Bluest Eye. For example, Pecola, the main character, wishes for blue eyes to escape the oppression caused by her dark skin.

The Bluest Eye

Morrison uses Pecola’s characterization to demonstrate the damaging impact racism can have on one’s self-esteem and worth. In her interview, she stated that she “wanted people to understand what it was like to be treated that way.”

“I felt compelled to write this mostly because in the 1960s, black male authors published powerful, aggressive, revolutionary fiction or nonfiction, and they had positive, racially uplifting rhetoric with them, and I thought they would skip over something and thought no one would remember that it wasn’t always beautiful,” Morrison said.

Is the Plot of the Bluest Eye Real?

The story was based on a conversation with a childhood friend who desired blue eyes. The aspiring author wondered how her young friend had internalized society’s racist beauty standards. “Racial self-loathing was implicit in her desire,” Morrison observed.

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Morrison’s short story had become a novel by 1965, and she expanded it into an extensive study of socially constructed beauty ideals between 1965 and 1969. (and ugliness). Morrison emphasized the demonization of Blackness in American culture in The Bluest Eye, focusing on the effects of internalized racism.

She demonstrated how even the most subtle forms of racism, particularly racism from within the Black community, can hurt self-worth and self-esteem through Geraldine, Polly, Pecola, and other characters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Age Are the Characters in the Bluest Eye?

The novel’s protagonist is an eleven-year-old black girl who believes she is ugly and that having blue eyes will make her beautiful. She is sensitive and delicate, and she suffers passively from the abuse of her mother, father, and classmates.

What Happens to the Baby of Pecola?

Pecola walks down the street, jerking her arms as if she were trying to fly. Claudia and Frieda feel like failures because their flowers never bloom, and Pecola’s baby is stillborn prematurely. Cholly passes away in a workhouse, and Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove relocate to a house on the outskirts of town.

Pecola’s Child’s Father?

Claudia recalls some of her summer memories, including strawberries, unexpected thunderstorms, and gossip about her friend Pecola. Claudia and Frieda learn from fiction that Pecola is pregnant and that the baby’s father is Pecola’s.

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