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How does moving The Bluest Eye through the seasons in sections help develop the novel's...

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pashti | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 17, 2013 at 1:58 AM via web

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How does moving The Bluest Eye through the seasons in sections help develop the novel's themes?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2013 at 6:41 AM (Answer #1)

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It is interesting that Morrison chooses to divide her novel into the four seasons, because, upon examination, it is clear that she does this more to defy expectation than to meet it. Consider what happens in each section: spring, which is normally associated with things that are dead coming to life, only serves to cause Claudia to think of being beaten with switches. It is also when Pecola is raped. Seasons then can be argued to underline the profound wrongness of how the characters both view themselves and are treated in this novel. The reference to the seasons are used by Morrison therefore to create expectations in the minds of her readers that she then refuses to meet, deliberately highlighting the profound misery of her characters in this world that she introduces us to. In some senses, Morrison could be argued to actually go further in the way that she suggests nature itself is opposed to her characters. Note the following quote from Claudia in the Prologue:

It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola's father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair

The reference to the "earth" being "unyielding" suggests that nature is more of a sentient being fixedly opposed to the characters in this novel, and that whatever response the characters have to nature, whether it is based around "innocence and faith" or "lust or despair," is futile. The seasons are therefore used to reinforce the misery of the characters and to explore the relationship between nature and the plight of the characters featured in this novel.

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