As Toni Morrison has become one of America's most celebrated contemporary authors, her first novel, The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, has gained increasing attention from literary critics. Most of the novel is narrated by a young black girl, Claudia MacTeer, who is part of a poor but loving black family in Lorain, Ohio, in the 1940s. However, the primary focus of the novel is on Pecola Breedlove, another young black girl who lives in very different circumstances from Claudia and her sister, Frieda. Pecola's mother, Pauline, is cruel to her family because they are a constant reminder that her life can never measure up to the ideal world of the white family for which she works as a maid. Not only is her mother distant and aloof, but Pecola's father is also unreliable for any comfort or support. Cholly Breedlove drinks excessively and later rapes Pecola. She bears his child, who dies shortly after birth. Because Pecola, like Pauline, yearns to be seen as beautiful, she longs for the blue eyes of the most admired child in the 1940s: Shirley Temple. After visiting Soaphead Church, a "spiritualist" who claims he can make Pecola's eyes blue, Pecola believes that she has the bluest eyes in the world and now everyone will love her. Clearly, Pecola is the truest kind of victim. Unlike Claudia, who possesses the love of her family, Pecola is powerless to reject the unachieveable values esteemed by those around her and finally descends into insanity. The Bluest Eye portrays the tragedy that results when African Americans have no resources with which to fight the standards presented to them by the white culture that scorns them.