Form and Content (Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series)
The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young African American girl immersed in poverty and made “ugly” by the American culture of the early 1940’s that defines beauty in terms of such actors as Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, and Shirley Temple. Her mother beats and abuses her, and her father rapes and abandons her. Toni Morrison introduces the novel with a two-page parody of the Dick-and-Jane reader; the monotonous sentences of the reader repeat with increasing speed until the words run together. The parody is followed by a one-page interior monologue from the main narrator, Claudia MacTeer, who sets the scene for the four sections that make up the rest of the novel: “Autumn,” “Winter,” “Spring,” and “Summer.” The subsections are introduced by run-together lines from the Dick-and-Jane parody.
“Autumn” begins with Claudia MacTeer’s bleak sketch of her own home and impoverishment and moves toward Pecola’s brief stay with Claudia’s family after Cholly, Pecola’s father, burns the Breedlove home. While staying with the MacTeers, Pecola begins to menstruate and learns that she can now have a baby if some man loves her. “Autumn” ends with a sketch of three misanthropic “whores” who, unsentimentally, provide Pecola with the little warmth that she experiences.
“Winter,” a shorter section of the novel, begins by sketching the face of Claudia and Frieda’s father and then sketching his...
(The entire section is 799 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Context (Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series)
Toni Morrison, the 1993 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is best known for her novels and literary criticism. The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s first novel, was followed by Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987), and Jazz (1992). Morrison won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon, and she won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for Beloved. Best known of Morrison’s critical writing is Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992).
According to an interview with Morrison, The Bluest Eye began as a short story for a writer’s group. It was written during a time of loneliness, following her divorce, when she was parenting her two preschool-age sons. In the interview, Morrison talks about her interest in focusing her novels on friendships between women, as she does in Sula. Morrison rejects the notion that friendships between women are “subordinate” to other “roles they’re playing.”
Reviews of The Bluest Eye were mostly favorable, though the work was somewhat overlooked until Morrison’s other novels began to form a body of work. Many critics then looked at The Bluest Eye as background for Morrison’s later explorations of racial, gender, and cultural issues. For example, Sula, the central character in Morrison’s second novel, is unconventional...
(The entire section is 274 words.)
Civil Rights and Race Relations
Although Toni Morrison set her novel The Bluest Eye in the 1940s in the North, the thoughts that gave rise to the novel are centered in the Civil Rights Movement, which was waning in the late 1960s when she was writing The Bluest Eye. Many historians mark the peak year of the Civil Rights Movement at 1963 because of the pivotal events which took place during this year: the assassination of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) leader Medgar Evers, mass demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham, Alabama, the attempt by Alabama Governor George Wallace to stop integration of Alabama's schools, and the March on Washington marked by Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. When Morrison published The Bluest Eye in 1970, the Civil Rights Movement was far from over; however, following its peak in 1963, white backlash increased. In addition, national attention turned to other events, such as the continuing Paris peace talks to end the Vietnam War war protests by college students at Kent State University and other colleges, and the exposure of the massacre of unarmed civilians in My Lai, South Vietnam, by American troops. With such events taking place, the...
(The entire section is 542 words.)
AUTUMN: Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. Why do Claudia and Frieda beat up Rosemary, and what does Rosemary offer as an apology?
2. What does Claudia do once she falls ill?
3. How does Claudia describe Mr. Henry when she first meets him?
4. What game does Mr. Henry play with Claudia and Frieda when he first sees them?
5. What does Frieda and Claudia’s Mama mean when she says that a “case” is coming to live with them?
6. According to Claudia, what is the difference between being put out and being put outdoors?
7. Where is the rest of the Breedlove family while Pecola is at Claudia’s house?
8. Why does Mama complain about “folks” when she knows that Pecola drank three quarts of milk?
9. Why does Frieda ask Claudia to bring “lots of water”?
10. What does Claudia think will happen when she hears water running in the bathtub?
1. Rosemary asks the girls if they want to humiliate her by taking down her pants, and the girls show how strong they are by refusing to do so.
2. Claudia lies in bed while Frieda blocks the window with stockings. Claudia lies completely still in order to stay in the spot that she has made warm. After about an hour, her mother comes in and rubs salve on her chest. After she makes Claudia swallow a bit of the salve, her mother than wraps her in a flannel and puts a heavy...
(The entire section is 446 words.)
AUTUMN: Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouse…) and Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamily…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhiteithasareddooritisverypretty itisveryprettyprettyprettyp)
Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamilymotherfatherdickandjanetheyliveinthegreen andwhitehousetheyareveryh)
1. What is the history of the Breedloves’ home?
2. Why is the fact that “the furniture had aged without becoming familiar” significant?
3. What was “the only living thing” in the Breedloves’ house, and what does this phrase mean?
4. Why do the Breedloves live and stay in the house?
5. Why does Pecola hide beneath the sheets when Mrs. Breedlove wakes up?
6. What does Sammy say to Mrs. Breedlove as she fights Cholly?
7. How does Cholly fight Mrs. Breedlove?
8. How does Pecola make herself disappear?
9. Why is it so difficult for Mr. Yacobowski to notice Pecola, according to the narrator?
10. What is unusual about Miss Marie’s pet names for Pecola?
1. The building is now an abandoned store. There used to be a pizza parlor there, which replaced a real estate agency. Before the real estate agency, a family of gypsies lived there. But even before gypsies lived there, that store was occupied by the Breedloves.
2. A house is usually the scene of many significant events in the life of a family. The narrator mentions some typical instances...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
WINTER: Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Maureen start a conversation with Claudia?
2. How does Frieda break up the circle of boys teasing Pecola?
3. Why do the boys stop teasing Pecola?
4. Why do Claudia and Frieda begin to like Maureen?
5. What was Claudia thinking about before it became clear that Maureen was not going to treat her to ice cream?
6. Why does Maureen tell Pecola not to eat the end of the cone?
7. Why do boys have belly-buttons, according to Maureen?
8. Why doesn’t Frieda want to go to Isaley’s?
9. How does Henry explain Poland’s and the Maginot Line’s visit?
10. What does Frieda know about Woodrow Cain that she threatens to tell everybody?
1. Maureen happens to have her school locker next to Claudia’s.
2. Frieda breaks into the circle by hitting Woodrow Cain over the head with her school books.
3. The boys stop teasing Pecola when they see Maureen in the distance. The boys are attracted to Maureen and do not want to be seen as bullies when she is watching.
4. Frieda and Claudia are surprised that Maureen would be so friendly to Pecola, and are pleased by her behavior. They are also still excited about their victory in the fight with the four boys.
5. When Claudia realizes that Maureen is not going to treat her, she attempts to conceal...
(The entire section is 344 words.)
WINTER: Chapter 5 (Seethecatitgoesmeow…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 5 (Seethecatitgoesmeowmeowcomeandplaycomeplaywithjane thekittenwillnotplayplayplaypla)
1. Why would a man want to marry a girl like Geraldine, according to the narrator?
2. Where would a woman like Geraldine want her own private parts to be, and why?
3. What does Geraldine smell like?
4. What did Geraldine forbid Junior to do?
5. Who did Junior play with?
6. What does Junior tell his parents when he is beaten up by a bunch of girls?
7. How do Junior’s parents respond to his story?
8. Junior notices that no one ever plays with Pecola. What does he believe is the reason for this?
9. What is Pecola’s first impression of Junior’s house?
10. Geraldine looked at Pecola and decided that she “had seen this little girl all of her life.” Explain what is meant by this phrase.
1. Men would always want to marry women like Geraldine because they would eat well and live in a clean house.
2. Geraldine would always wish that her private parts would be in a more convenient place, such as her armpit, so that her husband could have sex with her without her needing to take down her dress. Since sex was always an inconvenience to her, she would want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
3. Geraldine smells like wood and vanilla.
(The entire section is 379 words.)
SPRING: Chapter 6 Questions and Answers
1. Why is Claudia jealous of Frieda?
2. What is Claudia’s initial reaction to the news about Mr. Henry?
3. What does being “ruined” mean to Frieda?
4. What happens when Miss Dunion suggests that Frieda should be taken to a doctor?
5. What is a “Maginot Line”?
6. Why do Frieda and Claudia go to the second-story porch?
7. How does Claudia react to Pecola’s smile when they meet at the house by the lake?
8. Where is Pecola going to go with Poland and China?
9. What is Mrs. Breedlove wearing while she works?
10. Describe what the little girl is wearing.
1. Claudia complains that her chest is much smaller than Frieda’s.
2. Claudia is jealous for a number of reasons. She is upset about having to hear the big news from Frieda, and complains that she “always misses stuff.” She also considers Frieda to be lucky to have been pinched by Mr. Henry, since she is so flat-chested she has “nothing to pinch.”
3. Frieda thinks that being “ruined” means that she will become “like the Maginot Line.” As the image comes to Frieda’s mind, they decide that being ruined means that Frieda will become fat.
4. Frieda’s mother begins to yell at Miss Dunion for suggesting that her daughter might be ruined.
5. The Maginot Line was...
(The entire section is 349 words.)
SPRING: Chapter 7 (Seemothermotherisvery…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 7 (Seemothermotherisverynicemotherwillyouplaywithjane motherlaughslaughmotherlaughla)
1. How many brothers and sisters did Pauline have?
2. What fantasies kept her from doing her work?
3. How does Pauline feel when Cholly tickles her?
4. How does Pauline’s happiness with Cholly compare with her fantasies?
5. What becomes the focus of their quarrels?
6. How is Pauline surprised by Cholly when she tells him she is pregnant?
7. What does the doctor say about Pauline and black women in general?
8. Name the groups and organizations of which Pauline is a member.
9. What would Mr. Fisher rather do than sell real estate?
10. Where is the “meaningfulness” in Pauline’s life?
1. Pauline had ten brothers and sisters; she was the ninth of eleven children.
2. “Fantasies about men and love and touching” were distracting her from her work.
3. When Cholly tickles her foot, Pauline feels all of the pleasant memories of her youth and the colors she associates with these memories. The yellow from the lemonade she drank, the purple of the berries she picked, and the green of the grass “all come together … inside [her].”
4. Pauline feels the happiness of her fantasies “minus the gloom of setting suns and lonely river banks.”...
(The entire section is 314 words.)
SPRING: Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigand…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigandstrongfatherwillyouplaywithjanefatheris smilingsmilefathersmilesmile)
1. How does Aunt Jimmy supposedly die?
2. What are the future plans for Cholly after Aunt Jimmy’s death?
3. How does Cholly embarrass himself asking for a cigarette?
4. Why does Cholly miss Aunt Jimmy when he goes into the field with Darlene?
5. Why doesn’t Cholly live with his uncle, O. V.?
6. How does “a Georgia black boy” run away?
7. Why does the man at the bus window sell Cholly an under-twelve bus ticket even though he is certain Cholly is lying about his age?
8. What makes Cholly cry thinking about Aunt Jimmy?
9. Why is Cholly’s sequence of emotions “revulsion, guilt, pity, then love” when he sees Pecola washing dishes?
10. What does Pecola see when she regains consciousness?
1. Aunt Jimmy was told by M’Dear, the local midwife, to drink nothing but pot liquor, but one of her friends unwittingly brings her a peach cobbler. Aunt Jimmy eats a piece and dies soon after.
2. Cholly will move in with Aunt Jimmy’s brother, O. V., and his family.
3. He tries to light the cigarette without putting it in his mouth first.
4. Cholly realized that if Jimmy were alive, she would beat him for going off to play after dark....
(The entire section is 446 words.)
SPRING: Chapter 9 (Seethedogbowwow…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 9 (Seethedogbowwowgoesthedogdoyouwanttoplaydoyouwant toplaywithjaneseethedogrunr)
1. What is a “misanthrope”?
2. What is the significance of Soaphead Church’s name?
3. What is the one thing that disgusts him more than touching a woman?
4. What does Pecola’s request for blue eyes do to him?
5. Why does Evil exist, according to Soaphead Church?
6. What is meant when it is written that Soaphead Church’s business “is dread”?
7. How does Soaphead Church address God in his letter?
8. What does Soaphead Church mean when he writes that Velma left him “the way people leave a motel room”?
9. To what does Soaphead Church compare the breasts of little girls?
10. What parts of sex does Soaphead Church avoid by molesting little girls, as written in his letter?
1. A misanthrope is a person who has a general hatred for other people.
2. He is called “Soaphead” because he uses soap bubbles as a hair pomade. No one is sure why “Church” became his last name, but it is suggested that a town resident had heard about his brief study in the ministry.
3. That one thing was touching and being touched by another man.
4. For the first time, Soaphead Church wishes that he could perform miracles.
5. Evil exists...
(The entire section is 373 words.)
SUMMER: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 (Looklookherecomes…) Questions and Answers
Chapter11 (Looklookherecomesafriendthefriendwillplaywithjanetheywill playagoodgameplayjaneplay)
1. What do Claudia and Frieda think about until they hear that Pecola is pregnant?
2. How long does it take for Claudia and Frieda to realize that Pecola is pregnant?
3. What type of “law” do the women say there should be against Cholly’s actions?
4. What is Claudia’s “only handicap”?
5. How long do the sisters promise to be good if God lets the baby live?
6. What reason does Pecola give for other people turning away from her?
7. How does Pecola’s madness protect her from other people?
8. What did grown people do to Pecola after the baby was born?
9. What did children do to her?
10. Who loved Pecola?
1. Claudia and Frieda think about the money that they will make from the seeds and the bicycle that they would buy with the money. Because of this, it takes them longer to realize that Pecola is pregnant.
2. Claudia and Frieda realize that the pregnant girl is Pecola after half-listening to two or three conversations.
3. One woman says that there should be a law against “two ugly people doubling up … to make more ugly.”
4. According to Claudia, size was the only reason that they could be picked on and...
(The entire section is 279 words.)
Point of View and Structure
The point of view in The Bluest Eye is dominated by first person ("I") through the mind of Claudia MacTeer, sometimes narrating as a nine-year-old child and sometimes as an adult. The instances in which Morrison uses the adult Claudia as narrator serve as points of reflection for Claudia. For example, because Claudia is the same age as Pecola, she should be able to empathize with her; however, as an adult, she looks back at the manner in which she and her community cast Pecola as a scapegoat and is able to see that they did not love her as they should have. A third-person omniscient, anonymous narrator also exists in the novel. For example, this narrator presents to us the childhoods and early adulthoods of Cholly and Pauline, providing a means for the reader to understand the path which has taken Cholly and Pauline to such depths of self-loathing. The narrative as a whole is the adult Claudia's flashback, framed by her adult musings and interspersed with scenes presented by the third-person narrator. The novel is divided into four parts to correspond with the four seasons, an appropriate structure since the main characters, nine-year-old girls, would measure time by passage of the seasons.
The setting of The Bluest Eye is a fictionalized Lorain, Ohio, in the 1940s. Morrison grew up in Lorain, the daughter of Southerners who had moved North to...
(The entire section is 1319 words.)
The Bluest Eye gave clear evidence of the innovative, original writer Morrison would be. For a first novel, it is unusually daring and rich in technical innovations involving voice, point of view, and associations.
The most dramatic innovation is the repetition of portions from the elementary reader "Dick and Jane" story that introduces various sections of the novel. The archetypal happy family to whom we are introduced as children, and whose lifestyle we are unconsciously encouraged to emulate, functions as a norm, and the components of family happiness are the very things the MacTeers seek and the Breedloves cannot get. Dogs and cats, Dick's and Jane's happy pets, also foreshadow key disillusioning events in Pecola's life. She sees Junior harm his cat, and Soaphead tricks her into poisoning a dog.
Moreover, Morrison repeats many of the "Dick and Jane" stories in alternating typefaces. As many critics have suggested, the orderly, properly punctuated version of the story represents the lifestyle and aspirations of Dick and Jane, or the Foster family—European-American groups empowered by wealth and caste. The single-spaced version, with no internal punctuation, and combining several simple sentences into a run-on paragraph, represents African-American families who aspire to emulate the Dick and Jane archetype, like the MacTeers and Geraldine's family. The final version, in which syntax is distorted by the absence of space even between...
(The entire section is 740 words.)
Ideas for Group Discussions
The Bluest Eye generates spirited discussion on the nature, extent, and ubiquity of prejudice in modern America, and other texts on this subject by writers like Alice Walker and Toni Cade Bambara can develop useful dialogues about prejudice, its effects, and possible cures. The novel can also be approached as a treatment of the theme of individual freedom and cultural limitations on that freedom. Many of the questions that follow are intended to stimulate conversations on the tone of The Bluest Eye, or the attitudes implicit in Morrison's characterization and rhetoric.
1. To what degree are Cholly's and Pauline's mistreatments of their children explained by their own past experiences of racism and low cultural self-esteem? Are other characters in the novel more successful in overcoming the same kind (or degree) of prejudice?
2. How fair a characterization of American cultural aspirations is the "Dick and Jane" story by which Morrison introduces many chapters? Is this stereotype an insidious way for the educational system to implant ideas and images in children's minds? Is the stereotype more painful for members of minority than mainstream culture? Why or why not?
3. How do we react to Elihue Whitcomb's accusing God for making the world imperfect? Is this Morrison's view as well? Does religion play a part in the victimization of people like Pecola?
4. How effective is the option to a racist culture...
(The entire section is 280 words.)
In some ways the synergy between Morrison and the emerging concerns of the times about which she writes were foreshadowed by her first, and in some circles her most famous, novel. The social issues of The Bluest Eye lie centrally with the impact certain cultural icons have on the consciousness of minorities. African Americans in this novel are taught to think of themselves as ugly or inferior because of the signs and ideals the culture imposes on them, a position the novel's narrator calls into question rhetorically by explaining the principal family's living in an abandoned store: "They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly" [italics added]. The heroine, Pecola Breedlove, is virtually destroyed by her own and her family's self-loathing because they cannot conform with the standards of beauty white America cherishes. As the title suggests, Pecola feels inferior because she lacks aesthetic properties white culture endorses; she comes to feel that only by having blue eyes can she complete her self. After many violent assaults on her self-esteem, most pointedly snubs by schoolmates, her mother's clear preference for the white daughter of the family for whom she works, and a rape by her drunken father (a perverse effort to express love that results in pregnancy), Pecola, barely into her teens, succumbs to madness and the illusion that God gave her the bluest eyes possible to compensate for...
(The entire section is 1106 words.)
Compare and Contrast
1940s: The United States became involved in World War II in 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war ended the Great Depression as well as American isolationism. The United States government's fear of the Soviet Union as a major communist force marked the beginning of the Cold War.
1960s: The United States became involved in several international conflicts, including the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and the Vietnam War beginning in 1965. Low public opinion of American involvement in Vietnam was marked by protests across the country, especially on college campuses. In 1968, United States involvement hit its peak with approximately 500,000 troops in Vietnam. Approximately 58,000 United States troops were killed in the war.
Today: Foreign relations in the 1990s have been marked by the fall of communism in Russia and eastern Europe, heralding the end of the Cold War. The only major military conflict in which the United States had been involved extensively was the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
- 1940s: Most households listened to the radio an average of 4.5 hours per day during World War II, with 30 percent of air time devoted to war coverage. However,...
(The entire section is 574 words.)
Topics for Further Study
- Research the life and career of Shirley Temple, the child star whom Pecola sees as the epitome of female beauty. What about Shirley Temple made her idolized by white society? Then, examine Pecola's admiration of Shirley Temple. How does Pecola's admiration of Shirley Temple affect her throughout the novel?
- Many critics consider The Bluest Eye to be a bildungsroman, a story outlining the maturing process of a character. Analyze the ways in which Claudia and Pecola both mature. Why do they mature into very different people even though they share many of the same experiences?
- Although The Bluest Eye does not take place in the South, many characters in the novel are victims of racism. Investigate life for African Americans, in both the North and South, during the 1940s, and compare your findings to the treatment of characters in the book.
(The entire section is 141 words.)
The Bluest Eye takes its place in a distinguished tradition of African-American literature concerned with the struggle to assert cultural and individual values in the face of majority, or European-American cultural and economic dominance. The novels of Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Jean Toomer, and James Baldwin offer distinguished male African-American versions of the struggle. Morrison has stated in interviews that she was unaware of the work of female African-American writers whose work attempted similar themes while she was writing The Bluest Eye, but she subsequently discovered her literary kinship with such predecessors as Zora Neale Hurston and Paule Marshall. It is tempting to ponder how much the reassessment of writers like Marshall and Hurston owes to the success of Morrison's fiction.
Another American literary tradition in which to situate The Bluest Eye is the series of works in which children are the victims of cultural insensitivity. Ernest Hemingway once remarked that American literature begins with Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and the theme of the adolescent as victim seems to begin there as well. Like Pecola, Huck is victimized by a dysfunctional family and by a culture's version of what is respectable conduct. Significantly, Huckleberry Finn is also about racism. The most important decision Huck makes is to help Jim escape from slavery; and Huck makes this choice believing that...
(The entire section is 362 words.)
- An abridged version of The Bluest Eye was recorded on two audio cassettes in 1994 by Morrison and actress Ruby Dee. Available from Random House Audiobooks, the cassette is three hours long.
- The unabridged text of The Bluest Eye was recorded in 1981 by Michelle Shay. Available from Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, the recording is distributed by National Library Service and lasts 704 minutes.
(The entire section is 61 words.)
What Do I Read Next?
- Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, printed in 1982, uses Celie's letters to God to chronicle her rise from a brow-beaten woman, who is forced by her abusive father to marry an abusive husband and is separated from her sister and only friend, Nettie, to a self-confident business woman who learns to love others and herself, largely through her friendship with her husband's lover, Shug Avery.
- Maxine Hong Kingston's 1976 novel, The Woman Warrior, records the struggles of the narrator who must reconcile the values of her Chinese immigrant parents, especially her mother, and her own adopted American values.
- Toni Morrison's novel Song of Solomon, published in 1977, presents the geographical and psychological journey of Milkman Dead from a life of empty affluence to self-knowledge and reunion with community as he rediscovers his family's past.
- Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony, printed in 1977, illustrates cultural conflict faced by Tayo, a young man of Native American and white parentage. As a result, Tayo must become reconnected with his Native American roots. After returning from World War II Tayo finds that he is no longer respected by whites as a...
(The entire section is 288 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bayles, Martha. "Special Effects, Special Pleading," in The New Criterion, Vol. 6, No. 2, January, 1988, pp. 34-40.
Blake, Susan L. "Toni Morrison," in Dictionary of Literary Biography: Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955, edited by Thadious M. David and Trudier Harris, Vol. 33. Gale, 1984, pp 187-99.
Cormier-Hamilton, Patrice. "Black Naturalism and Toni Morrison: The Journey Away from Self-Love in The Bluest Eye," in MELUS, Vol. 19, winter, 1994, pp. 109-28.
Dee, Ruby. "Black Family Search for Identity," in Freedomways, Vol XI, 1971, pp. 319-20.
Donelson, Ken. "'Filth' and 'Pure Filth' in Our Schools— Censorship of Classroom Books in the Last Ten Years," in English Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2, February, 1997, pp 21-25.
Frankel, Haskel. "Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye," in New York Times Book Review, November 1, 1970, p.46.
Gant, Liz. "The Bluest Eye," in Black World, Vol. 20, May, 1971, pp. 51-2.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., and K. A. Appiah, eds. Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Amistad Press, 1992.
Heinze, Denise. The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness": Toni Morrison's Novels. University of Georgia Press, 1993.
Iannone, Carol. "Toni Morrison's Career," in Commentary, Vol....
(The entire section is 571 words.)
Bibliography (Masterplots II: African American Literature, Revised Edition)
Awkward, Michael. “Roadblocks and Relatives: Critical Revision in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” In Critical Essays on Toni Morrison, compiled by Nellie Y. McKay. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988. Claims that the novel is in part an intertextual rereading of Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952), “giving authentication and voice to specific types of black and feminine experiences.”
Bloom, Harold, ed. Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” Updated ed. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2007. Collection of important and influential readings of Morrison’s novel by leading scholars and critics. Bibliographic references and index.
Evans, Mari, ed. Black Women Writers, 1950-1980: A Critical Evaluation. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983. Contains three essays examining several of Morrison’s works, including The Bluest Eye.
Klotman, Phyllis R. “Dick-and-Jane and the Shirley Temple Sensibility in The Bluest Eye.” Black American Literature Forum 13 (Winter, 1979): 123-125. Demonstrates how the Dick-and-Jane primer passages interspersed through the book and the references to Shirley Temple serve as counterpoints to the realities of black experience.
Mayberry, Susan Neal....
(The entire section is 393 words.)