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Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

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Kelly ORourke has commented on (1) product.

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International) by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye (Vintage International)

Kelly ORourke, May 15, 2011

Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is a novel of vivid and grotesque descriptions surrounding black youth in the south in the 1940’s, being retold through the eyes of the adult character Claudia MacTeer as she remembers it. I found the novel to portray the racism and hatred between social status and society in a very realistic manner for this time period. Because of such broad concepts as racism, hatred, discrimination, wealth/poverty, love, etc, I would suggest this book to a wide range of readers. You can’t put an age or gender on the audience, except realistically, women will probably appreciate it more because the novel is seen through the eyes of a young girl, giving it a naturally youthful and feminine feel as you read. This is powerful however, because as the reader, one is able to stand in a child’s shoes rather than an adult’s.

Seen mostly through the eyes of Claudia MacTeer, she starts by establishing what has happened to 12 year old Pecola Breedlove: incest rape by her father that results in a pregnancy and eventual death of the baby. The novel is a journey from autumn up until the summer it occurs. The novel begins “Quiet as it’s kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow” and then states “There is really nothing more to say--except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how” (5-6). This helps to prove to readers that everything in life has its reasons for happening, but as humans it isn’t necessarily possible to know why they happen. All we can really do is analyze how it happened, and provide our own solutions to give ourselves a sense of closure.

The Bluest Eye is successful in achieving its goal of showcasing important information for the reader. The ideas suggested are that people are always striving to find perfection or at least find a source of distraction from their imperfections (as Pecola uses blue eyes to defer from her rape/pregnancy). This reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, with the parallel concept of racism and black-white relations. However, I personally do not find one to do a greater job than the other of getting the point across, as Lee’s gives a central conflict that is more detrimental towards adults, opposed to Morrison’s, which is focused mainly on the well-being of children.

Overall, The Bluest Eye provides a solid example of the more gruesome side of society in the 1940’s. It covers not only the destruction of youth’s innocence, but also the infidelity of the adults at that time, and the major rift between social classes during the struggle through the Great Depression. If you would like a novel that is historical like non-fiction, yet intriguing like fiction, The Bluest Eye will serve to provide you with jaw-dropping moments and yet be emotionally gripping enough to result in tears.
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