Nonficionado Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Q&A | May 12, 2015

    Aleksandar Hemon: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Aleksandar Hemon



    Describe your latest book. The Making of Zombie Wars is a roller-coaster ride of violence and sex. The main character, Joshua Levin, is a modestly... Continue »
    1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Making of Zombie Wars

      Aleksandar Hemon 9780374203412

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$8.95
List price: $14.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Literature- A to Z
1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International)

by

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307278449
ISBN10: 0307278441
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $8.95!

 

 

Excerpt

Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel. Rosemary Villanucci, our next-door friend who lives above her father's cafe, sits in a 1939 Buick eating bread and butter. She rolls down the window to tell my sister Frieda and me that we can't come in. We stare at her, wanting her bread, but more than that wanting to poke the arrogance out of her eyes and smash the pride of ownership that curls her chewing mouth. When she comes out of the car we will beat her up, make red marks on her white skin, and she will cry and ask us do we want her to pull her pants down. We will say no. We don't know what we should feel or do if she does, but whenever she asks us, we know she is offering us something precious and that our own pride must be asserted by refusing to accept.

School has started, and Frieda and I get new brown stockings and cod-liver oil. Grown-ups talk in tired, edgy voices about Zick's Coal Company and take us along in the evening to the railroad tracks where we fill burlap sacks with the tiny pieces of coal lying about. Later we walk home, glancing back to see the great carloads of slag being dumped, red hot and smoking, into the ravine that skirts the steel mill. The dying fire lights the sky with a dull orange glow. Frieda and I lag behind, staring at the patch of color surrounded by black. It is impossible not to feel a shiver when our feet leave the gravel path and sink into the dead grass in the field.

Our house is old, cold, and green. At night a kerosene lamp lights one large room. The others are braced in darkness, peopled by roaches and mice. Adults do not talk to us — they give us directions. They issue orders without providing information. When we trip and fall down they glance at us; if we cut or bruise ourselves, they ask us are we crazy. When we catch colds, they shake their heads in disgust at our lack of consideration. How, they ask us, do you expect anybody to get anything done if you all are sick? We cannot answer them. Our illness is treated with contempt, foul Black Draught, and castor oil that blunts our minds.

When, on a day after a trip to collect coal, I cough once, loudly, through bronchial tubes already packed tight with phlegm, my mother frowns. "Great Jesus. Get on in that bed. How many times do I have to tell you to wear something on your head? You must be the biggest fool in this town. Frieda? Get some rags and stuff that window."

Frieda restuffs the window. I trudge off to bed, full of guilt and self-pity. I lie down in my underwear, the metal in the black garters hurts my legs, but I do not take them off, because it is too cold to lie stockingless. It takes a long time for my body to heat its place in the bed. Once I have generated a silhouette of warmth, I dare not move, for there is a cold place one-half inch in any direction. No one speaks to me or asks how I feel. In an hour or two my mother comes. Her hands are large and rough, and when she rubs the Vicks salve on my chest, I am rigid with pain. She takes two fingers' full of it at a time, and massages my chest until I am faint. Just when I think I will tip over into a scream, she scoops out a little of the salve on her forefinger and puts it in my mouth, telling me to swallow. A hot flannel is wrapped about my neck and chest. I am covered up with heavy quilts and ordered to sweat, which I do, promptly.

Later I throw up, and my mother says, "What did you puke on the bed clothes for? Don't you have sense enough to hold your head out the bed? Now, look what you did. You think I got time for nothing but washing up your puke?"

The puke swaddles down the pillow onto the sheet — green-gray, with flecks of orange. It moves like the insides of an uncooked egg. Stubbornly clinging to its own mass, refusing to break up and be removed. How, I wonder, can it be so neat and nasty at the same time?

My mother's voice drones on. She is not talking to me. She is talking to the puke, but she is calling it my name: Claudia. She wipes it up as best she can and puts a scratchy towel over the large wet place. I lie down again. The rags have fallen from the window crack, and the air is cold. I dare not call her back and am reluctant to leave my warmth. My mother's anger humiliates me; her words chafe my cheeks, and I am crying. I do not know that she is not angry at me, but at my sickness. I believe she despises my weakness for letting the sickness "take holt." By and by I will not get sick; I will refuse to. But for now I am crying. I know I am making more snot, but I can't stop.

My sister comes in. Her eyes are full of sorrow. She sings to me: "When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls, someone thinks of me. . . ." I doze, thinking of plums, walls, and "someone."

But was it really like that? As painful as I remember? Only mildly. Or rather, it was a productive and fructifying pain. Love, thick and dark as Alaga syrup, eased up into that cracked window. I could smell it — taste it — sweet, musty, with an edge of wintergreen in its base — everywhere in that house. It stuck, along with my tongue, to the frosted windowpanes. It coated my chest, along with the salve, and when the flannel came undone in my sleep, the clear, sharp curves of air outlined its presence on my throat. And in the night, when my coughing was dry and tough, feet padded into the room, hands repinned the flannel, readjusted the quilt, and rested a moment on my forehead. So when I think of autumn, I think of somebody with hands who does not want me to die.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

NicholasK, February 22, 2015 (view all comments by NicholasK)
This is perhaps one of my all-time favorite books ever. Toni Morrison writes so magically, so eloquently, that each and every page feels like a small piece to a very large poem. Morrison's characters are so well developed, that you feel their pain, and you hope that they pull through their darkest periods and overcome all the adversity that they face. Pecola, one of the main characters, and the character in which the main plot revolves around, is a testament to humanity's potential to hate, to ostracize, to malign. I fell in love with her character, and felt very protective of her as she suffered time and time again (this is why I elected to name my newly adopted cat Pecola.) Morrison delves into the world of American history that was and is still so full of racism. She is able to transcend simply writing a novel about the African-American experience, or the experience of a young girl, or the experience of suffering, and creates a world that each and every reader can relate to.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Kelly ORourke, May 15, 2011 (view all comments by Kelly ORourke)
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278449
Author:
Morrison, Toni
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Girls
Subject:
Ohio
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;african american;novel;racism;race;literature;classic;rape;american;ohio;20th century;abuse;incest;women;beauty;nobel prize;african americans;american literature;oprah s book club;classics;coming of age;realistic fiction;african-american literatur
Subject:
fiction;african american;novel;racism;race;literature;classic;rape;american;ohio;20th century;abuse;incest;women;beauty;nobel prize;african americans;american literature;oprah s book club;classics;coming of age;realistic fiction;african-american literatur
Subject:
fiction;african american;novel;racism;race;literature;classic;rape;american;ohio;20th century;abuse;incest;women;beauty;nobel prize;african americans;american literature;oprah s book club;classics;coming of age;realistic fiction;african-american literatur
Subject:
fiction;african american;novel;racism;race;literature;classic;rape;american;ohio;20th century;abuse;incest;women;beauty;nobel prize;african americans;american literature;oprah s book club;classics;coming of age;realistic fiction;african-american literatur
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.6 in 0.45 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
    Used Trade Paper $1.95
  2. The Monsters of Templeton
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  3. Out Stealing Horses
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  4. Color Purple Used Trade Paper $2.95
  5. I Know This Much Is True (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $5.50
  6. The Road
    Used Mass Market $4.50

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307278449 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , First published in 1970 by Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, the novel tells the story of 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove, the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.