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THE BLUEST EYE chronicles the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in 1940s Ohio: Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola. Pecola, unlovely and unloved, prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged blond white schoolfellows. She becomes the focus of the mingled love and hatred engendered by her family's frailty and the world's cruelty as the novel moves toward a savage but poignant resolution.show more
The Bluest Eye is the first novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is set in 1941 in the small town of Lorain, Ohio, and tells the story of an 11-year-old Negro girl, Pecola Breedlove, who becomes pregnant to her father Cholly. Pecola's family and environment is such that she is certain she is ugly; so convinced of this is she, that she wishes for blue eyes, believing this is the only thing that will relieve her ugliness. Narrated in part by a 9-year-old neighbourhood girl, Claudia, the perspective of young girls in this situation is novel. Some chapters detail the history of Cholly and Mrs Breedlove, giving some clues as to how this crippled and crippling family evolved. This reissue of Morrison's first novel includes a new Forward by the author wherein she explains what she was trying to achieve. Some of the prose is quite stunning: "Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved." The prose may be beautiful, but as a Dutch-born Caucasian living in Australia with a limited experience of the Negro, I found it difficult to relate to this book.