... sprout, they will know that everything will be alright. However, as readers already know that "there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941" and nothing turn out right for Pecola. The next chapter is a deranged dialogue carried out between Pecola and herself in which she discusses her new blue eyes, questioning if they are "bluest eyes" in the world.
We also discover that Cholly has raped his daughter more than once. Her madness, then, appears to be a defense against the pain of living her life. The last voice that we ear in the novel is that of Claudia's, now looking back as an adult, trying to assign the blame for the tragedy of Pecola. She tells us that Pecola's baby died soon after birth, Cholly is died as well, that Mrs. Breedlove still works for the white people and Pecola spends her days talking to herself and picking at the garbage in a dump. The novel closes with the indictment of the community and the culture.
The narrative structure in The Bluest Eye is important in revealing, just how persuasive and destructive the "Racialization" (Morrison's term for racism that is a part of every person's socialization) is (Leflore) Narration in The Bluest Eye comes from several sources, but most of the narration is from Claudia Macteer as a nine year old child. Morrison also gives the reader the benefit of Claudia reflecting on the story as an adult, some first person narration from Pecola's mother, and by Morrison herself as an omniscient narrator. Morrison intentionally kept Pecola from any first person narration of the story. She wanted to " try to a little girl as a total and complete victim of whatever was around her" and she needed the distance and the innocence of Claudia's character to do that (Stepto 479). The experience would have been less meaning coming from Pecola herself because, " A total and complete victim would be an unreliable narrator, unwilling (or unable) to tell relate the actual circumstances of that year (Stepto 479). In addition to the narrative structure, the structure and typography of the novel itself helps to illustrate how much and for how long white ideas of family and home have been forced into black culture.
Instead of your usual chapters and sections, The Bluest Eye is broken up into seasons, fall, winter, spring and summer. This type of organization suggests that the events that have occurred in The Bluest Eye have happen in the past and will happen again in the future. Further dividing this book up are the small excerpts, from the Dick and Jane that is the epitome of the white upper middle class lifestyle. Each excerpt has in some way to do with the section that follows. The excerpts for Dick and Jane that head each "chapter" are typeset without any spaces or punctuation marks. The "Dick and Jane" snippets show just how prevalent and important the images of white perfection are in Pecola's life.
Morrison's strange typography illustrates how irrelevant and inappropriate these images are. Names play an important part in The Bluest Eye, because they are often symbolic of conditions in society and in the context on the story. The name if the novel, The Bluest Eye, is meant to give the reader thinking about how much value is placed on blue eyed little girls. Pecola and her family are representative of the larger African American community and their name "Breedlove" is ironic because they live in a society that does not " breed love." In fact, it breeds hate, hate of blackness and the hatred of oneself. The name "MacTeer", can have an argument to be made, that it refers to the fact that the MacTeer girls are the only ones who shed a tear for Pecola. Soaphead church represents as his name suggests the role of the church in African American life.
The implication is that the church's promise that if you worship God and pray to him that everything will be alright is no better than Soaphead's promise to Pecola that she will have blue eyes. Morrison reveals the significance of Pecola's name through the character of Maureen Peal. Maureen confuses Pecola's name with the name of the character in the movie Imitation of Life. "I just moved here. My name is Maureen peal. What's yours"Pecola"Pecola? Wasn't that the name of the girl in Imitation of Life?"I don't know.
What is that?"The picture show, you know. Where this mulatto girl hates her mother 'cause she is black and ugly but then cries at the funeral. It was real sad. Everybody cries in it. Claudette Colbert too."Oh" Pecola's voice was no more than a sigh." Anyway, her name was Pecola too.
She was pretty. When it comes back, I'm going to see it again." (Morrison 56-57) Maureen's reference to the film illustrates how white cultural values shape the black community's idea of physical beauty. But Maureen's discrepancy, was that the name of the girl in Imitation of Life, is not in fact Pecola, but Pecola. The irregularity is appropriate because it denotes Pecola's failure to be like her cinematic double. Maureen's mistake is relevance as well, for Morrison in her act of (mis) naming signifies the community's power to deny an individual autonomy and to use people for its own needs. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison uses metaphors, in which she wants the reader to think one way, but in reality she is talking about a whole other subject.
The definition of a metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another subject to suggest a likeness or an analogy between them. She uses metaphors in The Bluest Eye to describe the conditions under which African Americans in general and Pecola are forced to live. There are two major metaphors in The Bluest Eye, one of marigolds and of dandelions. Claudia, looking back as an adult says, at the beginning of the book, "there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941" (Morrison 9).
She and her sister (Frieda) plant seed with the belief that the marigolds seeds would grow and survive, and so would Pecola's baby (Morrison 149). Morrison's scope to all African Americans on the last page " I even think that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruits it will not bear... (Morrison 160). The implication is that Pecola like so many other African Americans never had the chance to grow and succeed, because she lived in a society ("soil") that was inherently racist, and would not nurture her. The other metaphor, the dandelion is also an important metaphor that Morrison uses because it represents Pecola's image of herself.
See, Pecola passes some dandelions going into Mr. Yacobowski's store. "Why she wonders, so people call them weeds? She thought that they were pretty" (Morrison 41). After leaving the store and being humiliated by Mr. Yacobowski, she again passes the same dandelions and thinks; 'They are ugly. They are weeds (Morrison 43).
Pecola has transferred society's dislikes of her unto the dandelions. In all of Toni Morrison's novels, she uses a systematic use of color imagery to promote particular responses or sensual experiences. The following is a list of the colors that she uses to create visual imagery in her novels and also what they stand for. Red = alarm Green = tranquillity Blue = pleasure nurturing White = mystical Both the blue and the white used together in her imagery stands for, positive life-giving forces, peaceful, non-violent death or even insanity. Toni Morrison is a very successful African American woman, who in her life has overcome a lot, not only in her personal life, but also in the world of being a writer. She has won the Nobel Prize in Literature in which she was the first African American woman to do so.
The various writing techniques that she uses not only in The Bluest Eye, but also in all of her novels, are extraordinary. I hope that many people have shared the experience that I have by reading her books by getting an insight to the many ways in which not only a writer but also anyone can incorporate in his or her writings. Works CitedBakerman, Jane. "The Seams Can't Show: An Interview with Toni Morrison." Black American Literature forum.
12 (1978): 56-60. Dittermar, Linda." Will the Circle be Unbroken?" The Politics of Form in The Bluest Eye." Novel. 23. 2 (Winter 1990): 137-55. Leflore, Fannie," Author Morrison uses fiction to challenge prevailing images," Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal, October 20, 1990 Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye.
New York: Washington Square Press-Pocket Books, 1970. Stepto, Robert B. "Intimate Things In Place" A Conversation with Toni Morrison." Massachusetts Review. 18 (1977): 473-89.