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English homework help


Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye Author Note   Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye The Bluest Eye delivers social interpretations on a lesser recognized portions of black culture in America. The central character, Pecola, is a young black girl who badly wants to feel lovely and obtain the “bluest eyes” as the title suggests. The book seeks to describe beauty and love in this abnormal, perverse society, dragging the reader through Morrison’s emotional influences. Her father Cholly Breedlove takes the reader’s emotional responsiveness from Pecola as he enters the story. In fact, Toni Morrison’s portrayal of Cholly unfairly evokes pity. The understanding for Cholly conjured in The Bluest Eye from the reader is not warranted. By definition, Sympathy means feeling compassion, pity, or sorrow for the suffering of another. The cleverness of the author influences the reader into feeling a certain way towards specific characters. Compassion for characters – Cholly being no exclusion – originates from an author’s skill to use words and the structure of the story to lead a reader into a precise emotional direction. The reader is the prime reason the author constructs a story. Because all authors are completely aware that an audience exists for their stories, authors are, in turn, completely aware that their words can manipulate their readers. It is this awareness that allows all sentence structures and idea portrayal to be the product of an author’s manipulation. Because there exists an audience, there exists someone to persuade or influence. Thus, an author, like Morrison, builds a textual relationship between the characters in her story and that of the reader digesting her story. Morrison, like all artists, understands that the user searches for a moving direction in which to follow in the interpretation of characters. The very nature of writing and language consists of the choice by the author to convey her ideas and guide the reactions of her reader in the text. Morrison deemphasizes Cholly’s horrific actions and emphasizes his victimizations. To remove the emphasis from certain aspects of a story includes words with less harsh connotations, theomission of certain points in a plot, and concentration on other parts of the story. Cholly commits horrible actions throughout the book including the rape of his daughter, the beating his wife, burning of his family’s house, the murder of three men, Pecola’s guilty feelings, drunken episodes, and his abandonment by hisfamily when he was younger. Other incidents overshadow all of these terrible actions. Through Morrison’s use of short, off-hand descriptions of events, certain horrible acts appear to be less than horrible, if not acceptable. The reader learns that Cholly murdered a few men in an explanatory clause at the end of a meaningless sentence. The Bluest Eye describes Cholly as being completely free as to say “No” to a jailor and then “…smile, for he had already killed three white men,” (Morrison, 1970) as if this seizure of human life should not warrant more than half a sentence. From this off-hand comment, Morrison progresses to “Free to take a woman’s insults…” which places the horrible act of triple murder within the context of innocent actions like smiling and being subject to a woman’s biting humor. The contextualization diminishes the shock value and forces the reader in a direction of apathy towards this awful crime. The most terrible act that Cholly committed was the rape of his daughter Pecola. Pecola’s rape becomes an act not of sin but an act of redemption. Cholly uses the rape as a means to show his love to her. The text explains that “tenderness welled up in him” and at the end of the novel, the act is describedmore like love. Morrison writes, “Cholly loved


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