Editor’s note: Eileen Raphael is working as a Marketing intern for GCPL as part of a senior mentorship program at Kenston High School. Here, she reviews Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
By Eileen Raphael
A cold sea of blue fills Pecola’s eyes, as she looks into her dark brown skin. Her mother shouts from the porch after Pecola comes home from another tough day at school. Her mother yells some nonsense, and tells her why she is ugly; as if she has does not shout the same derogatory words every day. Although, Pecola refuses to cry in these few tough moments of anger. She decides to run over to the neighbor’s house, and escape from the harsh reality of her home life.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison can be described as a long chain of events which defines Pecola Breedlove as a character. The life of a black woman is tough enough, but in the thirties, the treatment could be defined as inhumane in some cases. Pecola is discreetly defined as an ugly black girl which tends to drive her flight throughout the novel. Her experiences as a person are often tainted by her physical appearance. Pecola’s ability to function as a person begins to change as more people begin to cross her path negatively.
The internal conflicts and uncharted mental health issues which go on during the middle to end of the novel occurs as a timeline to Pecola’s breaking point. Her family and friends continue to prove her wrong, and allow her to think the worst out of humanity. Any person who is brought into Pecola’s life is carefully pushed away by an overarching sense of either racism or Pecola’s inability to express her problems to others.
As a reader, I found this novel to be quite attention-grabbing. I was immediately attracted by the fact that the story takes place locally in Cleveland as well. The novel tended to be very cutthroat in defining and describing the difficult-to-read course of events. As an incoming college freshman, I could not imagine the pain Pecola endures as an eleven-year-old girl. The story has a very strong message and leaves the reader with a lot of free reign to interpret Pecola’s insanity progression through his or her own eyes. I can honestly say the novel The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison kept my attention, and left me connected with Pecola’s character. I would recommend this read to all people.
Eileen is currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez.