Any student of literature cannot help but listen to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye be mentioned by the teachers, for it is a modern classic. What happens in such a situation, is that you get the know the book really well and don’t really feel the need to read it. In dire situations, even if literature students can make a quick one-line summary of a book, it will save them. That’s what I had been doing with regard to this book, until I saw it staring back at me at the library and seemed to mock me into reading it. Well, how can one not obey the words of Mama Morrison (she’s my grandmother, in my head)
It is difficult for a lay person like me to describe the power that resides in the words of Morrison. For lack of any better adjectives, I call her writing lyrical. The prose reads like a song, and the book becomes an epic poem, albeit about common people. If you haven’t heard it before, The Bluest Eye is about a young girl named Pecola, who defines beauty with the blueness of little girl’s eyes. Admittedly the ugliest little girl by the other characters in the book – Pecola has black skin and a curly mop of head. All Pecola wants is to have blue eyes, which in her innocent head, will make her look beautiful like other girls she knows. But the story does not stop there. There are many layers, many characters, that Morrison weaves together. Each have their own story, their own tragedy, their own demons to exorcise. There are no villains – there are only humans, capable of making mistakes, and sometimes even capable of ruining others lives. In spite of the fact that these characters are essentially human, they are memorable. Pecola’s mother Pauline who thinks she is a religious hero as far as her marriage to Cholly is concerned; Cholly and his childhood memories; Soaphead’s twisted logic about sex and God; the narrator and her sister – all of them have an unfailing voice that rings clear in the readers’ head long after they have finished the book.