References to society in The Bluest Eyes (Toni morrison).

Essay by TheMan123High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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Literature has often been used to send a message, a morality to its readers. When freedom of speech was not recognized yet, some writers, like Voltaire or Montesquieu for example, wrote books not only to amuse but also to criticize and make references of the society they lived in. Indeed, during the middle Ages, Renaissance but also during the XXIII century, writers could be sentenced to death if they did not agree with the king's imposed laws that the population had to follow. Therefore, it has been seen that a novel with a very common story could in reality be an accurate reference to the society's flaws. Even though literature often makes references to the real world's society, to what extend is this true in the Bluest Eyes?

Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eyes takes place in 1941 in the town where the author grew up (Lorain, in Ohio).

Indeed, the story contains lots of autobiographical elements, which therefore also make a reference to real society. The story is told from the point of view of a nine year old girl named Claudia MacTeer, which is the age Toni Morrison would have been the year the novel takes place. Like the MacTeer family, Toni Morrison's family struggled during the Great depression.

The Bluest Eyes symbolize Pecola's will to have blue eyes. Pecola, a young a black girl, associate being beautiful, happy and loved with having blue eyes like white people. Toni Morisson here makes a reference to a common idealization at the time that consisted in considering whiteness as a standard of beauty. For example, Maureen Peal, who is lighter skinned, is immediately said cuter than the other black girls. We also find in the novel a reference to the fact that Hollywood movie stars were all...