Toni Morrison’s THE BLUEST EYE, although beautifully written, is a difficult book to read. Its topics of racism, incest, and child molestation keep the stomach in knots. Thus, despite the magnificent prose, there can be nothing poetic about the horrors of growing up as an African-American in a WASP America.
The novel gets its title from a prayer. That of Pecola, a little Black girl forced to live with a foster family because her home was burned down by her depraved and alcoholic father. Pecola considers herself to be ugly because of her dark skin. So she prays to God for blue eyes thinking that they will make her beautiful. For two years she prays but, despite all her prayers, her eyes were still brown. And for Pecola, those brown eyes are proof that God doesn’t exist.
Morrison dramatically illustrates how racism can lead towards self-hatred. And how self-hatred can lead towards insanity.
The message the book gives reminds me of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” lyrics. We can make the world a better place by learning to love more and to hate less.
To read THE BLUEST EYE by Toni Morrison on Archive.Org, go HERE.
Related: Lynching Postcards
P.S. Imagine that you are an American citizen born and raised in the U.S. and don’t have the right to vote. Although the Civil War, in theory, gave Black men the right to vote, it wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that racial discrimination in voting was prohibited.