Free Study Guide: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - Free BookNotes|
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THE BLUEST EYE: FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY / NOTES
The style of a child’s reading book calls forth the reader’s memory
of the innocence of childhood, an innocence that should be guarded carefully.
Soon, however, we find that the seemingly universal description of a happy
family is actually a description of only the lucky few families. In this
chapter, the only indication that all is not well is the change Morrison
makes graphically in the presentation of the sentences. At the beginning,
the sentences are strictly divided by standard punctuation and capitalization.
Then, capitalization and punctuation are omitted. Then, all spacing is
omitted. Words are run together, giving the effect of a record being played
at the wrong speed, giving a distorted sound.
In the fall of the year 1941, there were no marigolds. Now, no one will
talk about this fact. The narrator reports that everyone thought there
were no marigolds because Pecola was having her father’s baby. The narrator
says she and her sister were too preoccupied to notice that no one’s marigolds
grew that year. She and her sister hoped for magic; they hoped if they
said the right words over their seeds, everything would be all right with
Pecola. When she and her sister realized their seeds would never grow,
they blamed each other to keep from feeling guilty. The narrator compares
the planting of marigold seeds in the black dirt to Pecola’s father "dropping
his seeds in his own plot of black dirt." Now, Pecola’s father, Cholly
Breedlove, is dead and so is the innocence of the narrator and her sister.
Pecola’s baby died just as the seeds did. The narrator ends, "There
is really nothing more to say--except why. But since why is difficult
to handle, one must take refuge in how."
Morrison indicates the difference in mood in this chapter typographically
just as she did in chapter one. She uses italics for the entire chapter.
The narrator here speaks with the voice of the past, of her childhood.
She remembers how she and her sister experienced hearing of the rape of
Pecola by her father. She and her sister attempted in their child’s logic
to counterbalance a crime against nature on one level (incest) with the
proper growth of nature on another level (the marigolds). However, "the
earth itself was unyielding." Here, Morrison uses the ancient conception
of folk wisdom which claims a correspondence between human events and
natural events; if something is out of order in the human realm, nature
will also seem out of order.
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. 09 May 2017