Bluest Eye

Painful Love in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

When discussing Toni Morrison and her novels, it’s tempting to talk about race since her body of work addresses that subject in such powerful ways. However, in an interview, Morrison stated that she actually writes “about the same thing…which is how people relate to one another and miss it or hang on to…or are tenacious about love” (Otten 653). In her first novel, The Bluest Eye, Morrison tells the story of two families that are informed and affected by love in drastically different ways. While love is generally thought to involve pleasure, pain oftentimes is used in conjunction with love in the novel, modifying and complicating it. By situating pain and love in the same sentiment, Morrison seems to suggest that love, when at its most sincere and poignant, is tinged with some sort of pain. She examines the interaction between pain and familial and sexual love in her novel The Bluest Eye leading the reader to realize the different ways that love and pain interact with each other, and that love, by nature, is inherently painful.

The novel begins in autumn, where Claudia, who has come down with a cold, talks about the routines and rituals in which her mother engages to make her better. The scene is full of potential pain: Claudia...

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