Bluest Eye

Ethnic Studies and "The Bluest Eye" College

Understanding African American sentiments during the Civil Rights Movement is crucial in understanding Ton Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye. W.E.B. Du Bois thinks that a biography of an African-American always possesses a "double-consciousness of the Afro-American" (Lewis 143-145). Du Bois asserts that a black person living in a predominately white country has to learn to think with "two minds" -- his own and the white man's -- if he is to have any chance of survival. In an interview with Toni Morrison in 1989, the author recalls her inspiration for writing The Bluest Eye. What struck her as almost more heartbreaking than the lack of black writers in Western literature, was the fact that the black Americans whose books she had read seemed as if they were writing to a white audience, and felt it necessary to give explanations for things about black culture that they would never have to explain to her in normal conversation (LeClair). The example she gives is in the opening of The Bluest Eye: "Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941" (Morrison 5). In black culture, Morrison explained, "it means a big lie is about to be told. Or someone is going to tell some graveyard...

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