Bluest Eye

Bluest Eye Metaphors and Similes

Dropping Seeds (Metaphor)

“We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola's father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt” (Morrison 3).

Claudia uses a metaphor to compare her and Frieda dropping and planting their marigold seeds into their little section of garden space to Cholly raping and depositing his sperm into his daughter Pecola’s dark body. This metaphor helps to establish Claudia using the marigolds as a symbol for Pecola’s baby, and later for Pecola herself.

Cholly the Animal (Metaphor)

“Cholly Breedlove, then, a renting black, having put his family outdoors, had catapulted himself beyond the reaches of human consideration. He had joined the animals; was, indeed, an old dog, a snake…” (Morrison 11).

Cholly has a terrible reputation in Lorain’s black community, as evidenced in this quote. When Cholly sets his family’s house on fire in a drunken episode, thus making them all homeless, his reputation falls to new depths. In his neighbors’ eyes, he no longer deserves the respect given to humans, and is now on the same level as an animal. This degrading comparison of Cholly to a beast underscores his upcoming senseless and beastly rape of his daughter. At that point, Cholly truly becomes the dog, the snake, the senseless animal his neighbors accuse him of being.

Desperate Birds (Simile)

“Propertied black people spent all their energies, all their love, on their nests. Like frenzied, desperate birds, they overdecorated everything; fussed and fidgeted over their hard-won homes…” (Morrison 11)

Property, and having a place to call their own, is of critical importance to the black people in The Bluest Eye. In this quote a simile is used to compare black people who own their houses to frenzied, anxious, and rapidly-moving birds who frantically try to create the perfect nest egg. This is juxtaposed with the behavior of black people like the Breedloves, who only rent their house, and thus are careless and perfunctory in their treatment of their living spaces.

Flies (Simile)

“Like flies they hovered; like flies they settled. And this one had settled in her house” (Morrison 70).

When Geraldine finds the awkward and dark-skinned Pecola in her living room, she sees what society and Pecola see—an ugly and disheveled black girl with no class or propriety. She compares Pecola to a distinct type of little black girl she has seen all her life, the complete opposite of herself, and uses a simile to compare those impoverished, messy and lost girls to flies. To most humans, flies are bothersome and unwanted vermin, and that’s what Geraldine equates Pecola to.

Horses (Simile)

“When he got to me he said now these here women you don't have any trouble with. They deliver right away and with no pain. Just like horses” (Morrison 95).

This quote is taken from the narrator’s recounting of Pauline Breedlove’s past, particularly when she’s giving birth to Pecola. Pauline’s doctor uses a simile to compare her to a horse because of the perceived ease black women purportedly have when giving birth. The dehumanizing comparison of black women to livestock has a long legacy in America’s social history, one that Morrison is alluding to in this quote.