The Bluest Eye, a necessary novel

Imani Whyte, Opinion Editor

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is one of the purest forms of art. I read the book in one sitting, staying up all night to finish it as I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. Oftentimes, it felt like I was reading poetry and not prose. I simply couldn’t put the book down.

However, The Bluest Eye is by no means an easy read; it is about a young black girl, Pecola, in the 1940s who is physically, emotionally, and sexually abused, and she only wishes for blue eyes so people would care for her. Unsurprisingly, the book was banned for its sexually explicit material, but this material isn’t just gratuitous nonsense; it is all necessary for the creation of the story. 

The Bluest Eye touches on numerous negative effects that white society has on the black community. However, it focuses primarily on and skillfully describes an experience that many black people, especially black girls go through- the realization that you will never fit into white society. The novel implicitly conveys that beauty is based on whiteness, and is unattainable by black women, especially dark-skinned black women. The fact that black women lack beauty in the white society makes us prone to harm. We are seen as unworthy of humane treatment because we are not ‘human’. Realizing that we are not accepted into the dominant society, makes us confused, and causes us to question our self-worth, just like Pecola and the other black girls in the novel.

Although I believe everyone should read The Bluest Eye, it is undoubtedly a black book, and I feel that to fully understand and appreciate this novel you have to be black, specifically a black girl. This novel is a tragedy, but it also is a reality for many black girls. I have never felt so understood by a novel before. For a while, I have been waiting to find my favorite book, a book that would touch my heart and soul, and The Bluest Eye is that book.