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Presented by Selen Onat Sıla Alemdar Denise Nart.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented by Selen Onat Sıla Alemdar Denise Nart."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented by Selen Onat Sıla Alemdar Denise Nart

2  Thesis Statement  Great Migration  Time and Coming of Age  Morrison’s Style ◦ Storytelling & Structure

3  In the novel ‘The Bluest Eye’ Morrison demonstrates through the character Pecola and her coming of age experiences, the power and cruelty of white American populations definition of beauty, by using structure as an aid for telling the story and building her story up on historical events.

4 1910-mid 1970's Migration of 4 million Southern African Americans to North A great shift in population diversity “Searching for a better life” Retrieved 8 May from

5 Retrieved May,8 from Retrieved May,8 from

6 SouthNorth Blacks had few rightsThey hoped to have more rights Sharecroppers, tenant farmers,day laborers Industrial occupations Lower levels of educational attainment More literate Stronger family-tiesLoneliness Farm mechanizationSearch for cheap labor How did the Great Migration affect the characters of the novel? Do you see any similarities between the migrations in Turkey and the Great Migration?


8  novel is divided into four parts: changing seasons  Pecola’s entrance into womanhood: ◦ incestuous rape, unwanted pregnancy, social rejection seasons.jpg

9 Connotation vs. Events in the book  Autumn ◦ leaves falling things dying things coming to an end  Spring ◦ signifying rebirth and reproduction  beginning -> pecola starts menstruating, which signifieds the possibilities of reproduction  she gets raped by her dad and also, the seeds she plans shrivel up and die

10  Pecola starts menstruating ◦ moves out of childhood quickly with no comfort from her own mother ◦ Absence of love Retrieved 8 May 2010 from

11  Pecola's friendship with Claudia and Frieda develops  Walking home with Maureen Peal and the other girls, Pecola is part of a community ◦ Does not last long  Maureen's rejection of Pecola represents: continual rejection Pecola receives from everyone Retrieved, 08 May, 2010 from

12  Pecola is raped by her father  The event ruptures Pecola's adolescence, ◦ tearing away from childhood ◦ into an adult sexuality she is not ready for  After the rape Pecola is disconnected from the process of coming of age Retrieved 08 May, 2010 from,

13  a pregnant Pecola turns to Soaphead Church, asking God to answer the prayer he has ignored: to give her blue eyes  baby dies before it is born ◦ Pecola takes refuge in a world of her own creation  Pecola: ◦ lost to the world ◦ trapped between childhood and adulthood ◦ broken

14  “We had fun in those few days Pecola was with us. Frieda and I stopped fighting each other and concentrated on our guest, trying hard to keep her from feeling outdoors”  “I did not want to have anything to own, or to possess any object. I wanted rather to feel something on Christmas day” What do this 2 quotes from Claudia make obvious?

15 Claudia Pecola  When Mr. Henry, the family's boarder, fondles Frieda -> Mr. MacTeer kicks him out of the house  Family able to cope with love  not only does Cholly Breedlove not protect Pecola, but he is the very one who violates her  Her family is full of negative emotions, aggressions become solid adults because of the love &stability of their family traumatized by the hardships of growing up

16 Morrison's Style Storytelling & Structure

17 Morrison employs “structure” as an aid for telling the story Morrison makes use of an unusual structure: Novel not written in a straightforward narrative Use of 4 structural devices

18 1) Use of an American first grade reading book - The story of “Dick and Jane” 2) Use of different narrators to tell the story - Claudia Macteer (as a grown up) - Claudia Macteer (as a nine year old) - Morrison herself (as an all–knowing narrator) - First person narration (Pecola & her mother)

19 3) Divison of the novel into 4 seasons (4 time sequences) – Autumn, Winter, Spring Summer 4) Further divison of the 4 seasons / chapters into several subsections, headed by unpunctuated lines from the”Dick and Jane” story

20 Excerpt from an American first - grade reading book Describes picture - perfect, American white family: - strong and nice father - warm and loving mother - clean–cut son Dick - pretty blue–eyed daugther Jane

21 The passage describing the family is repeated 3 times 2 nd time without any punctuations: “Here is the house it is green and white it has a red door.” (p.3) 3 rd time without any spaces between the words: “Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhiteithasaredd oor”(p.4)

22 Why does Morrison begin her novel with the fictional “Dick and Jane” story? Discuss why Morrison repeats the first paragraph, leaving out punctuation and spacing.

23 The Dick and Jane story represents the ideal american white family Very simple sentences are used to teach the children and the readers about the images of white perfection. Use of repeating paragraphs, full of fractured and chaotic sentences: - Prepare the reader for Pecola's chaotic life about to be told - foreshadow the chaos of the black girl's life.

24 The narrations in the novel do not come from one source, they come from several Narrator 1: Claudia (as a grown up) Narrator 2: omnipresent, all knowing narrator Other narrators: Claudia (as a nine year old), Pecola & Pecola's mother (First person narration) “Quite as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at that time, that it was because Pecola was having her father's baby, that the marigolds did not grow.” (Fragment of Claudia's memory set in italics, p.5) “When Cholly was four days old his mother wrapped him two blankets and one newspaper and placed on a junk heap by the railroad (...) Aunt Jimmy raced Cholly herself.” (Spring, p. 132) “We had fun in those few days Pecola was with us. Frieda and I stopped fighting each other and concentrated on our guest.” (Autumn, p. 18)

25 What is the purpose of using different narrative perspectives instead of just one narrator? How does it affect the reader?

26 Pecola = victim = unreliable narrator - Narration would be subjective and one sided Claudia, able to see how Pecola idolizes the ideal beauty of the white. The omnipresent narrator gives background stories and important information about the characters Reader is able to see every perspective of the story

27 4 chapter --> 4 seasons --> 4 seperate time sequences 4 Seasons = cycle Events have occured before and will occure again Autumn Summe r WinterSpring

28 “Quite as it kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. (...) For years I thought my sister was right: it was my fault. I had planted them too far down the earth. It never occured to either of us that the earth itself was unyielding” (p.5) “I talk about how I did not plant the seeds too deeply, how it was the fault of the earth, the land, of our town. I even think that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year.” (p.206)

29 The seasons are further divided into several other sections. Subsections are introduced by unpunctuated lines from the “Dick and Jane” story. Relation between the excerpt of Dick and Jane & the section that follows. Example: SEEMOTHERMOTHERISVERYNICEMOTHERWILLYOUPLAY WITHJANEMOTHERLAUGHSLAUGHMOTHERLAUGH “Her general feeling of seperatness and unworthyness she blamed on her foot. (p.110) (...) Into her daugher she beat a fear of growing up, fear of other people, fear of life.” (p.128)

30 Why are the seasons divided by the chaotic line-up of words of the “Dick and Jane” story?

31 The excerpts from “Dick and Jane” Show how prevalent and important the images of white perfection are in Pecola's life Higlights the differences between the world of the ‘perfect’ white and black

32  Ohiohistorycentral, Great Migration Retrieved, May 8 2010, from  SparkNotes Editors. (2002). SparkNote on The Bluest Eye. Retrieved, May 7 2010, from  Steppenwolf Arts Exchange (n.d.). Study Guide: Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Retrieved May7, 2010, from guide.pdf guide.pdf  Tolnay, S.E. (2003), Sociology-Ohio. The African American “Great Migration” http://www.sociology.ohio- on.pdf http://www.sociology.ohio- on.pdf


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