The Bluest Eye Literary Techniques

The novel shows the effects of racism in the early 1940s. The main character Pecola faces tragedy as she cannot be accepted because of her African-american origin. Below are some major literary elements the author uses in the novel:

Literary Techniques in the Bluest Eye

Different characters depict different tones in the book. The author has mainly used cynical and colloquial tones which have given the novel an anticipatory mood.

The cynical tone has been portrayed by Pecola, who accepts the world’s view of ugliness just because she had some black features such as her dark eyes. She fails to notice other exemplary features, such as her high cheeks.

Morrison has given the plot both colloquial and cynical tone as his intentions are clearly showing the real essence of the novel. His tone is sympathetic and explanatory, which provides you with a clear picture of how evident racism had been.

Morisson gives a vivid description of every characters’ happenings. When Pecola arrives at Mc Teers’ home “she drinks milk from a Shirly temple cup, drinking all three quarts of family’s supply of milk and she cannot seem to get enough to drink.

Or is it that she continues to drink the white goodness in hopes of changing her chocolate color to the beautiful fair complexion of the young child star featured in the cup?”

Themes in the Bluest Eye

The most common theme is racism that was in favor of whites in the story. The idea that whites are superior has been illustrated in many instances like when Claudia is given a white baby doll.

Pauline also prefers the little white girl she works for than her daughter, and many adult women hate the blackness in their bodies.

You realize the cruelty of whiteness brings the madness and tragic events that occur to Pecola. She believes that if she acquires blue eyes, she will be loved like everyone else and people will respect her.

The theme of satisfying needs versus suppressing them is also common in the book. Geraldine, who is emotionally frigid, prefers cleaning and other chores than getting herself involved in sex.

Pauline also does not have time to spend with her loved ones but would rather be working. The church condemns physicality, and this has made many women in the story to prefer objects rather than humans.

Analysis of the Blue Eye

The novel gives a clear picture of how black girls were treated just because they were not as beautiful as whites. Pecola faced many challenges and wanted to have bluer eyes than the other white children since she thought this would make her be accepted.

Her father tried to show her love, but that was not enough for her as everyone else disliked her.

Her fate was so unlucky because at only eleven years, her father raped her. On the other hand, her mother would beat and mistreat her as she did not believe her. This sort of environment led to Pecola’s rebellious unconsciousness since she grew up in a traumatized condition and was also a part of miserable life.

Oppression from the black people was ironic in that they lingered on Pecola, which reminded them of their ugliness and the hatred they had between themselves. For instance, on her way home with Claudia, a group of black boys spots them, and on seeing Pecola, they start shouting “black ghost, black ghost”. They express how they feel about themselves by pouring their hatred and insults to Pecola.

The Bluest Eye Analysis of Symbolism

Symbols are objects or characters that represent complex ideas. The novel has depicted many instances of symbolism. The book’s title symbolizes the beauty of whites as their eyes are either blue or green.

Most African-american people admired light eyes, and the author uses the color of the eyes to show how blacks disliked themselves.

Pecola believes that if she obtains the blue eyes, good things will start happening to her. By the end of the book, she has blue eyes in her mind, but people dislike her than before, and her problems are still not gone.

However, some characters have light eyes, but their fate does not go so well with them. Maureen has green eyes, but she is an aggressor who mistreats others.

The cat also does not fare well despite it having green eyes. This shows that you may have light eyes and still suffer a bad fate as interracial marriages may carry some slavery and other sufferings brought about by racism.

The Bluest Eye Symbolism

Morrison talks about flowers which represent the growth of a happy community and people. However, he specifies on marigold seeds that do not grow and are a sign of bad luck. For instance, Pecola’s child does not grow.

Also, most African-American people do not own a home as they have less money to take care of pleasant flowers. Those who own homes describe them as “hot-house sunflowers among the rows of weeds that were rented houses”.

The author also shows you that anybody can grow flowers in a proper African-American environment and make a proper environment.

The author also lists types of flowers such as fake flowers representing some characters who pretend to be nice but do not treat other people well. Claudia’s community is full of people who mistreat others, and the author states that the soil is bad for certain types of flowers. Nothing can grow in such environments because the stunted growth has been caused by racial prejudication.

Example Symbolism in the Bluest Eye

Movies also were an essential part of the African-American people. Various characters in the book admire different movie stars. Pecola admires Shirley Temple, a little girl with blue eyes who was extremely popular and liked by people.

Mr Henry teases Claudia by calling her Ginger Rogers, a famous movie white star with a white face. Ginger Rogers was a well-known dancer who performed in musicals.

However, in the African-American setting, these goals seem unattainable, especially by ladies. This was because of their ethnicity, and therefore they were supposed to change their ambitions as the society would not support them.


In conclusion, the book The Bluest Eye indicates how racism was common around the 1940s and how it affected African-American marriages. The most commonly affected were black females and life was hard for them.

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