About the Book

Toni Morrison Talks about why she wrote The Bluest Eye (1970) in the video below. 

Click here to see what some parents and kids have to say about The Bluest Eye.

The Bluest Eye Synopsis [SPOILER ALERT: We give away the ending.]

Ten-year-old Frieda MacTeer and nine-year-old Claudia live in Lorain, Ohio with their parents. It is the end of the Great Depression, so the girls’ parents are more worried about financial concerns than they are with giving their daughters attention. However, love and stability still exists for them in their households. The MacTeers take in Henry Washington and a young girl named Pecola, whose father tried to burn down his family’s house. Claudia and Frieda feel sorry for Pecola, who loves Shirley Temple and believes whiteness is beautiful and that she is ugly. Pecola believes that if she had blue eyes, she would be loved and her life would improve.

Pecola moves back in with her dysfunctional family. Her father, Cholly, is an alcoholic. Her mother is distant and has a lame foot. Her parents often beat each other. Pecola’s brother, Sammy, runs away a lot.

Pecola receives a lot of confirmation on her sense of her homeliness; the grocer looks right through her when she purchases candy, boys poke fun at her, and a light-skinned girl, Maureen, who befriends her for a short time, makes fun of her as well. Pecola is mistakenly blamed for killing a boy’s cat and is called a nasty name by his mother.

Cholly returns home one day and finds Pecola doing housework. He rapes her and leaves her unconscious on the floor. Pecola’s mother finds her and does not believe her story that Cholly raped her. So Pecola gets beaten.

Pecola seeks out Soaphead Church, a false mystic in town, and asks for him to give her blue eyes. He uses Pecola to kill a dog that he doesn’t like instead, fooling her into thinking that it will help her get what she wants.

Later, we find that Pecola has been impregnated by her father. Unlike the rest of the neighborhood, Claudia and Frieda want the baby to live. They give up the money they have been saving for a bicycle and plant marigold seeds, believing that if the flowers live, Pecola’s baby will too. However, the flowers do not bloom and Pecola’s baby dies in a premature birth. Cholly rapes Pecola again and runs away, dying in a workhouse. Pecola goes mad when she finds that everyone is looking at her, believing that her wish has come true and that her eyes are now blue.


Comments are closed.