Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Intro: The Bluest Eye


Quiet as its kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father's baby that the marigolds did not grow. A little examination and much less melancholy would have proved to us that our seeds were not the only ones that did not sprout; nobody's did. Not even the gardens fronting the lake showed marigolds that year. But so deeply concerned were we with the health and safe delivery of Pecola's baby we could think of nothing but our own magic: if we planted the seeds, and said the right words over them, they would blossom, and everything would be all right.


It was a long time before my sister and I admitted to ourselves that no green was going to spring from our seeds. Once we knew, our guilt was relieved only by fights and mutual accusations about who was to blame. For years, I thought my sister was right: it was my fault. I had planted them too far down in the earth. It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. 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. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust and or despair. What is clear now is that of all of that hope, fear, lust, love, and grief, nothing remains but Pecola and that unyielding earth. Cholly Breedlove is dead; our innocence, too. The seeds shriveled and died; her baby, too.


There really is nothing more to say - except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.

by Toni Morrison

The prologue, all in italics, has completely captivated me. Banned Book Week is September 24 - October 1. The Bluest Eye is listed at number 15 on ALA's Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books. I hope to post a review sometime next week. How will you mark Banned Book Week?

Tuesday Intros is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.

17 comments:

  1. This is a book with powerful emotions that not everyone can take! But I'm still surprised that it was banned by someone.

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  2. This is a great book! My favorite of Morrison's I think. As for banned book week, I wish I could read quicker but I am too slow and already have some books in queue that I have to read!

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  3. This is a beautiful novel and I agree with reviewsbylola, my favorite Morrison novel. I'll post a review of at least one banned book, turns out I read quite a few from the list. I'm looking forward to your review.

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  4. I read this years ago and loved it. I'll be watching for your thoughts on it.

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  5. This intro definitely makes me want to read this one!

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  6. Harvee - I wish the lists included reasons behind the ban.

    Reviewsbylola - Can you believe this is the first time I've read Morrison? Banned Book Week has slipped past the last couple of years, so I really hope I can finish the book in time.

    Ivana - So glad to hear you liked this so much. I was surprised to learn it's Morrison's first novel. Will look forward to your Banned Book review!

    Darlene - So many people have read and loved this. After just 25 pages, I can see why!

    Kathleen - Isn't that intro amazing? I've reread it several times. The last sentence is haunting...

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  7. I loved this book! Your intro makes me want to read it again!

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  8. Staci - I'm beginning to think I'm the only person who hasn't read this book! 40 pages in now and loving it.

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  9. I'm with Staci--this is one of Morrison's most beautiful (and that's saying something), and now, thanks to you, I want to read it again. Great intro!

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  10. DS - Now that I've moved on from Stewart O'Nan, Morrison may just be my next author fixation... I'm loving this book!

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  11. I didn't realize The Bluest Eye was on the list. Guess I haven't perused the list for a while. I am pleased to say, however, many of the books on it my kids had to read in middle and high school. Makes me feel better. (And I live in Texas.)

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  12. I've read some Toni Morrison, but not THE BLUEST EYE. I hadn't planned to read anything intentional (i.e. on the banned books list), but I should add this to my wish list.

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  13. Midlife Jobhunter - I was surprised by them number of books on the list my kids had been assigned, too.... and happy that they seemed to enjoy them.

    Dawn - This is my first Morrison, but...Wow!

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  14. How sad. I've never read this but it sounds beautiful.

    I probably won't actually do anything for banned book week. We'll see.

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  15. I just can't read this book. I admire her, and her work, but I can't do it.

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  16. Toni Morrison's writing is so beautiful even when the topic is not. I loved this one because of it. I sure hope you are too. I'm going to do a Judy Blume book or two for Banned Books Week.

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  17. Carol - This writing is truly beautiful!

    Nan - I certainly understand your feelings... am starting to get a little concerned myself.

    Margot - I'm just in awe of the writing. About 10 years ago, I started Beloved but didn't get very far. Don't remember the writing being like this... it may be time to try again.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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