Study Questions for Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye



1)                  Who narrates this story?  What voices and points of view are used and how do they affect our understanding of the narrative?

2)                  What is the significance of the “Dick and Jane” opening?

3)                  Comment on the preface.  Who is speaking, from where?  What is the predominant metaphor?  What do we find out in the preface?

4)                  Discuss Claudia’s dolls.  What kind of dolls are they and what does she do with them?  Does she do this to anyone else?

5)                  Comment on the description of the Breedloves’ ugliness.
How does Pecola feel about this?

6)                  What is the significance of the scene at Mr. Yacobowski’s store?
How does Pecola react to this?

7)                  Who is Maureen Peal and what is Claudia’s attitude toward her?

8)                  Discuss the scene in which the boys terrorize Pecola.

9)                  How does the narrator characterize women like Geraldine?

10)             What is Geraldine’s reaction to Pecola?

11)             Discuss Polly’s upbringing and values.  How do the movies affect her?  What attitudes toward herself and her family does she develop?
How does she behave toward whites vs. toward blacks and why?

12)             Whom does Cholly identify with as a boy?  Whom does this resemble?

13)             How does the narrator describe Miss Alice and Mrs. Gaines on pages 137-9?

14)             How does Cholly react to the white men who interrupt him and Darlene?
Why does he react in the way he does?

15)             Discuss Cholly’s rape of his daughter.  How is this scene described?

16)             Describe Soaphead Church.

17)             Why does Pecola come to see Soaphead and how does he react?

18)             Discuss Soaphead Church’s letter to God.

19)             How do others react to Pecola’s rape?  What do Claudia and Frieda do?

20)             Whom does Pecola talk to in the penultimate section?

21)             Comment on Claudia’s concluding remarks on pages 204-6.

22)             What does Morrison emphasize at the beginning of her “Afterword”?

23)             Discuss the overall structure of the novel, and Morrison’s comments on it on page 211.

24)             Summarize Morrison’s discussion of her use of language on pages 211-5.

25)             What “problem” does Morrison address on pages 214-5?