Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison The Bluest EyeIt is a pleasant misfortune that, because of Toni Morrison's stature as an incomparably meaningful writer—fearless, direct, and weighty (without being obtuse), a writer's whose voice has changed the discourse of the American novel and decisively demonstrated the indispensability of American writers who aren't white and/or male, we tend (or I tend) to forget how utterly sublime is her prose. I could not be a bigger fan of the way Cormac McCarthy unreels those Melvillean sentences of sempiternal grandeur, but Jesus H. Christ, he has nothing on Toni Morrison.

And the maddening thing is, I can't really even begin to describe or categorize or parse just how her prose becomes this exquisite fabric. If it did not connote a certain foreboding and forbiddingness, I would compare it to the ruins of Machu Pichu—for like those great slabs, there is no place to stick one's knife into to wedge open a crack from which one can assess the inner workings of the architect's craft. Every word lies next to its neighbors as if they could not be parted. But it is not, or it does not seem to be, that Morrison selects the right words. It is that words seem to become right by her use, commensurate to her need, to their need, to ours.

But the grace of her prose is not a product of her diction or its effects—it is the product of a deeper, more holistic process of selection. I would not characterize it as word painting, for it is patently not, nor is it minutely realist—Morrison never seems to be hunting for a description or a detail as even the best (i.e. most exact realists) cannot entirely avoid doing from time to time. Morrison's words in fact disappear even as you marvel at their dexterity and appropriateness—one is quickly left with the emotion behind the words, but these emotions are not in the least raw, worked over by the perfection of her prose, and yet the lack of rawness does not in any way prevent these emotions from reaching a state of heart-clenching immediacy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Urgent, chose 2 topics , write shortly and mail to the hotmail account at the bottom.

(Character) The Bluest Eye and the destinies of
Pecola, Pauline (Pecola’s mother) and Cholly (Pecola’s father), all clearly show how individuals are discriminated and mistreated because of the colour of their skin. How are they described? Can you illustrate and describe your views of one or two of the mentioned characters? Feel free to compare all characters and also to draw parallels to our own time or some other historic event (The Civil Rights Movement).

(Plot) What do you think about the way the novel is structured? What about Morrison’s way of illustrating and telling the story through the eyes of many different main characters. Does this way of telling a story deepen the message of the story by illustrating the lives of many, and not only one main character? Can you find any similarities between the different stories?

(Message) Main lives, many destines, many tragedies, during different times are described and told in Morrison’s book. What about the main focus of the book? What is Morrison trying to say through the lives of Pecola, Cholly, Pauline, Frieda and Claudia? What is the theme and message of the book? What in it affected you the most? Did any specific moment stand out? Illustrate your opinions with examples from the book as well as society overall.

(Overall judgment) What is your overall judgment on the book? Illustrate and prove your point in a convincing, structured, argumentative and detailed manner.

mail to