Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

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message 1: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Happy Black History Month!

During Black History Month, we usually read a classic book by an African American author and this month's book is no exception - The Bluest Eye by Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison. This was Morrison's debut novel, first published in 1970. I volunteered to lead this month's discussion because I first read this book shortly after its original publication and I thought that it was astounding. I was eager to reread it after so many years to see if my opinion had changed.

I'm sure that many of you have read this book before. When did you first read it? Which of Morrison's other books have you read and which are your favorites? If this is your first time reading The Bluest Eye, please let us know. I'm excited to find out what you think about it!

Although Morrison is familiar to many of us, here's some background information about her:

http://www.biography.com/people/toni-...

And here is a video interview with Morrison discussing how she came to write The Bluest Eye

http://www.orchardwriting.com/blog/20...


message 2: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments The Bluest Eye is not a long book - just 206 pages, not counting the Afterword in my edition. The book is divided according to the seasons of the year. I would like for us to begin discussion the Introduction and the first section, Autumn, on Saturday, February 4. Do you think that you will be ready by then?


message 3: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I first read it in the early 70's as well. can't say exactly when though, but while in college. We keep a copy of this book along with most of her others on our shelves. My initial reaction was much the same, astounded. I'd never read anything like it.


message 4: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 15 comments This will only be my second Morrison book after Beloved, which I read decades ago. I'm thinking of this as my "first" Morrison book because I've had so much life since then that I'm basically a different reader this time.


message 5: by Atikah (new)

Atikah Wahid I only read it two years ago! And it was my first introduction to Morrison. Read more of her works since then


message 6: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments This is my second Morrison novel. I read Beloved a while back while in College. I remember being quite intrigued by her writing style and unique way of telling a story. So far I am enjoying The Bluest Eye. I'm done with Autumn currently so I'll pause there and wait for the discussion on the 4th.


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael | 432 comments I'm late to the Morrison party; this will be my second read of her books, having read God Help the Child with the group last year. So after this month I will have read both the first and the last of her current canon, which is kind of poetic, I suppose, but I have a lot to fill in in between!


message 8: by Monica (new)

Monica (monicae) | 438 comments I read this last year for the first time. It was my 3rd Morrison novel. I think this one was the most accessible so far. My favorite is still Song of Solomon though like Phil said upthread, it's been so long ago that it's really hard to judge a favorite as my reading tastes have likely changed. Looking forward to the discussions.


message 9: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 101 comments I read this in December so it is still fresh in my mind, and I too am looking forward to the discussions. It was my second of her books. Beloved knocked me flat a few years ago, and since then I've been wanting to read more. I hope to read Song of Solomon soon.


message 10: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I have to confess - I have never read Beloved. I am very bad at reading books in which parents kill their children. My favorite Morrison book is still Sula, but The Bluest Eye comes in second for me.

I think that most of us have probably heard that Song of Solomon is one of Pres. Obama;s favorite books.

https://theculturetrip.com/north-amer...


message 11: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2856 comments Mod
I first read The Bluest Eye when it was first published in the early 70s. I remember falling in love with Ms. Morrison's writing style and she is still one of my fav authors.

I have read all of Ms. Morrison's books except for Paradise. No special reason and the book sits lingering on my shelf. But will read as one of POC themes next month.

Because The Bluest Eye was my first book by the author - it has a special place in my heart.

I would have to say that Beloved is my favorite.


message 12: by Nell (new)

Nell | 34 comments I also read The Bluest Eye in the '70's as a college student. There were very few books by black authors available at the time and even fewer by Black women - hard to imagine that now!

Years after it's publication, Morrison wanted to rewrite The Bluest Eye. She felt so strongly about it that at an author talk I attended years ago she asked people not to buy the book! Her compromise with the publisher was to add an Afterword. I haven't read the book in decades. It will be interesting to see what I and others here with significant life experience between readings will think of it. And I am particularly interested in the Afterword.


message 13: by Monica (new)

Monica (monicae) | 438 comments Amina wrote: "This is my first time reading the Bluest Eye and my first time reading Morrison. (Yes, I have shocking gaps in my education.) The edition I'm reading is a fairly abused paperback from the 70s, lack..."

I don't think the text has changed. The afterword was the edition. I'll defer to someone who actually knows; but it sounds like your edition is fine. I do think the afterword is worth reading though. It's a peak into Morrison's mind.


message 14: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 03, 2017 02:23PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I did find an online version of the book that contains the afterword. The pages are not the same as in the print edition, but it looks like everything is included. The Afterword starts on p. 614.

http://data0.eklablog.com/supered2k/p...


message 15: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 15 comments My copy has an author's foreward that explains Morrison's reasons for writing the novel. She stresses that the main character of Bluest Eye is not a typical or representative African American girl, but is meant to highlight certain issues. From this, I infer that many (white) readers over-generalized the characters from the book or assumed that it was autobiographical. She also mentions that she experimented with fracturing the narrative in a way that she no longer feels was successful.

I imagine these are the reasons for the concerns Nell referenced upthread.


message 16: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 03, 2017 03:43PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments The foreword is included here too, if your copy doesn't have it. I did see a comment that said that portions of the foreword were previously published as the afterword to the 1993 Knopf edition. Can we talk about the foreword as well tomorrow?

http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/36/26...


message 17: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments Sure, let's talk about the forward as well!


message 18: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments Foreword*


message 19: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 03, 2017 10:56PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Let's get started!

In the forward, Morrison writes, "When I began writing The Bluest Eye, I was interested in something else. Not resistance to the contempt of others, ways to deflect it, but the far more tragic and disabling consequences of accepting rejection as legitimate, as self evident. I knew that some victims of powerful self-loathing turn out to be dangerous, violent, reproducing the enemy who has humiliated them over and over. Others surrender their identity; melt into a structure that delivers the strong persona they lack. Most others, however, grow beyond it. But there are some who collapse, silently, anonymously, with no voice to express or acknowledge it. They are invisible. "

But she points out that "In trying to dramatize the devastation that even casual racial contempt can cause, I chose a unique situation, not a representative one. The extremity of Pecola’s case stemmed largely from a crippled and crippling family— unlike the average black family and unlike the narrator’s."

Phil mentioned above that he felt that Morrison needed to point this out because readers were taking this book to be representative of Black life in general. Have you seen that to be the case with this or others of her books? Do you think that a forward or an afterword will effectively solve this problem?


message 20: by Sarah (last edited Feb 04, 2017 06:15AM) (new)

Sarah Weathersby (saraphen) | 261 comments I read this book some years ago and I don't remember much of the details. My copy has the "Oprah's Book Club" label on it. The pages are a bit brown around the edges.

Copyright Toni Morrison 1970.
Afterword copyright Toni Morrison, 1993.

I'll have to find Oprah's book list to see when I might have read it.

I had to find it on Wikipedia:
The Bluest Eye was the Oprah selection for April 2000.


message 21: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I have the Oprah copy also Sarah. My original copy is long gone. Oprah's choice of this book for her book club certainly brought it to a much wider audience.


message 22: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments I can see this being an issue with her other works as well. The way she focuses on a particular subject and show the extremes of a particular situation can cause people to think she is showing a representation of typical Black Life. So I too, believe that is why she felt the need to write the foreward.


message 23: by Dee (new)

Dee Maria (deemaria) | 9 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "Let's get started!

In the forward, Morrison writes, "When I began writing The Bluest Eye, I was interested in something else. Not resistance to the contempt of others, ways to deflect it, but the ..."


I'm always curious about who the audience is for this kind of forward. Black folks know that Pecola exists but is not necessarily the norm. Is it non-Black folks who need to be told?


message 24: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 101 comments I can’t imagine who would need to be told this. But I think it’s true what they say, that once the book is out in the world, it belongs to the reader. I’ve learned, both in sharing my own writing with others and with discussing books here on Goodreads, that people will walk away from reading something with strange ideas sometimes. There is a mixture of the writer, the story, and ourselves in what we take away from a book. So to Wilhelmina's question, I don't think an foreword or afterword would change that.

I'm also curious about what Phil said about her thinking fracturing the narrative wasn't successful. I read a library copy I don't have anymore, so will have to go look at the text online--thanks for the links!


message 25: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Another thing that she mentions in the foreword is the question of why it was necessary for Black people to so vigorously reclaim their beauty - the whole "Black is beautiful" movement of the late '60s-early '70s. She says

"The reclamation of racial beauty in the sixties stirred
these thoughts, made me think about the necessity for the
claim. Why, although reviled by others, could this beauty
not be taken for granted within the community? Why did it
need wide public articulation to exist? ...The assertion of
racial beauty was not a reaction to the self-mocking, humorous
critique of cultural/racial foibles common in all groups,
but against the damaging internalization of assumptions
of immutable inferiority originating in an outside gaze. "

In the video that was linked to up in the first post, she talks about the "Black is beautiful" emphasis of the literature of the time and says that she wanted to claim the story, before we all forgot, of those of us who did not feel beautiful, particularly the most vulnerable of us - the children.

I don't know how many of you remember when the "Black is beautiful" movement took place and what a huge change it was. Do you think that Morrison was right - that the feelings of Black people being so much less than beautiful might be lost unless they were captured in story? Or do you think that those feelings were more persistent than she anticipated? Is there a danger in keeping those feelings alive in story?


message 26: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 15 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "Or do you think that those feelings were more persistent than she anticipated?"

Yes, the feelings are persistent. As the parent of a five year old daughter, I can vouch that cultural messages on race and gender reach her with terrifying speed and effectiveness. My wife and I have to be both proactive and reactive to counter these feelings.


message 27: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 05, 2017 08:14PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments How does this schedule for the discussion look to you?

February 5 - 10 - Foreword, Prologue and Autumn - through p. 58
February 11 - 15 - Winter - through p. 93
February 16 - 21 - Spring - through p.183
February 22 - 28 - Summer, Afterword and General Discussion


message 28: by Janet (new)

Janet | 222 comments thanks, Wilhelmina
sounds like a good plan for scheduling.


message 29: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments Sounds good to me


message 30: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I don't think everyone approaches reading books with the intent to explore new thoughts and ideas. Some folks will merely take away whatever they find that reinforces already held firm beliefs. There's no logical reason to conclude any character in a novel, somehow reflects the experiences of an entire group, but some will invariably think so, or choose to think so.

In any case, I'd say the feelings you're talking about have proven more persistent than Tony Morrison had hoped rather than anticipated. Clearly, The Bluest Eye is an effort to address those feelings, but they haven't entirely gone away from within or without. That's certainly been my experience in raising my children and now grandchildren in ways I never would have imagined. At least there are a lot more positive images and but lately it seems more pushback on presenting positive images in commercials and advertisements. So, it's not a struggle likely to disappear anytime in the future.


message 31: by Myron (new)

Myron Brown | 81 comments One thing Morrison captures very clearly in these early chapters is the voice and thoughts of children. Especially how they are treated by the adult world and how they see the adult world.


message 32: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I agree, Myron.

Let's look at one of the techniques Morrison uses in the foreword and throughout the book to frame the children's world - the repetition of phrases based on the old children's reading book - Fun With Dick And Jane

For the lucky people who are young enough to have learned to read in the post-Dick-and-Jane era, here's what those books were like:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/68475/...

This technique has received both praise and criticism from Morrison's readers. What did you think about introducing the story this way?


message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael | 432 comments Your questions are making me think, Wilhelmina!

Wilhelmina wrote: "Phil mentioned above that he felt that Morrison needed to point this out because readers were taking this book to be representative of Black life in general... Do you think that a forward or an afterword will effectively solve this problem? "

My thinking is that the kind of person who spends time reading a forward or an afterword is probably not going to make foolish generalizations in the first place... but I suppose that is also a generalization! Still, a foreword doesn't seem like it would solve it, although perhaps it would get more people talking about it, or give folks a script to use as response to generalizations they hear other readers making.

I think the point she is trying to make about generalizing is already made in her book, though. I have only gotten so far as "Autumn", but it is clear that something grim is going on with Pecola's family that is not going on with Claudia's and the other characters we hear about in the book. The diversity of the Black community depicted in the book would seem to give lie to the idea that Pecola's family is representative.

I did think it was interesting that Claudia also struggles with white-centric beauty, in the way she is taking apart white dolls to see why everyone thinks they are beautiful. But she is clearly dealing with the outside forces of white racism and white-centric beauty in a different way, and seems mystified by this phenomenon.

Wilhelmina wrote: "Is there a danger in keeping those feelings alive in story?"

I think if there is a danger, it might be showing the internalized racism without showing the outside forces that created it. Ms. Morrison's long section on how the Breedloves think themselves ugly only mentions outside forces briefly (an imaginary "master" used as a simile, and a phrase about "every billboard, every movie, every glance"). And yet these bits seem like the crux of it to me. Without intentionally focusing on those two phrases, it would be easy to think that Pecola's family's conviction of ugliness was their own, something they just believed and sprang from themselves. But we know that is not how internalized racism works. I don't know if there are more examples of white racism/white-controlled beauty standards later in the book, but my thought is that if you "keep those feelings alive" by portraying them in this story, you would want to keep the white supremacist causality alive as well through depictions of individual white's and the larger system's messages of Black inferiority.


message 34: by Tender&Delicate (new)

Tender&Delicate (daughterofsarah) | 11 comments Thank you so much for providing the foreword. My book does not have this section. This is my second TM book. I am reading her collection this year, I stumbles across several of her novels at book sales and decided to read and collect them all over the next year. I've only read Sula so far and I loved this book. I am curious to know what became of her classmate that inspired this novel and the emotion behind its controversial content.


message 35: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 15 comments The Dick and Jane passages at the beginning remind me of when a child reads aloud something that they don't understand. First, they read it slowly, then they drop out the punctuation, and finally they run all the words together to get it over with.

I understand that the Dick and Jane passages provide some of the causation and background that Michael was describing in his post above, but to me the connection between them and the rest of the text is not very strong. I'm waiting to see how Morrison develops it.


message 36: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 101 comments What an interesting connection to how a child reads aloud, Phil.

Fortunately I didn't learn to read with them, but was close enough to the time of the Dick and Jane readers that they were still around and frequently joked about when I was young. They always reeked of brainwashing to me, so I thought this technique was inspired. I can see how it wouldn't have the same impact on later readers though.


message 37: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Hunter | 15 comments Interestingly, I noticed how Dick and Jane randomly showed up throughout my reading but I didn't pay much attention to it. In fact, I just assumed Morrison was using it as a way to show the reader the mind of a child. I assumed she wanted the reader to see that in the midst of the not so child-like issues mentioned, a child still thought like a child. Maybe she wanted the reader to still see the innocence?


message 38: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 07, 2017 07:27PM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Wonderful observations! I agree that the Dick & Jane intros provide a reminder of the outside forces of racism that are not directly shown in this book, but that underlie everything that happens. One thing that I did not notice the first time that I read this book is that those introductory D & J passages also give clues about the content ahead. I love what Phil said about the way that a child would read - the words running together, blurring, providing a backdrop for the story.

Morrison does not plan to surprise us with the outcome of the story. It's all in the prologue - the seeds that won't sprout, the child that won't live, the death of a parent. As she says, "There is really nothing more to say - except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how."

And with that, Morrison leads us into the "Autumn" section where we meet the two families central to the book - Claudia's family and Pecola's family. What were your impressions of these two families - both poor, but very different?


message 39: by TIFFANY (new)

TIFFANY ANDERSON (miss5elements) | 138 comments It's so good to be caught up again with the group! Toni Morrison is my favorite author of all time, precisely because of this novel - the first one of hers I've read & introduced to her in college. I've read almost everything she's ever written.

This time around, I have the audiobook & she's narrating. And to hear D&J in her voice is quite the something. You can hear the desperation the character's voice. I pictured a young Black girl, not only reading to memorize and learn, but one also trying to absorb D&J into her own life. I got the sense this was Pecola speaking & reading, repeating & obsessively trying to incorporate the book as a way to escape her reality.

I'm still making my way through the beginning of autumn, but their differences could be seen in degrees of cruelty. Pecola suffered cruelty in the most unimaginable way. But Claudia's family was cruel to the girls in how they ignored them, how the beginning of a cold was blamed on them. I got the sense that differences are but a thin line because the seeds are there, planted within the Black community and the right catalyst could bring out the worst.


message 40: by Michael (new)

Michael | 432 comments Tiffany wrote: "You can hear the desperation the character's voice. I pictured a young Black girl, not only reading to memorize and learn, but one also trying to absorb D&J into her own life."

That's a poignant image.

Another way I read the Dick & Jane piece was like a merry-go-round spinning off of its axis. Something supposedly "benign" became menacing through frenzied repetition. It felt like in horror movies when they show children playing and then the music takes on a distorted, sinister quality.

As for the families, I also see that there is a similar seed of neglect being planted, but I was particularly struck by Claudia's line that despite the neglect, she felt she grew up with someone who wanted her to stay alive. Pecola, in contrast, had a family of origin whose memorable days include those where they almost kill Daddy. It seemed like the difference was thinking of yourself as "invisible" vs. "malignant". I'm not sure which is easier to unlearn.


Latanya (Crafty Scribbles) (craftyscribbles) | 12 comments Just finished The Bluest Eye and Sula after spending decades avoiding her work. I assumed her work was depression porn and I didn't want to read yet another depressing story about my people.

While, yeah, the element was there, I'm glad I stop my personal boycott and read them.


message 42: by Wilhelmina (last edited Feb 09, 2017 09:56AM) (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Latanya wrote: "Just finished The Bluest Eye and Sula after spending decades avoiding her work. I assumed her work was depression porn and I didn't want to read yet another depressing sto..."

Glad that you did!

I love the variety of interpretations of the D & J sections. Listening to Morrison reading them sounds great, Tiffany!

One scene that stood out for me in this section is Claudia's fierce reaction to Shirley Temple and the white dolls that she received at Christmas. Rather than internalizing the inferiority of blackness in the way that Pecola did, Claudia reaction to white dolls was to rip them to shreds, seeking the source of their "specialness". She extends her destructive thoughts to white girls who were adored in a way that she was not.

"I destroyed white baby dolls.
But the dismembering of dolls was not the true horror.
The truly horrifying thing was the transference of the
same impulses to little white girls. The indifference with
which I could have axed them was shaken only by my
desire to do so. To discover what eluded me: the secret of
the magic they weaved on others. What made people
look at them and say, “Awwwww,” but not for me? The
eye slide of black women as they approached them on the
street, and the possessive gentleness of their touch as they
handled them.

If I pinched them, their eyes—unlike the crazed glint of
the baby doll’s eyes—would fold in pain, and their cry
would not be the sound of an icebox door, but a
fascinating cry of pain."

She is horrified by her own thoughts but they struck me as being healthier than Pecola's acceptance of inferiority.


message 43: by Missy J (new)

Missy J (missyj333) Wilhelmina wrote: "One scene that stood out for me in this section is Claudia's fierce reaction to Shirley Temple and the white dolls that she received at Christmas. Rather than internalizing the inferiority of blackness in the way that Pecola did, Claudia reaction to white dolls was to rip them to shreds, seeking the source of their "specialness". She extends her destructive thoughts to white girls who were adored in a way that she was not."

The white dolls scene also stood out for me. And it contrasted so well with Pecola's actions - drinking gallons of milk in the Shirley Temple cup to the dismay of Frieda's and Claudia's mother and buying the Mary Jane candies at the grocery store.
"Each pale yellow wrapper has a picture on it. A picture of little Mary Jane, for whom the candy is named. Smiling white face. Blond hair in gentle disarray, blue eyes looking at her out of a world of clean comfort. The eyes are petulant, mischievous. To Pecola they are simply pretty. She eats the candy, and its sweetness is good. To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane."



message 44: by Rosa (new)

Rosa (rosacastel) | 0 comments I first read The Bluest Eye as a teen and it immediately become my favorite book. I discovered it in a Chicago public library and it immediately touched me. I did not reread it again until I became an adult. Rereading it is always a haunting experience for me, mainly because of Pecola and her desire to be someone she viewed as superior to her. When I first read it, I remember feeling extremely sad for her wanting blue eyes and that she couldn't see her inner and outer beauty enough to love herself. I don't think I truly understood back then how events and influences in her young life shaped her thinking.

I've just joined the discussion but look forward to reading all of the comments on this classic, which is still my favorite book of Ms. Morrison's. Song of Solomon is my second favorite of hers.


message 45: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments We can start including our thoughts about the "Winter" section today where we see some of the divisions within the Black community caused by differences in appearance and social status. In this section, we are introduced to Maureen Peal. Maureen is described as "a high-yellow dream child with long brown hair braided into two lynch ropes that hung down her back.'" In addition to her appearance, she is also economically secure. "She was rich, at least by our standards, as rich as the richest of the white girls, swaddled in comfort and care. "

When I was growing up my best friend could have been described physically in the same way that Maureen was described, although her family was not more wealthy than mine. I was an ordinary looking little Black girl with kinky hair that my mother ferociously straightened and curled every Saturday night so that I could be "presentable" on Sunday morning at church. There was no question back then that long straight hair and light skin were superior. When "Black is beautiful" and natural hair burst onto the scene, I was one happy girl. (I was in my late teens.)

What did you think about Claudia's feelings about Maureen? Do you think that some of her feelings, and society's attitudes, about hair and skin color still persist?


message 46: by Felice (new)

Felice Laverne (navidadthelamour) Wilhelmina wrote: "We can start including our thoughts about the "Winter" section today where we see some of the divisions within the Black community caused by differences in appearance and social status. In this sec..."

I felt that Claudia's feelings about Maureen were extremely accurate, not only for the time period then but for now as well. TM was very incisive in the way that she depicted these racial separations, catalyzed by the class separation (on top of that), which turned Maureen into even more of a wonder for the three girls. What Maureen yells back at the girls after their argument, "I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!" is very telling of the divide that their skin colors made between them and of the color hierarchy at play. That color hierarchy is what brought out such strong feelings in Pecola and Claudia in the first place, so for them to be reinforced in such a way could only be damaging for them.

As for society's attitudes, I absolutely feel that they are still at play. Just earlier this week, someone who identified as "fair skinned black" remarked that I had dark skin. This took me aback for a moment, because I've never been labeled at as a dark-skinned person, but this person thought that I was. On the other hand, in graduate school, I got into a heated discussion with my best friend who was doing her MA in Kentucky and was miserable, because it was "the most racist place" she'd ever been, and she was desperate to leave. When I asked her why she was so upset, she remarked that I wouldn't understand, "because your skin is way lighter than mine, so you've never experienced anything like this."

I give those two examples to show that there is a hierarchy to this day. My skin tone is between those of the two people I've talked about here, and you can see their extremely different reactions to me.


message 47: by Latanya (Crafty Scribbles) (last edited Feb 18, 2017 09:17AM) (new)

Latanya (Crafty Scribbles) (craftyscribbles) | 12 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "We can start including our thoughts about the "Winter" section today where we see some of the divisions within the Black community caused by differences in appearance and social status. In this sec..."

I think she may still horde resentment towards Maureen. But, then again, Claudia appeared to me as someone who'd see a person as an individual than within their grouping.


message 48: by Missy J (new)

Missy J (missyj333) Just finished "Winter" and Toni Morrison painted such a powerful, tragic and sad scene with the cat.

Pecola was actually trying to save the cat from Junior's cruel and abusive ways. However, Junior's mother didn't see that, she only saw the dead cat and a stranger (Pecola) in her house. Immediately she cast the blame on Pecola, accelerated by the fact that she looked down upon darker-skinned people (she told her son that there was a "difference between colored people and niggers" (p. 87)) and that the cat held a special place in her heart (which is why Junior hated the cat). People get so easily blinded by contempt and anger. :(


message 49: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Poor Pecola can't catch a break anywhere. She is always at the bottom of the pecking order.

Junior's mother Geraldine was described as one of a particular group of Black women - cold and pragmatic, with no love for human beings and their physicality. These women seemed odd to me. Did they feel familiar to anyone else?


Latanya (Crafty Scribbles) (craftyscribbles) | 12 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "Poor Pecola can't catch a break anywhere. She is always at the bottom of the pecking order.

Junior's mother Geraldine was described as one of a particular group of Black women - cold and pragmatic..."


Trained to survive. Robots. Take care of house and home. Let the rest lay in their place. Their light-skin was their virtue in part to the "rest".


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