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Young Adult Lit WebQuests

Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye, is the story of Pecola Breedlove.  Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be beautiful, and in turn, be loved.  The story takes place in Lorain, Ohio in 1941.  Pecola is an African-American girl coming from a broken home.  Pecola's father is an alcoholic and he and her mother constantly fight both verbally and physically.  The story is told from the perspective of Pecola's friend Claudia MacTeer.  After Pecola's father goes to jail for some time, she goes to stay with the MacTeers.  This is the only time in her life that she is able to see what a "normal" family life is like.  Even though the MacTeers are poor-lower class, their family structure still has some sort of stability.  The fact that the narrator is a child has a huge impact on the novel as a whole.  The reader is better able to understand how much children are affected by their surroundings, something that we often overlook.  Too many times adults do not give children enough credit for being as perceptive to the world around them.  The little girls in the novel model their lives after their surroundings, like most children do.  Their sources of entertainment are white baby dolls and Shirley Temple films.  They are young African-American girls and have nothing in their lives to model themselves.  So, they are presented with a skewed notion that white is beautiful.  Throughout the novel, Morrison outlines issues of racism and child abuse as well as standards of beauty in American society. This is an important novel for mature audiences.  It would be most appropriate for young adults between the ages of 16-18.

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updated: February 14, 2007