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Title: TONI%20MORRISON


1
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The Bluest Eye
TONI MORRISON
2
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Feminist Criticism
Examines the ways in which literature (and other
cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the
economic, political, social, and psychological
oppression of women (Tyson 81).
Regardless of differing viewpoints on specific
issues, certain universal assumptions from the
feminist perspective are shared by feminists
3
Women are oppressed by Patriarchy economically,
politically, socially, and psychologically (Tyson
90).
Women are other, marginalized, defined by what
they (allegedly) lack what men (allegedly) have
(Tyson 90).
Anglo-European Civilization views women through
the patriarchal ideology tenants of good girl,
bad girl as in biblical portrayals, and Greek
Roman literature mythology and women as
irrational creatures by Western philosophy and
the reliance on phallogocentric thinking that is
male orientated based on vocabulary, rules of
logic objective knowledge by educational,
legal, and business institutions (Tyson 91).
4
Biology determines sex (male/female) culture
determines gender (masculine/feminine), socially
programmed behaviors learned, not inborn (Tyson
91).
All Feminist activities including theory and
literature criticism, has the ultimate goal to
promote gender equality socially, at home
workplace (Tyson 91).
Gender issues play a part in every aspect of
human production experience including
literature whether consciously aware or not
(Tyson 91).
5
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Feminism Literature Issues Concerns
Various Ethnic Groups Chicana, Asian American,
Native American, Latina
Feminist, African American, Marxist, Lesbian,
Post Colonial
Patriarchal Ideology, Sexism Beauty
6
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Traditional Gender Roles Patriarchal Ideology
of the American Dream
Patriarchal ideology suggests that there are
only two identities that women can have. It she
accepts her traditional gender role and obeys the
patriarchal rules, shes a good girl if she
doesnt, shes a bad girl. These two roles
also referred to Madonna and whore- view
women only in terms of how they relate to the
patriarchal order (Tyson 88).
It is important to be able to recognize when a
literary work depicts patriarchal ideology in
order to criticize it or invite us to criticize
it (Tyson 99).
7
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Patriarchal Ideology
Miss Dunion said that Mama should take me to
the doctor, because I might be ruined, and Mama
started screaming all overBut why were you
crying?I dont want to be ruined!Whats
ruined?You know.Like the Maginot Line. Shes
ruined. Mama said so (Morrison 101).
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Patriarchal Ideology
Neither did they have respect for women, who,
although not their colleagues, so to speak,
nevertheless deceived their husbandsregularly or
irregularly, it made no difference. Sugar-coated
whores, they called them, and did not yearn to
be in their shoes. Their only respect was for
what they would have described as good Christian
colored women. The woman whose reputation was
spotless, and who tended to her family, who
didnt drink or smoke or run around (Morrison
56).
9
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The Beauty Imperative
In all (fairy) tales, a beautiful, sweet young
girl (for females must be beautiful, sweet, and
young if they are to be worthy of romantic
admiration) is rescued (for she is incapable of
rescuing herself) from a dire situation by a
dashing young man who carries her off to marry
him and live happily ever after (Morrison 87,
88).
We were sinking under the wisdom, accuracy, and
relevance of Maureens last words. If she was
cuteand if anything could be believed, she
wasthen we were not. And what did that mean? We
were lesser. Nicer, brighter, but still lesser
(Morrison 74).
10
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Along with the idea of romantic love, she was
introduced to another physical beauty. Probably
the most destructive ideas in the history of
human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived
in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In
equating physical beauty with virtue, she
stripped her mind, bound it, and collected
self-contempt by the heap (Morrison 122).
It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if
her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and
knew the sightsif those eyes of hers were
different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself
would be different. Maybe theyd say, Why,
look at pretty-eyed Pecola. We mustnt do bad
things in front of those pretty eyes (Morrison
46).
11
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Questions
What role does Feminist Theory play in the novel?
How does Bluest Eye relate to Feminist Theory?
12
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How did Zora Neale Hurston respond to the
imperatives of a patriarchal society that
attempted to dictate her writing style and
subject matter?
13
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How do traditional gender roles influence the
characterization of Alice in Lewis Carrolls
classic tale, Alice in Wonderland and what
aspects, if any, of patriarchal ideology can you
identify in the portrayal of other characters
when viewing the story through a feminist lens?
14
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Toni Morrison Plays Herself
The Part of The Bluest Eye Played by Elizabeth
Hurley
Special Thanks to the following
http//www.oprah.com http//tonimorrison.newstrove
.com/Morrison, Toni. The Bluest EyeTyson,
Lois. Critical Theory Today
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