Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

This book was difficult to read because of some of the scenes. It was a book I had to put down, ponder, and then pick back up. Surprisingly, Mike read it faster than I did (that rarely happens) but I suppose the horrors were enough to keep him enthralled.

I also love dandelions - the quote in bold is something I identify with!

Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye

"But was it really like that? As painful as I remember?"

"Dead doesn't change. . ."

"I had no interest in babies or the concept of motherhood."

"From the tiny impressions gleaned from one another, they created a sense of belonging and tried to make do with the way they found each other."

"...the joylessness stank, pervading everything. The stink of it kept you from painting the beaver board walls, from getting a matching piece of material for the chair, even from sewing up the split [on the couch], which became a gash, which became a gaping chasm that exposed the cheap frame and cheaper upholstery. It withheld the refreshment in a sleep slept on it. It imposed a furtiveness on the loving done on it. Like a sore tooth that is not content to throb in isolation, but must diffuse its own pain to other parts of the body - making breathing difficult, vision limited, nerves unsettled, so a hated piece of furniture produces a fretful malaise that asserts itself throughout the house and limits the delight of things not related to it."

"It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question. The master had said, "You are ugly people." They had looked about themselves and saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance. "Yes," they had said. "You are right." And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it. Dealing with it each according to his own way."

"Her [Mrs. Breedlove] voice was like an earache in the brain."

"...Mrs. Breedlove was not interested in Christ the Redeemer, but rather Christ the Judge."

"Thrown, in this way, into the blinding conviction that only a miracle could relieve her, she would never know her beauty."

"A sweet, endurable, even cherished irritation, full of promise and delicate security."

"The dandelions. . .Why, she wonders, do people call them weeds? She thought they were pretty. . . Nobody loves the head of a dandelion. Maybe because they are so many, strong, and soon."

"Anger stirs and wakes in her; it opens its mouth like a hot-mouthed puppy, laps up the dredges of her shame."

"Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth."

"We were sinking under the wisdom, accuracy, and relevance of Maureen's last words. If she was cute. . . then we were not. And what did that mean? We were lesser. . . what was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it important? And so what? Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. . . Jealousy we understood and thought natural - a desire to have what somebody else had; but envy was a strange, new feeling for us. And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us."

"Few people can say the names of their hometowns, with such sly affection. Perhaps because they don't have home towns, just places where they were born."

"The end of the world lay in their eyes, and the beginning, and all the waste in between."

"Fantasies about men and love and touching were drawing her mind and hands away from her work."

"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."

"He must never seed no mare foal. Who say that they don't have no pain? Just 'cause she don't cry? 'Cause she can't say it, they think it ain't there? If they looks in her eyes and see them eyeballs lolling back, see the sorrowful look, they'd know."

"I know he wants me to come first. But I can't. Not until he does. Not until I feel him loving me. Just me. Sinking into me. Not until I know that my flesh is all that be on his mind. That he couldn't stop if he had to. That he would die rather than take his thing out of me. Of me. Not until he has let go of all her has, and give it to me. To me. To me. When he does, I feel a power. I be strong, I be pretty, I be young."

"They were old enough to be irritable when and where they chose, tired enough to look forward to death, disinterested enough to accept the idea of pain while ignoring the presence of pain."

"Celibacy was a haven, silence a shield."

"We had defended ourselves since memory against everything and everybody, considering all speech a code to be broken by us, and all gestures subject to careful analysis; we had become headstrong, devious, and arrogant. Nobody paid us any attention, so we paid very good attention to ourselves."

"There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover's inward eye."

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