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Background Published in 1970 The Bluest Eye came about at a critical moment in the history of American civil rights Morrison began Pecolas story as a short piece in1962 it became a novel-in-progress by 1965 It was written as one can see from the dates during the years of some of the most dynamic and turbulent transformations of Afro-American life One of those transformations was a new recognition of Black-American beauty After centuries of coveting white dolls and decades of longing to look like Caucasian Hollywood stars and thinking that it was perfectly appropriate to do so Black-Americans began to argue for a new standard of beauty This new standard was meant to be racially inclusive allowing blacks to see black as beautiful but the need to argue for this new standard reveals how firmly the white standard of beauty was entrenched In a new Afterword to the novels 1993 reprint Morrison says that she got the idea for The Bluest Eye in part from an elementary school classmate The girl whose wish for the eyes of a white girl revealed her contempt for her own racial identity raised troubling questions about beauty and oppression As an emerging writer she remembered the girl and became interested in the mechanics of feelings of inferiority originating in an outside gaze Pecolas tragedy was not meant to be typical but by showing societal and situational forces working against an extremely vulnerable little girl Morrison hoped to get at a truth about those societal forces The effect is like speeding up film of a slow processby looking at the extreme case of Pecola we learn the truth about our world a truth that we are normally incapable of noticing The novel also set up many of the issues with which Morrison has been concerned ever since The style is fragmentarya kind of democratic narrative in which many narrative voices are
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