How Narrative Devices Convey the Theme of Love in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur


This essay focuses on the way in which three narrative devices expand upon three types of love depicted in Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye. The three narrative devices examined in this essay are narrator, paratext and the irony of the Breedlove family name. These devices all serve the purpose of conveying different types of love in Morrison’s novel and how these types of love affect the characters of the novel, especially the protagonist Pecola Breedlove. Narrator plays an important role because the narrative voice changes throughout the novel, shifting between Claudia MacTeer and a third-person omniscient narrator. This shifting perspective shows the reader how the types of love affect Pecola both through a child’s perspective and as well as through third-person narration. The Dick and Jane paratext contrasts the Breedlove family to white American ideals of familial love and happiness. Finally, the lack of familial love within the Breedlove family truly shows the irony of the Breedlove family name. The lack of love forces Pecola to internalize her self-hatred while the destructive, distant and judgmental relationship between Mrs. Breedlove and Pecola causes both characters to become delusional and dissatisfied with their sense of self. Friendship is the only place where Pecola finds love, shown to her by Claudia and Frieda; however, Pecola has already descended too far into madness for their love to help her. Although Pecola should find solace in the three types of love that are presented through the novel’s narrative devices, they all contribute to her disillusionment and, ultimately, her descent into madness.

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