Anti-Oppressive Education and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: The Bluest Eye, first published in 1970, written by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, deals with issues of race, racial self-loathing, white hegemony and abuse in many different forms. Implicit in the novel is the dual relationship between oppression and white hegemony, which is embedded in many social structures Morrison portrays. As such, this novel speaks to the educational requirements stipulated by the Swedish National Agency for Education, which state that the English 7 course in upper secondary school in Sweden is required to deal with societal issues, social conditions and, further, ethical and existential issues in different contexts and parts of the world. The aim of this study is, accordingly, to examine how these requirements can be met by means of a teacher-led reading of Morrison’s novel. Consequently, the study presents a project proposal based on a teacher-led reading of The Bluest Eye in connection to Kevin K. Kumashiro’s theories on anti-oppressive education. The study shows that using The Bluest Eye with the help of Kumashiro’s theories and methods on anti-oppressive education can help educators implement an anti-oppressive method in the literary classroom and lead to students gaining insight into the issues of oppression, marginalization, and privilege.

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