Will the Marigolds ever grow? : Race in The Bluest Eye and the Pedagogical Potential of CRT

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: The novel The Bluest Eye highlights different modes of racism that is relevant to engage with in today’s society. From a pedagogical standpoint, novels of this nature can enable rich and fruitful discussions about the implication of racism and how to counter it. However, its pedagogical potential is juxtaposed against the risks of presenting such explicit material to a classroom, and the consequential effects of migrating an African American novel to a Swedish subtext. A solution to this is applying Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework which from a conceptual perspective can preserve the integrity of the novel and enable students to actively engage with the text. However, the Swedish National Agency for Education (SNAE) lacks pedagogical tools for English teachers that want to address and counter racism in their classrooms which leaves a gap for those interested in working with The Bluest Eye. This paper aims to contribute to this gap by presenting how The Bluest Eye can help English 7 students engage with questions surrounding racism by applying CRT as a pedagogical framework. In order to migrate CRT to a pedagogical context rather than an institutional one, my focus is on the tenets of the theory along with counter narrative and storytelling. Subsequently, the findings of this paper highlight two aspects of the novel that are indicative of its pedagogical potential: the narrative strategies and the thematic elements which stress different modes of racism. The results also show that with CRT as apedagogical framework, students can gain a deeper understanding in the multidimensionality of racism through engaging with this novel. This paper indicates the strengths of applying CRT as a framework when working with this text by showcasing the richness in The Bluest Eye and providing pedagogical guidelines in teaching it.

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