Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview

JOHN N. DUVALL


Naming the Invisible Authority:
Toni Morrison's Covert Letter to Ralph Ellison

And all those people were me. I was Pecola, Claudia.... I was everybody.

Soaphead Church and his letter to God have occasioned a variety of critical responses. A fact generally overlooked in the commentary on The Bluest Eye, even in articles specifically on narration, is that Soaphead, because of his letter, is a narrator too. His narration is coterminous with his act of authorship. Since authorship is what Morrison herself stakes a claim to in her first novel, I want to argue that Church stands as a significant early figure in Toni Morrison's attempt to fashion a usable radicalized authorial identity. Growing up in the working-class town of Lorain, Ohio, where there were no black neighborhoods, Morrison's youth and adolescence were largely free of race consciousness. "I never absorbed racism," Morrison says in a 1992 interview. "I never took it in. That's why I wrote The Bluest Eye, to find out how it felt." Morrison's various accounts of her relation to her first novel invite speculation on how this fiction figures in a process of racial self-discovery that is indistinguishable from the act of writing.

Taken as an instance of self-fashioning, Church's letter to God reveals itself as a metafictional gesture that encodes Morrison's own ambitions and anxieties regarding her authorial identity. Church's urge to address God's

____________________
From Studies in American Fiction 25, no. 2 (Autumn 1997). © 1997 Northeastern University.

-239-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 270

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.