9 terms

Bluest Eye Symbols and Motifs


Terms in this set (...)

Dick and Jane
the perfect family in contrast to Pecola's family; omitted punctuation = falling apart of that perfect ideal
The Seasons
passing of time; the contrast between the expectations of those seasons and the reality for the characters
Whiteness and color
Whiteness is associated with beauty and cleanliness, but also with sterility. In contrast, color is associated with happiness.
The Bluest Eye(s)
To Pecola, blue eyes symbolize the beauty and happiness that she associates with the white, middle-class world. They also come to symbolize her own blindness, for she gains blue eyes only at the cost of her sanity. The "bluest" eye could also mean the saddest "I."
The House
Homes not only indicate socioeconomic status in this novel, but they also symbolize the emotional situations and values of the characters who inhabit them.
The marigolds
Claudia and Frieda associate marigolds with the safety and well-being of Pecola's baby. They believe that if the marigolds they have planted grow, then Pecola's baby will be all right.

Another view, is that marigolds are strong and resilient. This strong resilient flower represents the African-Americans that survived over 400 years of the cultural genocide committed by the whites. The black people of America survived the middle-passage, survived slavery, and survived every other bought of oppression that occurred in America.
The Maginot Line
symbolizes Miss Marie, a large heavyset woman, who is nonetheless, not impenetrable, but human; the Maginot Line was a defense fortification in WWII that was easily overcome
The name "Breedlove"
The Breedlove family does not literally "breed love"; the use of the word "breed" also suggests the incest that takes place in the novel
Cleanliness and Dirtiness
Cleanliness is associated with the white world and dirtiness is associated with the black world as seen by Geraldine and Mrs. Breedlove