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Bluest Eye: Questions and Writing Assignments

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Bluest Eye: Questions and Writing Assignments

Post  Admin on October 1st 2008, 5:29 pm

The Bluest Eye
Daily discussions will be based on the questions listed below. Try to incorporate some of the activities and assignments in the structure of the daily routine. Softly in the background students will be listening to the voices of Lena Home, Billie Holliday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and the incomparable Alberta Hunter.

Autumn


1. When we first meet the speaker even before we know the speaker's name, what are we able to tell about this person?
Cite specific lines from the text to support your claims.
2. Who is Mr. Henry? Under what circumstances is he coming to live with the speaker's family? How did he immediately win them (the girls) over?
3. According to our speaker how is "outdoors" defined? What is the difference between being "out" and being "outdoors"?
4. Who is Pecola? Why did the girls take to her immediately?
5. How did the speaker feel about dolls? Was the same view held by the grown-ups?
6. What would have been an ideal Christmas for the speaker?
7. Read the two paragraphs found at the beginning of page 22 which starts with "But the dismembering . . . without improvement." Look particularly at the last line. What does it mean?
8. What was Claudia's mother's reaction upon discovering the missing milk? Do you think she knew what happened to it? Were the girls used to their mother's reaction? How could you tell?
9. How did the girls decide to handle Pecola's dilemma? What was their mom's reaction? After being enlightened did it change?
10. How was Pecola regarded after this incident?
11. Describe the history behind the Breedlove's house?
12. How did the new sofa become so well suited to the Breedlove's house?
13. Why did the Breedloves live in the storefront?
14. What was unique about the Breedloves? Explain in detail.
15. Analyze the relationship that existed between Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove.
16. How did the children cope with the stressful situations at home?
17. How was Pecola regarded at school?
18. How did Pecola feel once she had left the store? Can you relate to her anger?
19. Why did Pecola love China, Poland, and Miss Marie?
20. Describe these women by sayings and actions. How do you suppose they ended up in "the business"?
21. What is the story behind each woman's life?

Winter

1. Who is Maureen Peel? Why was she so well received by everyone?
2. How did Frieda and Claudia feel towards Maureen?
3. How did the argument between Frieda, Claudia, and Maureen evolve on the way home from school?
4. Why was Mr. Henry anxious to get rid of the girls when they arrived home?
5. Why did the girls decide not to tell on Mr. Henry?
6. Geraldine's background was described extensively. Why do you think it was so important to get a view of her life?
7. Why do you think Pecola let Junior talk her into entering his house?
8. What did Geraldine assume when she took one look at Pecola?

Spring

1. Why was Frieda crying at the beginning of this section?
2. Why did the girls seek out Pecola? Explain the logic behind their actions.
3. Contrast the views held by Frieda and Claudia with that of Pecola in respect to "The Maginot Line."
4. Why was Claudia so angry when hearing the little white girl refer to Mrs. Breedlove as Polly?
5. Were you surprised at Mrs. Breedlove's reaction when Pecola accidentally tipped the pot over? Why or why not?
6. Describe Pauline's childhood? How did her parent's regard her?
7. How did Pauline and Cholly first meet? (Read bottom of 91-92)
8. What traumatic incident shocked Pauline shortly after she met Cholly?
9. As time passed what happened to Pauline and Cholly's relationship?
10. When Cholly was told of Pauline's pregnancy how did he react? Were you surprised or not? Explain your answer.
11. When was Pauline truly happy? (Orally read from page 97 to the top of page 100)
12. What was the one thing that Pauline taught her children?
13. Does Pauline regard sex with her husband as a pleasurable experience? Cite specific instances from the text to support your statements.
14. What was Cholly's childhood like?
15. How did the loss of Aunt Jimmy affect Cholly?
16. Describe the incident which took place at the picnic. How did Cholly feel towards the young lady (Darlene)? How did Cholly feel towards the men?
17. Compare and contrast how Cholly was treated on the day of Aunt Jimmy's funeral with the day after.
18. Instead of going with Uncle O.V. Cholly decided to find his father. What was Cholly's reasoning behind this move?
19. Describe the encounter between Cholly and Samson Fuller, his father.
20. How did Cholly feel after he saw his father's reaction?
21. At this moment what were your feelings toward Cholly? Did you better understand him?
22. What aspect of married life dumbfounded Cholly and rendered him totally disfunctional?
23. As a result of this disfunction, what ultimately happened?
24. Who was this Reader, Advisor, and Interpreter of Dreams? Describe in detail his upbringing. How did he end up in Lorain?
25. Why did Pecola seek out Soaphead Church? What was his response to her request?
26. How did Soaphead Church ingeniously satisfy a personal whim through the pretense of justifying Pecola's request?
27. To whom did Soaphead address his letter, and why do you suppose he wrote to this particular person?
28. What analogy did Soaphead use in his letter?
29. What is he questioning?
30. Does he view his behavior as bad, or wrong, or in any respect evil?

Summer

1. As the summer rolls around in what lucrative venture, ironically speaking, do we find Frieda and Claudia engaged?
2. Read the section of dialogue found on pages 147 & 148. What was your reaction after reading this section?
3. What sacrificial offering did the girl render to procure the miracle, and what was the reasoning behind it?
4. Read orally pages 150-158. Who is the speaker? What has happened to the speaker? Explain the tragedy.


Journal entries/Postings

1. Who is your favorite or most interesting character?
2. What predictions are you willing to make at this time?
3. After reading the first segment of the book how would you describe the mood?
4. Is this the way you had envisioned the ending of the novel?

Assignments

Choose one. Work with a group or alone. Be creative. ome up with another idea for a creative response to the novel.

1. Create a two minute monologue taken from pages 97-100 which expresses all of the thoughts of the character in relation to how she felt about herself in respect to what she saw on the screen. Show facial expressions and then show the horror she felt when the tooth fell out and reality slapped her in the face?
2. Repeat the assignment using the final section of the book written into dialogue.
3. Create a scene with three young women using the dialogue found on pages 24-27 when Pecola makes the transition into womanhood.
4. Write a friendly letter to young Pecola and encourage her to develop confidence in herself.
5. Type an honest critique of the book. Select three specifics on which to base your critique.
6. Read another novel written by Toni Morrison, Sula, and compare and contrast the two main characters found in each work in a 500 word essay.
7. Visualize the scene in the book which most impressed you and sketch or paint the scene. The picture should speak for itself.
8. Gather five or six critiques and analyze them in essay format.


Last edited by Admin on December 9th 2008, 1:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Questions for Winter

Post  pbr on October 20th 2008, 12:49 pm

1. Maureen Peel is a young white girl that goes to school with Frieda and Claudia. She is well recieved because she's "perfect" and wealthy and cute. Everyone wants to be like her, so they respect her.
2. Frieda and Claudia want to be like her, but they also hate her because they're jealous. They start out thinking she's perfect, and then when she brings up the subject of a naked man (making her seem dirty-minded and crude to Frieda and Claudia) they called her "Six fingered dog-toothed meringue pie" and told her she wasn't cute. They lost their respect for her immediately.
3. The conversation between Frieda, Claudia, Pecola, and Maureen began with talk about movies and getting your period. Then Maureen asked Pecola if she'd ever seen a naked man. Pecola immediately said no and got defensive, and then Maureen started questioning her even more. That led to a larger argument between all four of them, with Frieda and Claudia defending Pecola. Maureen accused Pecola of having seen her dad naked and this led to the downfall of the entire conversation.
4. Mr. Henry was anxious to get the girls out of the house when they come home one day because he has China and Maginot Line (two prostitutes) upstairs.
5. They decided not to tell on Mr. Henry because Maginot Line didn't eat on any of their mom's plates (which was her rule).
6. Geraldine's background was described extensively to give the reader a view of what an "upper class" black woman's life was like. It was described as very polished and good-looking on the outside but broken and disfunctional on the inside. It's important for the reader to get a good view of her life because then we can see how even being in an upper-class family, it can be unfulfilling.
7. Pecola allowed Junior to lure her into his house because she wanted to see the kittens he was offering. He ended up throwing a cat in her face and pushing her down. Then he killed the cat and it was awful.
8. Geraldine assumed that Pecola was one of those dirty little black "bitches" who had nowhere to go and had broken shoes and torn clothing and weren't worth anything. She immediately assumed that Pecola didn't belong in her house or anywhere near her neighborhood and that Pecola had no purpose to live.

--Peter, Mary Grace, Hayley, Caroline, and Giulia.
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Autumn

Post  Amelia F. on October 20th 2008, 12:50 pm

1. When we first meet the speaker even before we know the speaker's name, what are we able to tell about this person?
Cite specific lines from the text to support your claims.
They are young, school age, evident by the line “School has started, and Frieda and I get new brown stockings and cod-liver oil.” The speaker has a sister, and she lives in a consistant world. She respects her mother, but doesn’t have a fond relationship with her.

2. Who is Mr. Henry? Under what circumstances is he coming to live with the speaker's family? How did he immediately win them (the girls) over?
Mr. Henry is the family’s boarder, who moved in with them after his previous host died. He wins the girls over immediately by doing a magic trick for them.

3. According to our speaker how is "outdoors" defined? What is the difference between being "out" and being "outdoors"?
According to our speaker’s definition, outdoors means there is no place to go. On the other hand, being “put out” simply means you have to go somewhere else.

4. Who is Pecola? Why did the girls take to her immediately?
Pecola is a girl who the speaker’s family takes in because Pecola’s father burned down her house, and she was put outdoors. The girls take to her immediately because it was clear that she did not want to dominate them, and they appreciated that.

5. How did the speaker feel about dolls? Was the same view held by the grown-ups?
The speaker doesn’t exactly hate dolls, but she does not understand them, does not understand the appeal they hold for other children. The adults, on the other hand, glorified dolls, and were confused by her reaction to them.

6. What would have been an ideal Christmas for the speaker?
An ideal Christmas for the speaker would have consisted the speaker sitting on the stool in her kitchen with her father playing the flute, and a lap full of lilacs.

7. Read the two paragraphs found at the beginning of page 22 which starts with "But the dismembering . . . without improvement." Look particularly at the last line. What does it mean?
The last line of these two paragraphs implies that the change the speaker is undertaking, to learn to worship Shirley Temple as opposed to hating her, was not necessarily a positive one. She understands that, while choosing to worship Shirley Temple will be easier for her, it will not improve her character in any way.
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Re: Bluest Eye: Questions and Writing Assignments

Post  Admin on October 20th 2008, 12:56 pm

Jeff, Meg, Allie, Kati
Summer


As the summer rolls around in what lucrative venture, ironically speaking, do we find Frieda and Claudia engaged?
1.Frieda and Claudia are selling seeds to raise enough money to buy a bike. In this chapter Freida and Claudia learn that Pecola was inpregnated by her father. The irony deals with the comparison of their selling of seeds and the seed growing within Pecola. Woah! It was confusing and shocking, questions arose on whether she truly was crazy or if she wasn’t. You feel sympathetic toward the character and you are shocked at what happens to her. Some feel pity for her and some feel sympathy.

Read the section of dialogue found on pages 147 & 148. What was your reaction after reading this section?
2.We were disgusted by the way the women were speaking of the child. Talking about how it should not be born because it would come out so ugly. The fact that they blamed Pecola for the baby was very shocking.

What sacrificial offering did the girl render to procure the miracle, and what was the reasoning behind it?
3.The sacrificed offering was the dog and when Soaphead told Pecola to feed the poisoned meet to Soaphead she was under the impression that she could render whether or not she’d get the blue eyes depending on the outcome. Soaphead wanted her to believe that he had supernatural powers when in actuality she was doing his dirty work. The reasoning was to make Pecola think that it really did work and that he really did have the power.

Read orally pages 150-158. Who is the speaker? What has happened to the speaker? Explain the tragedy.
4.Pecola is the speaker. She has gone insane and is speaking with her imaginary friend, a figment of her imagination. All of the bad things that have happened to her have led her to go crazy and truly believe that she has blue eyes and that every one else is jealous of her when in actuality they are glaring with disgust at her. It is tragic that she has twisted everything so much that she believes everyone hates her for something impossible.


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Re: Bluest Eye: Questions and Writing Assignments

Post  WKeller on October 21st 2008, 12:39 pm

SPRING

1.Frieda was crying because she didn’t want to lose her innocence, and to her it seemed she might have lost it because Mr. Henry touched her.

2.Claudia and Frieda search for Pecola to try and get whiskey.

3.Claudia and Frieda are afraid of the Maginot Line; she is “ruined” and something that they do not desire. Pecola on the other hand, views her differently. She sees her along with the other prostitutes as nice, caring women, partially because of her innocence which protects her from their truths.

4.Claudine was angered because, “…when even Pecola called her mother Mrs. Breedlove, seemed reason enough to scratch her.” This means that even referring to Mrs. Breedlove in the simplest manner, would be like referring to a god by their name, arousing anger. Pecola, not even being able to call her own mother “mother” or “mama” or “mom” just seems strange, but how this stranger is allowed to call her by her first name and get soothed, confuses Claudia. It endorses the view that the white girl is better than her.

5.No, I was not surprised how Mrs. Breedlove reacted to Pecola’s accident. After a long stressful day of work, it would be rather hard to control one’s temper against even their own child. However, if Mrs. Breedlove had reacted like that toward her employer’s child, it would likely cause her to lose her job.
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Re: Bluest Eye: Questions and Writing Assignments

Post  Atlantisbase on October 21st 2008, 12:56 pm

Spring

25. Pecola went looking for Soaphead Church because she wanted blue eyes. She knew that Soaphead was capable of granting wishes and capable of granting many different kinds of wishes. Soaphead’s reply was that he was an instrument which God used to perform his miracles. He told Pecola that he himself could not grant her wish for blue eyes. Soaphead told Pecola to offer the dog poisoned meat and if the dog acted funny then she would have her eyes.

26. Soaphead saw an opportunity to kill Bob, the mangy, old dog of his land lord. He called it a sacrifice, an offering. He had Pecola give the dog a piece of meat on which he put poison; thus the dog would be sacrificed and Pecola would have her blue eyes.

27. Soaphead wrote his letter to God. It seems he did this because he felt God had given him so much power to solve people’s problems yet He had not given Soaphead the power grant miracles. He wanted God to know who he was and what he had just done, given a little black girl blue eyes which only she could see, when He, the designer of the whole of creation could not or would not.

28. In his letter Soaphead used the analogy of a hotel room; one does not care for the room nor do the people of the town care who stays there.

29. On the surface he is questioning the power of God but deeper down he is questioning the morality of the lie. “Is it alright to lie is if it accomplishes some kind of good?” That is also part what Soaphead is asking. Soaphead also asks why he has to die for to do so would take him from his sexual pleasures.

30. Soaphead does call his actions bad, that is his sexual conduct with young girls, but he does not necessarily think of it as wrong. He feels it is a natural impulse which he carries out.
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SPRING, # 13-17

Post  katyreb on October 24th 2008, 12:43 pm

13. Does Pauline regard sex with her husband as a pleasurable experience? Cite specific instances from the text to support your statements.
Pauline used to regard sex with her husband as a pleasurable experience, but not any more. It used to make her feel strong, pretty, and young. It made her feel like she did when she first met Cholly. “I… [felt] those little bits of color floating up into me… [a]nd it be rainbow all inside.” But it wasn’t pleasurable anymore. Cholly would always come home drunk, which she hated, and when they had sex, it was violent, and forceful. “Most times he’s thrashing away inside me before I’m woke, and through when I am.”

14. What was Cholly's childhood like?
Cholly’s mother tried to get rid of him when he was a baby, but he was rescued by his Great Aunt Jimmy, and was rasied by her. His Aunt was caring, and made sure that he had what he needed. He saw his other aunts, uncles, and cousins sometimes, and other kids that lived nearby, but he never really had any friends. I think that is what was the most different between his childhood and that of other children was this, not having children his own age to hang with.

15. How did the loss of Aunt Jimmy affect Cholly?
The death of Aunt Jimmy makes Cholly realize how separate he is from everyone else he knows. Aunt Jimmy was the only thing connecting him to where he lived, but now that she was dead, there was nothing left to keep him connected. He was forced to be independent, and he made his decisions from that.

16. Describe the incident which took place at the picnic. How did Cholly feel towards the young lady (Darlene)? How did Cholly feel towards the men?
Cholly had a crush on Darlene, though I don’t think he had really had thoughts of sex up until the point where it happened. After being caught by the white men, Cholly became angry. He was hated himself, he hated the white men, he hated the situation in which he had put himself. But for the sake of himself, he channelled this hatred toward Darlene. He didn’t want to hate himself, he did not have the ablilty to hate the white men, for they were more powerful than him - “hating them would have consumed him, burned him up like a piece of hot coal, leaving only flakes and ash and a question mark of smoke” – and hating a situation didn’t give him a concrete thing to hate. So instead he sub-conciously made himself loathe Darlene, and everything about her.

17. Compare and contrast how Cholly was treated on the day of Aunt Jimmy's funeral with the day after.
On the day of Aunt Jimmy’s funeral, Cholly was taken care of. People showed him respect, knowing that he had just lost his caregiver. They pitied him, and so they were nice to him, they gave him what he wanted and needed, knowing there was no one else to do so. The day after the funeral, Cholly was basically ignored. There was nothing special about him anymore, people only felt bad for so long. They were now frustrated, their attitudes were “sharp”, Cholly was no longer a priority to them. No one watched him, no one kept track of where he was, and this made it easy for him to run away.
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Spring Questions #19-23

Post  Elizabeth Gombert on October 24th 2008, 12:47 pm

19. Describe the encounter between Cholly and Samson Fuller, his father.
Cholly finds a circle of men playing cards and gambling. He is struck by how each man holds his money differently (i.e. in his cap or wrapped around a finger). Cholly is extensively nervous, and has to ask which man is his father. His father shows no sign of affection toward his son. Instead, he returns to his card game and forcefully dismisses Cholly: “‘Tell that bitch she got her money. Now, get the fuck outta my face.’” Cholly’s father is cold. He does not want a flesh in blood reminder of his careless mistakes in youth.

20. How did Cholly feel after he saw his father's reaction?
Cholly is stunned. The reality of his situation is overwhelming to him. His mother ran away, his aunt (the only one who ever took care of him) is dead, and his father wants nothing to do with him. He is suddenly very aware of his surroundings. He slumps on a crate at the end of the alley and is horrified to find that he has wet himself. Emasculated and lost in a foreign city, with no family to support him, Cholly runs down to the Ocmulgee River and hides under a dock. He is a lost, lonely child.

21. At this moment what were your feelings toward Cholly? Did you better understand him?
Here we feel sympathetic toward Cholly. This entire section that tells of his childhood and life as a young man helps to flesh out Cholly’s character so we may better understand him. Previously, we saw Cholly as an “old dog” a “ratty nigger” for putting his family outdoors and for impregnating his own daughter Pecola. Now, the reader is sympathetic to Cholly and understands further how his youth led to his failed parenting and depression. It does not justify his actions, but knowledge of his past does help us to better understand why he didn’t care for his family any better.

22. What aspect of married life dumbfounded Cholly and rendered him totally disfunctional?
The appearance of children into his marriage dumbfounded Cholly. As a child, Cholly had never had a parental figure to guide him, to provide him love and support. He has no idea what sort of role a parent fills in a child’s life because he never had such a figure in his own youth.

23. As a result of this disfunction, what ultimately happened?
As a result of this disfunction, Cholly ultimately ends up raping his daughter. He does not understand how show and provide love to Pecola. He thinks: “What could he do for her—ever? What give to her? What say to her?” He is at a loss of how to act and so responds to his immediate desires, without paying sufficeint mind to his actions or the consequences of these actions.

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