The Bluest Eye Lesson Plan. Toni Morrison
The ideas looked at in Day 1 of The Bluest Eye lesson plan are ideas explored throughout the lesson. We read literary criticism for a deeper understanding of the novel and its early 20th century setting. We view and analyze Spike Lee’s Bamboozled along with clips from the two films mentioned in the novel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms and Imitation of Life. We read, analyze and artistically interpret Thylias Moss’s poem, “The Lynching.” Finally, we look at Langston’s Hughes’ “A Dream Deferred” before writing an essay on a similar idea in the novel.
The Bluest Eye
The Prologue; Prologue questions/Homework
--Teacher will pass out the handout for the prologue (the children’s primer) and prologue questions. Students will read it silently and respond to these questions: What is this simple story about? Where would you normally find these types of sentences? in what type of story? for what age group? ~Looking more closely at the narrative, is there something wrong with it? Point out everything you see that is disturbing or incorrect, and then comment on how this may foreshadow some story elements in the novel? What might it tell us about our protagonist, her life, her home, her community? (20 min)
Turn in analysis and discuss. Then move into the discussion on racism
--The teacher will pass out novels while students are writing their analyses.
What is racism? Does it still exist today? How do we see it in the communities of Los Angeles? Where
do we see it in our politics? How do you see it in the classrooms you’re in each day? How does racism
exist within a particular racial group, say amongst hispanics in the hispanic communities, or amongst
blacks in the Black community? Or even within a particular household? How is it possible for a group,
any group, to discriminate against itself?
The Bluest Eye
--Read aloud the prologue pt. 2 (“Quiet as it’s kept...”):
• Discuss the situation with Pecola, and have a student interpret the “plot of black dirt” image. What effect might the phrase have when used in reference to Pecola?
• Then move on to a discussion of our narrator? What is she like? Is she intelligent? Sensitive? Caring? We know she’s aware of the father who raped his daughter, but is she angry, judgmental, horrified?
• Why the focus on the marigolds? What might they be a metaphor for? [rebirth/renewal beauty/connection to the baby--life].
Read “Autumn” to “...without improvement” (23 middle). Note all the images of poverty, barrenness, and death that fill the first three paragraphs. Comment on how these images might clue us into the state of the Black community in 1941 America. What was America like then? How were black Americans treated? ~Explain the line, “So when I...not want me to die” (12 lower). What typically happens in nature during autumn? Why, then, is Claudia’s statement ironic, and what does it suggest about her character? ~Why does Claudia not like the blue-eyed dolls? What do blue eyes represent? Why does her mother think the doll represents her “fondest wish” (20)? How, even for black women, do “blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned dolls” represent all that is beautiful, and why does Claudia reject that ideal? Is it a standard of beauty that black children can ever meet? Is it understandable that she would want to destroy those dolls? Is it right for the adults to get angry when she does? ~Type “Shirley Temple” into Google search (click on Images). How is Shirley Temple like the baby doll? How, then, does Claudia’s eventual worship of Shirley Temple show a negative evolution, not a positive one? How might it represent a loss of identity and self? At least one page.
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