The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Aim: Why is it important to know the background information of book? How might the historical context of the Bluest Eye.

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Toni Morrison was born Chloe Wofford in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio Morrison grew up with a love of literature and received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and her masters degree from Cornell University she married Harold Morrison, an architect from Jamaica, and gave birth two two sons; the marriage lasted 6 years she then moved to New York and became an editor at Random House, specializing in black fiction; this lonely time is when she began working on her first novel, The Bluest Eye Morrison was a professor at Yale and the State University of New York at Albany and now teaches creative writing at Princeton University In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature Toni Morrison

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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Aim: Why is it important to know the background information of book? How might the historical context of the Bluest Eye effect the plot and theme? What are American cultural values and how did they change from the past to present day? Do Now: Name a book or a movie that was influenced by its historical context. How did the history impact the theme or plot of the book or movie? For example, The Diary of Anne Frank was influenced by the holocaust. What do you notice about this picture? Toni Morrison was born Chloe Wofford in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio Morrison grew up with a love of literature and received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and her masters degree from Cornell University she married Harold Morrison, an architect from Jamaica, and gave birth two two sons; the marriage lasted 6 years she then moved to New York and became an editor at Random House, specializing in black fiction; this lonely time is when she began working on her first novel, The Bluest Eye Morrison was a professor at Yale and the State University of New York at Albany and now teaches creative writing at Princeton University In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature Toni Morrison Historical Context The Bluest Eye was published in 1970, but the setting of the novel takes place in 1941, in the aftermath of the Great Depression (1929-late 1930s) and during WWII (1939) Three main events: 1) the Great Depression, 2) Segregation and Racism in the South, 3) Black is Beautiful The Great Depression 1929-late 1930s The Great Depression a worldwide economic downturn starting in most places in 1929 and ending in the late 1930s the stock market crashed in October, 1929 beginning a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profiles, and plunging farm incomes industries that suffered the most included agriculture, mining, and logging the novel takes place in Cleveland, Ohio where the unemployment rate was 60% and in Toledo, Ohio it was 80% there were 2 million homeless people migrating around the country over 60% of Americans were categorized as poor in 1933 New York social workers reported that 25% of all schoolchildren were malnourished Racial Segregation Racial Segregation Racial segregation is the separation of different racial groups in daily life, such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a rest room, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home Racism against Blacks was strong as ever in the Southern states Many blacks migrated to Northern cities during WWII and the depression Those that stayed were subject to lower pay and unequal treatment Jim Crow laws still mandated that blacks and whites be segregated With the help of civil rights activists, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, segregation had been declared unconstitutional in 1968 Toni Morrison began writing her novel in 1970, when the Black Power and Black is Beautiful movement began to take place Black is Beautiful 1960s s Black is Beautiful a cultural movement in the United States of America beginning in the 1960s that aims to get rid of the notion that black peoples natural features such as skin color, facial features and hair are inherently ugly John Sweat Rock was the first to coin the famous phrase "Black is Beautiful." The movement asked that men and women stop straightening their hair and attempting to lighten or bleach their skin The prevailing idea in American culture was that black features are less attractive or desirable than white features The movement is largely responsible for the popularity of the Afro it gave a generation of African Americans the courage to feel good about who they are and how they look. Other Historical Events World War II: the deadliest conflict of history taking place between the years involving a majority of the worlds nations. Over 70 million people were killed. Autobiographical Elments The Bluest Eye contains a number of autobiographical elements: its set in a town where Morrison grew up it is told from the point of view of a nine-year-old, the age Morrison would have been the year the novel takes place (1941) Like the MacTeer family, Morrisons family struggled to make ends meet during the Great Depression the novel developed out of a conversation she had in elementary school with a little girl, who longed for blue eyes she was still thinking about this conversation in the 1960s, when the Black is Beautiful movement was working to reclaim African-American beauty and this is when she began writing The Bluest Eye

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