The Bluest Eye Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. The author states in the book’s Foreword, “Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was" what?

2. What does Pecola’s mother demand that Pecola’s father get out of bed and go get for her in their argument in Part II?

3. In speaking of Pecola’s father in Part I, the narrator says, “Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his” what?

4. What is Pecola’s father’s name, according to the narrator in Part I?

5. The author writes in the novel's Foreword that when she began writing The Bluest Eye, she was interested in the "far more tragic and disabling consequences of accepting rejection as" what?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to some critics, the three versions of the reader presented on the first page of The Bluest Eye represent three lifestyles presented in the novel. What does the first version represent?

2. Who can be seen in Part I as characters that face trouble assimilating into “white society’s standards of beauty”?

3. Describe the narrative style of the novel. Who narrates the opening passages before “Autumn”?

4. Describe the “Dick and Jane” reader presented in Part I. How does this excerpt change in each retelling?

5. What information is related to the reader in the brief italicized preface before “Autumn”?

6. What important symbolic images are presented in the opening “Dick and Jane” reader and the preface in Part I?

7. According to some critics, the three versions of the reader presented on the first page of The Bluest Eye represent three lifestyles presented in the novel. What does the second version represent?

8. How did author Toni Morrison perceive the Civil Rights Movement’s slogan “Black is Beautiful”? How is this seen in the novel?

9. Who takes control of the situation when Pecola suddenly begins menstruating in Part II? How?

10. What is the primary setting for the novel? How is the author connected to this setting?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe and discuss the character of Pecola in The Bluest Eye. Is Pecola the protagonist of the novel, or is the protagonist Claudia? Why do you believe this? How does Pecola’s character evolve from the beginning of the story to the end? How does her evolution affect Claudia and Frieda?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the character of Claudia MacTeer as the narrator of much of the novel. How old is Claudia in the opening of the narrative? Do you like this character? Why or why not? How does Claudia change in the course of the story?

Essay Topic 3

Define the term “foreshadowing,” and discuss different reasons that an author may choose to use foreshadowing in his/her narrative. In what ways does foreshadowing develop suspense? What foreshadowing is presented in Part I of The Bluest Eye? How does the author’s use of foreshadowing here affect the reader?

(see the answer keys)

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