two decades apart but light years distant in terms of class and caste. Morrison sets her novel in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Lorain, in the 1940s, was one of many northern cities attractive to Blacks fleeing the segregated South in search of jobs.
In interviews Morrison has said that the story stemmed from a conversation that she’d had with an elementary school classmate who longed for blue eyes. The novel’s central character, 11-year old Pecola, regards her black skin as ugly and therefore herself as not deserving of love and respect. She observes her mother, housekeeper for a white family, demonstrating more concern for her white charges than for her. Not surprisingly, Pecola fantasizes about having blue eyes.
Author Dorothy West was both the daughter of a former slave and part of the Harlem Renaissance. Martha’s Vineyard was home to West when her novel, The Wedding, was published in 1995. The Vineyard is also the novel’s setting for a “blue-veined” society wedding. Events leading up to the anticipated wedding allowed West to flash back to the lives of five previous generations of this family.
Find all three of these books in the Coffman Library.
*Based on a quote from Joyce Carol Oates
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