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Narrative Strategies of Toni Morrison’s the Bluest Eye

Author ZengZhiJiang
Tutor LiuMingJing
School Central South University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords The Bluest Eye Narrative Time Narrative Focalization Narrative Discourse
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
Downloads 594
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Toni Morrison is one of the greatest figures in the field of contemporary American literature. She was awarded the 1993 Noble Prize for Literature, which makes her the first female Afro-American writer so honored. The Bluest Eye, one of her earliest works published in 1970, has powerful influence in presenting the plight and struggle of black women who have long been silenced in a white and male dominated society. Meanwhile it’s also a representative novel in which Morrison constantly challenges the social, political, racial and gender prejudice and discrimination in American society. Up to now, lots of critics have made fruitful research on almost every facet of it, including the controversial theme, the poetic and characteristic language, the different and well-depicted characters, the plentiful and significant symbols and the special narrative devices.Among the different criticisms on this novel, most critics pay attention to the special narrative devices, but there are few critics who make thorough study on it. There is no critic, at least in China, who has studied the narrative devices of it in the light of one definite narrative theory. So, this three-part thesis attempts to analyze the narrative strategies of this novel based on the study of Genette’s narrative theory. Part One is a general introduction to Toni Morrison and her novel The Bluest Eye. It introduces the life of Morrison, her position in the literary field, the literature review of this novel. It also gives a general introduction of the narrative theory of Genette, one of the famous French narratologiest, and explains some important terms that are employed in the thesis. It also illustrates the significance of this study.Part Two is the main body of the thesis. In detail, this part analyzes the special narrative strategies of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in the light of Genette’s narrative theory. It is subdivided into three chapters:the dislocated narrative time, the different narrative focalizations and the variable narrative discourses. Firstly, the thesis analyzes the dislocated time, including the time order, time frequency and time duration, and finds that the narrative time in this novel is non-linear but spiral, and that the boundaries between past, present and future are blurred or even erased. Secondly, the thesis analyzes the different narrative focalizations of this novel, including zero focalization, external focalization and internal focalization, and finds that the focalization in it is often changing or even mixed. Thirdly, the thesis analyzes the variable narrative discourses, including the narrated discourse, the indirect narrated discourse and the dramatic narrated discourse, and finds that the narrative discourse in this novel is unstable and variable.Part Three is a conclusion of the thesis. Through the detailed analysis of the narrative strategies of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye from its dislocated narrative time, different narrative focalizations and variable narrative discourses, the thesis comes to a conclusion that The Bluest Eye is a very special novel for its unique narrative strategies. And the special narrative strategies of this novel not only widen but also deepen the theme. It also supplies a new perspective for the further study of Toni Morrison and her works. Toni Morrison is really "a master of narrative", who deserves her laurel as a Noble Prize winner.

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