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Essay on Narrative Voice in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

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The narration of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is actually a compilation of many different voices. The novel shifts between Claudia MacTeer's first person narrative and an omniscient narrator. At the end of the novel, the omniscient voice and Claudia's narrative merge, and the reader realizes this is an older Claudia looking back on her childhood (Peach 25). Morrison uses multiple narrators in order to gain greater validity for her story. According to Philip Page, even though the voices are divided, they combine to make a whole, and "this broader perspective also encompasses past and present... as well as the future of the grown-up Claudia" (55).

The first segment of each of the seasonal sections in the novel begins with Claudia's
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Obviously, this kind of judgment is far beyond the scope of a child.

The second voice in the novel, according to Peach, belongs to a black kinswoman who narrates the sections introduced by excerpts from the primer (26). She is an omniscient narrator who is able to provide a perspective that Claudia could not have given. She has access to information that involves characters that are beyond Claudia's immediate range of experience (26). While Claudia's narration is confined to the present and does not attempt to enter the minds or houses of the other characters, the omniscient narrator moves freely into both of these areas (Bellamy 23). She takes the reader into the Breedlove home in "Autumn" and into Geraldine's house in "Winter," and she enters the minds and lives of Pauline and Cholly Breedlove and Soaphead Church in "Spring" and the mind of Pecola in "Summer." In order to make her story more convincing to the reader, the omniscient narrator uses firsthand sources, such as Pauline's fragmented monologues, Soaphead's letter to God, and Pecola's internal dialogue with her imaginary friend. Thus, the reader can be sure of the accountability of the narrator's story.

The third narrative voice appears in the introduction and in "Summer," the last section of the novel (Philip Page 53). This narrator is an older Claudia who is "looking back and tracing the stages which have led to her maturity of
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