Toni Morrison's Literary Renaissance: The Black Women's Literary Renaissance

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African American literature has been sustained by the work of Black women. Their works have center the Black community and the era they were in. From Phyllis Wheatley in the slavery and freedom era to Lorraine Hansberry during the Civil Rights Movement, Black women have a significant role in the literature of the time. As the United States transitioned into the 1970s, a new wave African American literature was born: the Black Women’s Literary Renaissance. Wanting to alter the depictions of Black people, and specifically Black women, Black women writers began taking an intersectional approach in their writings. Led by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, the Black Women’s Literary Renaissance has produced a generation of Black women writers and stories …show more content…
In this novel, Morrison discussed racialized beauty standards and sexual violence that plagued Black women. The origins of this novel took root when Morrison was a child. In the foreword of the book, she discusses a childhood friend who told everyone of her dream to have the bluest eyes (Morrison ii). However, as a child Morrison did not understand how this was a byproduct of racial beauty standards. Instead she only thought of how repelling the girl would look with blue eyes (Morris ii). This experience was directly reflected in The Bluest Eyes. Written during the late 1960s when racial beauty standards were being challenged, the characters of Frieda, Claudia, and Pecola revived the story of her childhood friend. The white beauty standards that plagued the girl’s communities had a different affect on each one. Pecola; however, was the only who prayed to have blue eyes (Morrison 44). Through these characters’ it was Morrison’s goal to show the life of a child who was “ least likely to withstand such damaging forces because of youth, gender, and race (ii). Morrison had witnessed the damaging effects that white beauty standards had on young black girls. Although her friend had her better fate than Pecola, she still suffered from the negative beliefs placed onto her by these ideas. Thus, in order to contribute to the shift society was making away from white beauty standards, Morrison introduced this text. Yet, this was not the sole discussion occurring within the

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