Teaching Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

Each time I "teach" (and I use the word teach advisedly) The Bluest Eye to undergraduates, I stumble headlong into some reason why I would rather not.  It use to be the problem of Cholly, the difficult and very unsympathetic father who rapes or molests Pecola, which results in her pregnancy.  Although Morrison goes to extensive lengths to explain and illustrate how Cholly became himself, someone who would force himself on a vulnerable child who was his own daughter.

Not only do i know a Cholly, i have known many Chollys. The Bluest Eye is like a menagerie of alternate species, not so different from the rest of us but just different enough that we are willing to deny the related genealogy. Teaching this is like teaching Kafka's Metamorphosis. Who are those people? Who is that bug? Well they are you.

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