My students need 2 class sets of Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" in order to read a modern and diverse coming of age novel.
We love that to which we can relate. My students need a contemporary coming of age novel which will show them the joys and pains of growing up in a diverse family and world. They long for an imaginative format which will inspire and challenge them to seek new modes of expressing their own stories.
My students exist in a place which is a small town and big city all rolled into one.
While everyone on campus seems to know everyone else, at the same time, our students face many of the challenges (poverty, homelessness, unique family situations) which are characteristic of urban schools. The benefit of this circumstance is the incredible diversity of the student population. We have a huge number of English Language Learners and students with disabilities, studying and learning amongst other students of all races, nationalities, religions, preferences, and socio-economic groups. Because of this, students learn to co-exist with others who are both the same as and very different from themselves in every possible way; the culture of our school tends to be very open-minded, creating a safe climate for self-expression and self-exploration through and alongside academics. While conflict is a part of these processes, the benefits of the school's diversity definitely outweigh the hurdles.
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, is a beautifully painful coming of age story which I think all high school students should read. I have wanted to teach this book for some time now because I think that students need access to a creatively and brilliantly composed story about growing up as part of a socio-economic minority under less-than-ideal circumstances. This gorgeous novel explores race and family and friendship, while also describing what it means to face adulthood too early and to feel utterly alone and alienated while doing so. It charts the adolescent experience of finding, and sometimes, losing oneself, and questions how we become our adult selves. Since the writing focus of freshmen year is autobiographical narrative, I think that exposure to this story is critical for my students-- though fiction, it charts the inner workings of a young girl's mind and describes circumstances which many of my students face in a unique, engaging, and stunning way.
I truly believe that this novel could be the turning point in my students' lives.
I would love for us to give them the opportunity to experience this incredibly relevant work of art.
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|The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison • Barnes and Noble||$9.57||80||$765.60|
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