© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

Innocence Theme

Innocence is yet another quality that is primarily associated with whiteness in The Bluest Eye. When readers pick up a novel about young girls, they may expect to read about harmless crushes, long hours playing, and innocent crushes. But from the beginning, we see that the lives of working-class African-American children were far from innocent and free. Claudia and Frieda spend their free time picking coal with their families, while Pecola's innocence is violated soon after she begins menstruating. The novel seems to suggest that innocence is a privilege, not a given.

Questions About Innocence

  1. Who gets to experience innocence?
  2. Why is Shirley Temple innocent?
  3. Why does Soaphead Church desire young girls?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Innocence is associated with whiteness.

Whiteness is associated with innocence.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement