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Themes

Race and class are nearly inextricable in The Bluest Eye, since there were so many economic barriers for African Americans during this time period. The African-American citizens of Lorain that we encounter are mostly working-class folks who work in coal mines or as domestic servants for white families. The breakdown of community is another aspect of this theme, since many of the characters who identify with middle-class white culture feel the need to separate themselves from lower-class blacks, or "black e mos," whom they associate with criminality and laziness.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How do class and race intersect in the novel?
  2. Who is to blame for Pecola's fate?
  3. How does the Great Depression influence the conditions of the novel?

Chew on This

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

The entire town of Lorain, Ohio, is responsible for Pecola's fate.

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