The Bluest Eye and Hounddog
I just finished reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I’ve heard Oprah mention it on her show a few years ago. When I saw it at this second hand bookstore, the Red River Bookstore, on Arthur Street, when I went there last month, I bought a copy. If you like reading, you should go visit this bookstore located at the Exchange District. It’s huge and there’s a large selection of books. They also have quite a selection of movies – DVDs and tapes. Well, anyway, Toni Morrison is the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. I don’t know how these authors do it. Just like Khaled Hosseini and Patrick Lane, she wrote about a very sad story and made her prose read like poetry.
The Bluest Eye is about 11-year old black girl Pecola, who prays for the bluest eye because she thinks that would make her beautiful. Isn’t that sad? In her Afterword in the book, Ms. Morrison writes about this girl in her elementary school and how she wanted blue eyes. This must be the inspiration of the book. Ms. Morrison also wonders at the reason behind the ‘racial self-loathing.’ Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak than what she was? Having brown skin, I remember when I was growing up how I thought that children with lighter skin looked prettier than the ones with darker skin. And I remember how my mother used to tease my sister that if she wanted to have a high-bridged nose like the white people do, she should pinch her nose with a clothespin when she sleeps at night. Ouch! 🙂 But you know what, I never wished for blue eyes or a high-bridged nose. I was quite satisfied with my brown eyes and ilong na pango. 🙂
What amazes me in The Bluest Eye is how Ms. Morrison was able to make the reader, well at least me, read about the rape of a child and feel like it’s not a hideous act at that moment but a tragedy and how she managed to develop the story of the perpetrator and make us understand, but not condone, the brutal act that he did.
Speaking of child rape, I saw this movie Hounddog, which stars Dakota Fanning. I’ve heard about this movie where she had to do a rape scene, and it was controversial at that time. I think she was only 12 when she made the movie. I also wondered why her parents let her do the movie. But, hey, I don’t want to judge her parents. And it actually bothered me at first when I found out that she and her sister Elle were offered the roles of the sisters in the upcoming movie, My Sister’s Keeper. I’ve already mentioned this in my book review. Dakota declined the role when she learned that she would have to be bald. I just thought that she didn’t have a problem accepting a movie where she would be raped, but she didn’t want to do one where she would be bald. But hey, again, she must have her own reasons, good, valid reasons.
Well, anyway, there’s nothing vulgar in the way Hounddog was filmed. The rape scene wasn’t graphic. The actual act wasn’t shown but was just implied. There were close-ups on Dakota to show the expressions on her face. There were no nude scenes. I didn’t even find Dakota ‘s gyrating hips as she sang Hounddog sexy. But, I mean, I’m a mother who has kids about her age. Maybe a teen-aged boy would find it sexy. 🙂
Did you know that Hounddog was a blues song before Elvis Presley made it popular? In the movie, Lewellen, Dakota’s character, has a friend who helped her cope with her tragedy by teaching her how to sing the blues. If only Pecola also had somebody who would helped her cope, maybe she would have had a better fate than what she had in the story.
And kudos to Dakota, she did a fine job in the movie. I think she’s grown up to be a talented actress. She’s been acting since she was what, four years old? And did you know that she’s playing the bad vampire Jane in the upcoming sequel to Twilight, New Moon? This is her first role as a villain. I guess she must have become a versatile actress, too, huh? Can’t wait to see New Moon. But of course, looking forward first to seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this summer. 🙂