Monday, October 29, 2007

on a Toni Morrison kick!

This summer, I was on a complete Toni Morrison kick. I mean, I had heard of her before and I knew she was a well known African American writer, but I had never experienced her classics for myself. So, one day, I just walked into the Rancho Cucamonga Library and picked up her first novel, The Bluest Eye. As soon as I cracked open the novel, I fell in love with the idea of character, Pecola Breedlove. Pecola has these small, tight, almost beedy eyes and she hates them. When she looks in the mirror, she wants to be like Shirley Temple, the White girl whom all adore, with her pretty blue eyes. So, Pecola prays to God every night that she may have the bluest of blue eyes. Wow! I felt such a connection to the story, because growing up as a child, I was made aware of the fullness of my lips and then desired to have smaller lips like another girl in class. Pecola and I had a connection in that we both found insecurities in our appearences, which were inherited from our rich ethnicity. After being drawn into the story line, I fell in love with Morrison's writing style. She has a way of writing as if she is speaking directly to you. She invites all readers into the Black experience by exposing the struggle of that particular time, through her personal characters. It's absolutely beautiful. Another reason I loved this novel so much is because it adresses an issue so pertinent in our society today: The White standard of beauty. Here Pecola is, in the 1940's, wishing to look like Shirley Temple or the "pretty White dolls" she sees everywhere. Thinking that if she becomes beautiful her life will be better, but never understanding that beauty is not just one thing, not just what the "majority" says it is. And here we are, in 2007, dealing with the same ol' thing. Trying to make ourselves look as beautiful as those we see on television, following the White standard of beauty. In just the Black community, we see our female super stars dying their hair blone and wering light colored contacts. Losing weight to hide their natural curves; their hips and thighs, getting rid of that old school coke bottle shape. We continue to believe in one standard of beauty, which was taught to us. I think the significance of the story, or at least one aspect of it's significance, is to make aware the destruction of self we enter into when trying to conform to some one else's standard of beauty or anything else in life for that matter. After reading such a compelling novel, I read more of Toni Morrison's works this past summer including: Sula, Beloved, Song of Solomon, and Jazz. It is always inspiring to know that someone out there, who looks like me, has published and been recognized for such a talent as speech through creative writing. When I logged on to, it gave me lots of information on African American writers and where to retreive their publishings. Hopefully this has been informative or at least entertainging for you all to read, anyhow... keep reading!

Amber Rose Howard


Temporary Home

This blogsite is our temporary home while our website undergoes an extreme makeover of epic proportions (shifted septums, pacemakers, calf implants, dialysis, a fancy wig, contacts -- the works).

This was our old home, and while it is a bit dated, it's a good source of info regarding recent issues and the history of Prism Review.

Updates will follow regarding our new home. ETA summer 2009.