Deva Hardeep Singh from Okemah, OK gives their take on our latest #SarbatReads …
Five global Sarbat members crisscrossed the Atlantic Ocean via Zoom to discuss Toni Morrison’s book Saturday, November 21. It was a lively discussion about the angry story of an African American girl growing up in Ohio in the late 1940s. Morrison was a Nobel Prize winner and the storyline came from a conversation with a childhood friend. Discussing the emotional feeling of being hated, disliked, and having a secret desire of possibly changing something that would magically make you more acceptable to the world. Thus the title. “The Bluest Eye”.
In a round-robin way of discussion, each participant openly discussed their thoughts and feelings of the literary style of Morrison’s enticing manner of drawing you into an uncomfortable world. Yet as Sikhs many could identify with childhood bullying and taunting. Yet this was different, it was misogynistic, sexual, and racist. And it was from the eye of the viewer through a carefully designed way of writing delivered in dialogue. One of the participants noted that when it was in dialogue format, the text was not left and right justified, just left-justified, which made it a bit cumbersome to read. Yet it showed the intentional manner in which Morrison went to great depths to make this a literary classic that has lasted 50 years.
Even the subject matter included incest, rape, and abject poverty, as well as prostitution, the pre-pubescent characters had an adult nonchalant admirable egalitarian view of life about the colorful life surrounding them. While many of the Sarbat participants noted that this was not a feel-good book, it was still one that requires another thoughtful read to fully embrace the subtle messages embedded within the pages. The lively discussion allowed for deep introspection, deep listening, and open honest sharing while respecting the opinions of others. It was quite enjoyed by all.
It is with noting on a more Sikh reflection. This book brings home the truth that can be found in the Guru Granth Sahib Ang #490 “Says Nanak, everything happens according to the Will of the Lord; no one has any say in this at all.” Pecola, the protagonist perfectly reflects this attitude. The way she and her band of friends show equipoise in accepting the prostitutes is a perfect example of showing no duality.
It’s always fun with our book readings to try to find some tie ins with our Gurbani.
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