Short on time?

Get essay writing help

The Roles Of Character, Setting And Conflict In The Novels The Bluest Eye And Train Dreams

Words: 472
Page: 1
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

As Flannery O’Connor says in her essay on The Nature and Aim of Fiction, “the novelist makes his statements by selection, and if he is any good, he selects every word for a reason, every detail for a reason , every incident for a reason, and arranges them in a certain time- sequence for a reason.” By this definition, Morrison and Johnson establish themselves as good writers from the very beginning. In both The Bluest Eye and Trian Dreams, authors, Toni Morrison and Denis Johnson establish not only setting and character, which a good beginning should do, but also a sense of conflict that is carried throughout the narrative. Both authors establish their stories in correlation to historical placement, through which, readers are then able to better understand the stories meaning.

In The Bluest Eye, the author doesn’t start with Pecola, who is arguably the main character of the story, rather, she opens by showing the conflict of race, especially around 1939. Claudia and Frieda, both main characters in their own right, are denied access based on the color of their skin. Claudia's expresses a violent desire to “make red marks on her (Rosemary's) white skin” which establishes race and violence in the conflict. Claudia imagines Rosemary will cry while offering to pull her pants down, this introduces the oppression of women through their sexuality, foreshadowing the connection between sexuality and violence. Thus, establishing the through line.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

In Train Dreams, Johnson establishes the texts historical setting, starting with “In the Summer of 1917…” Readers are meant to understand this as a period marked by immense change throughout the West. Johnson places Robert Grainier right in the midst of the great Western industrialization, as a worker for the “Spokane International Railway”. Beyond the significance of this time period, the beginning also establishes the text as a tall-tale narrative. He opens with three lines of a matter of fact account of the attempt on a man’s life, which are then interrupted by “a rapid singsong streamed from the Chinaman voluminously.” This interruption takes us into the narrative and establishes both a factual and fantastical voice that carries throughout the text.

Both authors do a brilliant job of establishing character, setting and conflict within the first passage of the text. Their choice opening incidents set in motion the through line that unifies the texts. Morrison goes beyond and establishes a conflict that encompasses a larger message than that perceived by following a single character. A whole mood is established within the first paragraph of her text. It is dark and violent in response to issues of race and sex. In contrast, Johnson’s opening establishes his main character in correlation to the old virtues of the pre-industrialized American West. He uses a tall- tale narrative to associate his character to the everyday hardship of a changing American frontier.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

The Roles Of Character, Setting And Conflict In The Novels The Bluest Eye And Train Dreams. (2021, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“The Roles Of Character, Setting And Conflict In The Novels The Bluest Eye And Train Dreams.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2021,
The Roles Of Character, Setting And Conflict In The Novels The Bluest Eye And Train Dreams. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
The Roles Of Character, Setting And Conflict In The Novels The Bluest Eye And Train Dreams [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 08 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.