Notes on Characters from The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye Major Characters

Claudia MacTeer: Narrator of the story, she is nine years old and lives in a green and white run-down, but functional house. Claudia and her older sister, Frieda, are supposed to be seen and not heard, as all children are, and therefore spend much of their time quietly observing events as they take place. Claudia despises the American ideals of beauty, which say that one must have blonde hair, blue eyes, and pink skin to be beautiful. She resents and even reacts violently to these ideals when she destroys the pretty white dolls given to her at Christmas. Pecola moves in with Claudia's family, and she becomes best friends with Claudia and her sister, Frieda.

Pecola Breedlove: Eleven year-old little black girl, who is plain and homely. By orders of the county, the MacTeers take Pecola into their home to temporarily take care of her until the county finds another home for her. It is here that she meets and becomes best friends with Claudia and Frieda. She is not happy with herself and longs for blue eyes, as they are symbolic of American white beauty. Pecola has a very difficult life growing up, as people torment her for being black and ugly. She is also raped by her father, and eventually becomes pregnant with his baby. However, the baby dies. Her mother treats her coldly, as she believes Pecola is ugly and is ashamed of her.

Cholly Breedlove: Father of Pecola. He is often drunk and beats his wife and children. He rapes his daughter, Pecola, and she becomes pregnant with his child. In one of his drunken stupors, he lights their house on fire and burns it down. He is an awful father, one who does not show love and who is often absent. His blackness angers him and leads him to believe he is ugly and does not deserve a better life. He uses his anger negatively by hurting those around him.

Frieda MacTeer: Older sister of Claudia, she is around ten years old. Frieda and her sister befriend Pecola when she moves in with them.

Mr. Henry Washington: Handsome older man who moves in as a border with the MacTeers. Previously, he lived with Della Jones, but her inability to take care of things due to her stroke forces him to look elsewhere to live. He is playful with the children in the MacTeer house, and somewhat too playful when he touches Frieda's breasts.

Pauline Breedlove: Pecola's mother. She is beaten by her abusive and alcoholic husband, Cholly. When Cholly burns down their house, Pauline is forced to move in with the Fishers, the well-to-do white family for whom she works. She adapts to their white ways and becomes the ideal servant. However, she treats Pecola in a cold and cruel manner, as Pauline is ashamed of her daughter's ugliness. Pauline herself, as a black woman, also believes that she is ugly. She tries to combat this by living in a world of fantasy, mesmerized by white Hollywood glamour and beauty.

Sammy Breedlove: Pecola's older brother, he believes that he is ugly because he is black. As a result, he takes his anger out on others by inflicting pain on them. He is also known to run away whenever things in his house get out of control.

Elihue Micah Whitcomb (Soaphead Church): The nasty old mystic whom Pecola visits. He hates to be around people, but has a disgusting fondness for little girls. She sees him because he is a healer, a teller of visions, a decoder of dreams, and a wish-fulfiller. She hopes that he can make her wish of having blue eyes come true. Soaphead fools Pecola into thinking that he made her wish come true, and she descends into a state of madness because of it.

Minor Characters

Rosemary Villanucci: Claudia and Frieda's white next-door neighbor. She lives above her father's café and has many things, including arrogance, good food, a nice car, and a sense of ownership that make Claudia and Frieda jealous.

Mrs. MacTeer: Mother of Claudia and Frieda. She is a strong woman who sometimes comes off as cold, but she loves her children dearly, and they know it. She works hard to keep their house nice. She hates American ideals of beauty and tries to teach her children that they have to have self-respect and self-worth.

Della Jones: Mr. Henry's former landlady. Her husband supposedly ran off with a woman named Peggy, because Della was too clean for him. After having suffered a stroke, Della seems a bit crazy and Mr. Henry looks elsewhere to live.

Peggy: A woman from Elyria. She is the woman whom Della Jones' husband supposedly ran off with.

Old Slack Bessie: Peggy's mother.

Hattie: Della Jones' sister. She is often made fun of, as she frequently grins absent-mindedly.

Aunt Julia: Della Jones' aunt. She is often made fun of for walking up and down the streets talking to herself.

Mr. Yacobowski: The owner of the vegetable and meat store Pecola goes to for candy. She buys Mary Janes there, and realizes that Mr. Yacobowski does not even want to touch her hand when she reaches out to give him the money for the candy. Pecola thinks he dislikes her because she is black and ugly.

China, Poland, and Miss Marie: The three black prostitutes that live in the apartment above the Breedloves. Pecola often goes up there and talks to these women. They adore Pecola and make her feel comfortable.

Dewey Prince: Marie's ex-boyfriend. She ran away with him when she was younger and she tells Pecola all about him. From this, Pecola wonders about love and what it must feel like.

Maureen Peal: New girl in school, she is a light-skinned black girl with long brown hair in two braids and dark green eyes. Classmates and teachers admire her, as her features are lighter than the average black person's. Claudia and Frieda are very jealous of her beauty, wealth, and charm. They even go so far as to search for and point out flaws that Maureen has to make her look bad, and make them feel good.

Bay Boy, Woodrow Cain, Buddy Wilson, and Junie Bug: Young black school children that torment Pecola by calling her names and harassing her. They are ashamed of their own blackness, and thus take it out on Pecola, whom they see as ugly as themselves.

Geraldine: A socially conscious middle-class black. She is concerned only with white things, and does everything possible to disconnect herself from her African roots. She mistreats her son, Louis Junior, as she prefers to give love and affection to her black cat with blue eyes.

Louis Junior: Son of Geraldine. He is neglected by his mother, who shows affection only to her blue-eyed black cat. Louis Junior is strongly affected by this neglect and takes it out on others, specifically Pecola.

The Fishers: The well-to-do white family that Pauline Breedlove works for down by Lake Shore Park. She is their maid, and she idolizes everything they have and do, including their perfect little daughter. Pauline even shows their daughter more affection than her own daughter, Pecola.

Chicken and Pie: Pauline Breedlove's two younger twin brothers. She took care of them while growing up, as their mother and father both worked.

Aunt Jimmy: Cholly's great aunt. She was kind and loving and rescued Cholly from his mother (as his mother was trying to get rid of him by leaving him on a trash heap). She raised Cholly by herself.

Samson Fuller: Cholly's birth father. He was never around, even when Cholly was born.

Blue Jack: Older black man whom Cholly meets at one of his first jobs. They become great friends, and Blue even becomes a sort of father figure to Cholly. Cholly loves and respects Blue, and enjoys listening to Blue tell stories.

M'Dear: An older woman who lived in shack near the woods, near Cholly's house, while growing up with Aunt Jimmy. M'Dear was a midwife and was known for her knowledge of herbal medicine. She was called in to diagnose Aunt Jimmy when she became sick.

Essie Foster: Fried of Cholly and Aunt Jimmy. Her peach cobbler is blamed for killing Aunt Jimmy, as she gave Aunt Jimmy a piece the night before Aunt Jimmy died.

Jake: Cholly's fifteen-year old cousin. Cholly meets Jake for the first time at Aunt Jimmy's funeral. They fool around together and meet girls.

Darlene: Cholly's first girlfriend and sexual partner. Their first sexual experience is tarnished when they are caught having sex in the woods by two white men.

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