Spring: See Father... Notes from The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye Spring: See Father...

See Father . . .

There is an excerpt from a first-grade reading book. It describes a happy father of the perfect white family. The father is big and strong and plays with the daughter, Jane.

When Cholly was born, his birth mother did not want him. She tried to dump him on a trash heap by a railroad. His Aunt Jimmy rescued him and raised him. His birth father, Samson Fuller, was never around either. Cholly went to school for a few years and then quit so he could work. He worked in a store, sweeping, weighing, and cleaning up. This is where he met Blue Jack. Cholly loved listening to Blue Jack's stories (both real and made up) and Blue Jack became a sort of father figure to Cholly. Cholly grew up listening and watching black women conduct their lives (specifically, his mother and her girlfriends). When Aunt Jimmy got sick, she was examined by all sorts of people. They even called in M'Dear to use her knowledge of herbal medicine to try and see what was wrong with her. One night, Essie Foster came over to visit Aunt Jimmy. She brought a peach cobbler for Aunt Jimmy to have. The next morning, however, Cholly found Aunt Jimmy dead. From that point on, Essie's peach cobbler was thought to have killed Aunt Jimmy.

At Aunt Jimmy's funeral, Cholly played around with his cousin, Jake. They met girls, and fooled around. This was where Cholly first met Darlene. Cholly had his first sexual experience with Darlene, but it was tarnished when they were caught in the woods by two white men. The two men embarrassed Cholly and Darlene by making Cholly have intercourse with Darlene in front of them. Cholly's original longing for Darlene turned into hatred.

"Cholly, moving faster, looked at Darlene. He hated her. He almost wished he could do it - hard, long, and painfully, he hated her so much. The flashlight wormed its way into his guts and turned the sweet taste of muscadine into rotten fetid bile. He stared at Darlene's hands covering her face in the moon and lamplight. They looked like baby claws." pg. 148

Cholly thinks that Darlene may be pregnant. So, instead of sticking around to see if she really is, he runs away to find his real father in Macon. When Cholly eventually found his father, his father treated him with much disrespect and unconcern. It was not the encounter Cholly had hopes for. Cholly ran down an alley and sat waiting for tears to stream down his face. Instead, he soiled his pants, and in order to escape embarrassment once again, he ran as fast as he could to a nearby river and cleaned himself completely. It was after this point that Cholly realized he was free to come and go as he pleased and do whatever he wanted, whether that meant having a job or not, being kind, mean, gentle, or loving, or being drunk.

Cholly met Pauline Williams in this "godlike" state. When he met her, he was in love with her, but this wore off and all Cholly began to care about what drinking. Soon, they had two children, Sammy and Pecola. Cholly never had any type of parental relationship with his parents, so he could not even begin to know how to raise his own children. He was not prepared for the responsibility of married life, which included having children.

One Saturday afternoon in the spring, Cholly came home drunk and saw Pecola standing at the sink, looking helpless. He instantly felt an attraction and repulsion towards her. She reminded him of the first time he met Pauline, when she was itching her foot with her toe. And at the same time, she repulsed him for making him feel so worthless and unable to do or provide anything for her. Cholly raped Pecola that day on the kitchen floor, and in the midst, he felt overwhelmed with guilt that he had to stop. He covered her with a quilt and left her fainted on the floor. Pecola awoke to her mother staring over at her.

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