Autumn: Here is the family... Notes from The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye Autumn: Here is the family...

Here is the family . . .

This section is preceded with an excerpt from a first-grade reading book. It describes a perfect white family that consists of Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane, all living in the very pretty green and white house.

The Breedloves are strongly affected by what others think of them. Others think they are poor and ugly, and so they think of themselves as poor and ugly, and do not strive for more. Furthermore, much of their beliefs that they are ugly stem from white American media, where what is defined as pretty means having blonde hair and blue eyes.

Topic Tracking: Beauty 2
Topic Tracking: Culture 5

Each family member deals with this ugliness in his own way. Mrs. Breedlove uses it to define what she believes she is, a martyr. Sammy uses it to inflict pain on others, and Pecola hides behind it. On Saturday morning, the family awakens only to have Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove fighting. Cholly, still drunk from the night before, does not want to get up out of bed to get wood for the stove. Mrs. Breedlove sneezes from the cold, and they start physically fighting. Cholly is an abusive husband, and Mrs. Breedlove, which is what the whole family calls her, thinks that it is her duty to send Cholly to Christ the Judge, where he will be judged for all of the sins he has committed. The two children deal with the fighting in different ways. Sammy often runs away because of his parents' fights. Pecola, on the other hand accepts them, and tries to endure the pain of the fighting. Pecola sometimes wishes that she would disappear, so that she would no longer have to deal with the issues at home. She often wonders why her brother never takes her along with him when he runs away. She thinks it is because she is ugly, and if she looked different, maybe beautiful, then he would take her. Pecola also wonders what is it about her ugliness that makes her so hated by teachers and classmates. She thinks that if she was beautiful, and had blue eyes, then there would be no problems, and maybe her parents wouldn't fight. "Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike." pg. 45

Topic Tracking: Beauty 3
Topic Tracking: Self-Hatred 3

For a year, Pecola prayed for blue eyes, thinking that if she had them, people would think she was beautiful. She walks down the street and admires the dandelions at the base of the telephone pole. Whereas most people think they are simply weeds, she finds beauty in them, and cannot understand how someone could think they were ugly.

Topic Tracking: Beauty 4

Pecola makes her way to Yacobowski's Fresh Veg. Meat and Sundries Store. Mr. Yacobowski is the white owner of the store. Pecola enters the store with the intention of buying three Mary Janes. When she reaches out to hand Mr. Yacobowski the money, he hesitates, not wanting to touch her hand. She thinks it is because she is black and ugly, just like the dandelion no one wants in their yard. She starts to feel bad for the dandelion, but then agrees with everyone else that they really are ugly.

"Dandelions. A dart of affection leaps out from her to them. But they do not look at her and do not send love back. She thinks, 'They are ugly. They are weeds.' Preoccupied with that revelation, she trips on the sidewalk crack. Anger stirs and wakes in her; it opens its mouth, and like a hot-mouthed puppy, laps up the dredges of her shame. Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth." pg. 50

Topic Tracking: Self-Hatred 4

Pecola unwraps her candy and admires the picture of Mary Jane on the cover. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, just what Pecola wants. Pecola thinks that if she eats the candy, then she will turn into Mary Jane. She walks home and goes upstairs to the apartment above hers. It is where China, Poland, and Miss Marie live. They are three black prostitutes that Pecola often enjoys talking to and being around. Pecola sits and talk with them for a while, asking them all about their lives and love. Marie tells her that she once was in love with a man named Dewey Prince. Pecola wonders what love is like and whether or not it hurts. She thinks about her parents and when they make love. Her father makes a lot of noises that sound like he is in pain, while her mother doesn't make any noise at all, as if she is suffocating or choking.

Topic Tracking: Culture 6

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