Winter: See the cat... Notes from The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye Winter: See the cat...

See the cat . . .

An excerpt from a first-grade reading book notes the perfect white family with their perfect playful cat. This is in contrast to the cat described in the next section.

Women from the cities of Mobile, Aiken, Newport News, Marietta, and Meridian are described. They are all do-gooders, with homes in good black neighborhoods. They always have dinner ready on time, keep their homes spotless, and have their husbands' work clothes washed and ironed for their next wear. They adore cats more than any family member because the cat can appreciate and respect her cleanliness and need to keep things in order. One of these women is Geraldine. She has a son named Louis Junior, and her neglect of him for her cat makes him hate his cat, and even torment other children. Geraldine is concerned only with white things and does everything in her power to disconnect herself from being black. She tells Junior to only play with white children and she dresses him in white shirts with blue pants. "White kids; his mother did not like him to play with niggers. She had explained to him the difference between colored people and niggers. They were easily identifiable. Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud." pg. 87

One day, Junior sees Pecola walking home from school. He pleads with her to come inside his house to see his kittens. She agrees and goes with him inside his house, but once inside, Junior throws a big black cat on her when she isn't looking. The cat scratches Pecola's face and chest, and Junior laughs at her as she cries. When she goes to pet the cat and make it see that she is really nice, the cat responds kindly to her. Pecola is mesmerized by the cat's blue eyes. Junior sees this and thinks of his mother's relationship with the cat. He remembers how his mother neglects him for the cat. He takes the cat and swings it above his head. Pecola tries to stop him, and when she does the cat goes flying at the window. It hits the window, falls onto the radiator, and dies. Just as this takes place, Geraldine walks in and asks what is going on and who the little girl is. Junior immediately says that Pecola killed their cat. Geraldine sees Pecola's torn clothing and dirty, messy hair, and realizes what kind of person she is - one who Geraldine does not associate with. She yells at Pecola to get out of her house. Pecola leaves sorrowful and helpless, and makes her way home in the snow.

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