Pecola, an eleven-year-old black girl, is the protagonist of The Bluest Eye. Her family lives in grinding poverty in Lorain, Ohio.
By 1941, her parents’ marriage had turned bitter and violent. Cholly, her father, is an alcoholic and Pauline, her mother, prefers to retreat into the fantasy world of the movie theater. Surrounded by a culture that equates beauty with whiteness, Pecola becomes convinced that she is ugly because she has African features and dark skin. She prays to God every day for blue eyes, thinking that her family would suddenly become stable and loving if she were beautiful.
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrisons first novel, examines racism, sexuality, and growing up in a hostile world. The novel focuses on three young girls: Pecola Breedlove and Claudia and Frieda McTeer. Claudia serves as the narrator of the book and summarizes the plot: Pecola was raped by her father, became pregnant with a child that died, and went insane.
Cholly Breedlove is Pecolas alcoholic father that spends time in jail, works on a chain gang, and kills three white men before meeting Pauline in Kentucky. Pauline Breedlove is Pecola’s mother. A lonely woman, she is unable to face the pressures of the world; she often retreats to the fantasy world of the Movie Theater. She firmly subscribes to the notion that Caucasian features are the standard of beauty.
Furthermore Pecola’s parents, Cholly and Pauline, send their daughter to live with the McTeers because their own home has been destroyed in a fire Cholly started. Claudia and Frieda MacTeer are two poor young black girls from Lorain, Ohio. Claudia narrates parts of The Bluest Eye. Life is hard for the sisters, but their stern yet loving parents protects them.
After Cholly burns down his family’s house, Pecola comes to stay with the MacTeers. Frieda and Claudia quickly befriend her. Claudia resists the white ideal of beauty that entrances Pecola.
The two sisters are loyal to Pecola, defending her against the taunts of their classmates and truly pitying her after the rape. They try to save Pecola’s baby by planting the marigold seeds they had been selling to earn a new bicycle, but the flowers never bloom and Pecola’s baby dies after being born prematurely. After Pecola goes insane, they avoid her out of shame and guilt.Claudia and Frieda sense how much Pecola’s sensibilities have been shaped by the standards of white American culture: Pecola confides that she prays every night that God will give her blue eyes, which she considers the epitome of beauty.Pecola retreats further and further from the real world into madness, finally coming to believe that she has attained her wish for blue eyes.Bibliography:none