Maureen tells them they are "Mammy made. As the fight continues, Pecola "tucked her head in--a funny, sad, helpless movement. She accuses Maureen of thinking she is cute. Maureen runs across the street and taunts them "I am cute! And you ugly!
Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!
"The Bluest Eye" lesson plans
As she runs down the street, her green stockings look like dandelion stems that had somehow lost their heads. The girls yell out to her their made-up name for her "Six-finger-dog-tooth-meringue-pie. She wants to "open her up, crisp her edges, ram a stick down that hunched and curving spine, force her to stand erect and spit the misery out on the streets. Claudia and Frieda say good-bye to Pecola and head for home. When they arrive, they smell turnips cooking on the stove and call out for their mother. Henry comes down in his bathrobe and tells them their mother will be home later, but left instructions for them to turn down the turnips and eat graham crackers.
In a while, he comes back down and gives them a quarter for going to get ice cream. They make their purchases and hurry home to sit under the lilac bushes on the side of the house. There, they do their "Candy Dance" so Rosemary will see and get jealous. They hear laughter from within the house and look in the living room window.
They see Mr. Henry with two women, China and Maginot Line. After the women leave, the girls go inside. Frieda asks Mr. Henry who the women are. He laughs an adult "getting-ready-to-lie laugh" and says they were over for a Bible study. The girls decide not to tell because they know it will cause their mother to fuss for a whole day. Then they turn their attention to the turnips cooking.
Claudia asks Frieda what she bribed Woodrow with to make him stop abusing Pecola. Frieda says she had found out he wet the bed.
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Claudia says, "Old nasty. In this the first chapter of the winter section, Morrison shifts back to the point of view of her first person narrator. The view of the protagonist, Pecola, then, is given from the point of view of another child, but one who has a more stable home life and has not been taught so directly that she is ugly. Claudia and Frieda have yet to believe the lies of their society, lies which devalue them for their skin color, and highly prize light-skinned African Americans and white people.
They respond to the internalized racism of their community in its treatment of the light-skinned Maureen Peel with plans to sabotage her perfection, reveal her faults. Pecola standing in the playground surrounded by boys calling her ugly because of her skin color is an image that carries a great deal of weight with any reader who remembers witnessing or participating in the cruelty of children who learn who to hate from adults and act it out on each other. Pecola is helpless to stop the boys and, worse, she believes them.
When Maureen offers to buy ice cream for Pecola and acts as though she does not realize that Claudia and Frieda have no money of their own with which to buy ice cream, the reader witnesses what internalized racism does to those privileged with light skin color.
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Her condescension lasts only a brief while, until it grows boring, then she becomes hateful and brings up the same taunts the boys hurled at Pecola. With her, too, Pecola is helpless and does nothing to take up for herself. She has been taught disempowerment, that she has no power to oppose these taunts. The contrast between her response and that of Claudia and Frieda is stark. Morrison also includes another encounter with adult illicit sexuality in this chapter.
educating for equity and justice
Henry bribes the girls with a quarter to get them out of the house. The sweetness of the candy, the abundance it brings them as contrasted to the deprivation they suffered by the lack of a single penny for ice cream only moments before, seems telling. Being virtuous leaves them with nothing while participating in vice gives them abundance. She is constantly reminded of her blackness, as others continuously tease and ridicule her for it. The Bluest Eye follows the story of Pecola and those around her as she navigates through a prejudiced s world. She lives with beaten-down, psychologically unstable parents, and she does not have many others to look up to.
Pecola is used, raped, and, at times, disregarded as a human being. Yet, through her story, she shows us the harsh realities of a racist world and the need to be freed from that world in any way possible. Racial Identity — Pecola battles with her own racial identity as she dreams of being the white standard of "beauty": blonde hair and blue eyes.
There is a constant struggle in the text over the relationship between race and beauty standards, even though these concepts should be unrelated. The Power of Stories — Multiple narratives tell strong, weak, contrasting, and parallel stories through the eyes of many different tellers.
Throughout the novel, stories have the ability to hurt those who tell them and those who hear them. Repercussions of Abuse — Pecola endures both physical and sexual abuse in the text, and many of these scenes are simply hurtful and humiliating.
How to Teach "The Bluest Eye"
The novel demonstrates that abuse can have long-term, negative effects on a person's psyche and can lead to a great deal of self-hatred. Home About Us Login. Chat Now Customer Service 1.