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The night before, Cholly Breedlove came home drunk. Young Pecola anticipates an argument between her parents.
Mrs. Breedlove begins to pester Cholly about getting coal for the stove. Cholly refuses. Mrs. Breedlove tells Cholly that if she so much as sneezes, the kitty litter's going to hit the proverbial fan.
The narrator states that Mrs. Breedlove and Cholly need each other. Mrs. Breedlove needs to argue with Cholly to break up the boredom of her domestic life. Cholly needs Mrs. Breedlove because he needs someone to hate.
We learn that when he was young, Cholly was startled by two white men while losing his virginity. The two men shone a flashlight on him and mocked him, forcing him to continue having sex while they watched.
Instead of hating the white men for taunting him, Cholly directed his hate at the girl he was having sex with. Because of this incident, Cholly has major issues with women.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Mrs. Breedlove sneezes.
She dumps cold water on Cholly's head. Cholly leaps on her and they begin fighting on the ground. Sammy enters the fight too. Finally, Mrs. Breedlove hits Cholly over the head with the lid of the stove; she wins. She orders Sammy to get some coal. The fight is over.
Pecola, scared and alone in her bed, asks God to make her disappear. She also prays to God to maker her eyes disappear so she doesn't have to see anything. Pecola thinks about how ugly she is. She begins to think that if her eyes were different, she would be different too. She begins to pray every night for blue eyes.
Pecola goes to buy candy from a white immigrant named Mr. Yacobowski. She is scared of buying candy from a white adult. She feels like he doesn't even see her.
Pecola goes to visit the three prostitutes who live above her. Their names are China, Poland, and Miss Marie.
The women joke about the men they see and tell Pecola stories.
Marie says she's a prostitute because she wants to be; Poland agrees.
The narrator describes the three prostitutes as hating men and abusing them. Once, the three women seduced a Jewish man, robbed him, and threw him out a window.
Pecola asks them questions about love and wonders what love is and what it feels like. She wonders whether her parents love each other.