From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
The narrator describes good black church women. She says they are sweet black women from good black neighborhoods where everyone has a job.
They straighten their hair, they don't drink, smoke, or swear, and they always go to church. While these women make perfect wives, they are possessive, if not obsessive, about their home. These women also don't really enjoy sex, they hate sweating, and they never have orgasms with their husbands.
Geraldine, the narrator tells us, is one such woman. She lives in Lorain. She is light-skinned and has a light-skinned child named Junior. When he was a baby, she never let him cry. Junior hates his mother, but directs this hatred toward her cat. Geraldine's cat is the only thing she really loves.
Junior lives near the playground of Pecola Breedlove's school. He considers the playground his territory. He longs to play with other black boys but his mom won't let him because she thinks they are no good.
One day Junior sees Pecola walking past the playground. He walks up and asks her if she wants to come to his house to see some kittens.
Pecola goes to the house and falls in love with the lace doilies everywhere and how nice everything is.
Junior leads Pecola further into the house. He picks up Geraldine's cat and throws it in Pecola's face. The cat shrieks and scratches Pecola in the face. Pecola begins to cry and tries to leave the house, but Junior blocks the door. He tells her she is his prisoner now. Junior locks her in the room with the cat. Pecola starts to pet the cat and stops crying.
Junior comes back into the room and snatches the cat. He starts swinging it around by its tail. Pecola tries to get him to stop. She grabs Junior's arm and the cat flies into the radiator. The cat stops moving.
Geraldine comes home and Junior tells her that Pecola killed the cat. She sees Pecola's torn dress, muddy shoes and yells at her to get out.
Pecola walks outside, sad and mortified. It's beginning to snow outside. Pecola keeps her head down and watches the snowflakes die as they fall to the ground.