The Bluest Eye
How we cite our quotes:
Having no idea of how to raise children, and having never watched any parent raise himself, he could not even comprehend what such a relationship should be....Had he not been alone in the world since he was thirteen, knowing only a dying old woman who felt responsible for him, but whose age, sex, and interests were so remote from his own, he might have felt a stable connection between himself and the children. As it was, he reacted to them, and his reactions were based on what he felt at that moment. (3.8.85)
Cholly's lack of love for his children is explained here. His experience mirrors that of other characters in the novel – like Soaphead Church – who cannot love in a moral way because they were never showed how. Childhood experiences shape the adult.