The Bluest Eye Summary
The novel opens in the fall of 1941, just after the Great Depression, in Lorain, Ohio. Nine-year-old Claudia MacTeer and her 10-year-old sister, Frieda, live with their parents in an "old, cold and green" house. What they lack in money they make up for in love. The MacTeers decide to take in a boarder named Mr. Henry. At the same time, they also take in young Pecola Breedlove, whose father recently hit her mother and tried to burn down the family home. Pecola is a quiet, awkward girl who loves Shirley Temple, believing that whiteness is beautiful and that her own blackness is inherently ugly.
Pecola's home life is difficult. Her father, Cholly, abuses alcohol and her parents fight constantly. Pecola begins to think that if she were prettier, her parents would be nicer to each other and to her. Since Pecola equates beauty with whiteness, she begins to pray for blue eyes in order to change the way she sees the world as well as the way she is seen by others. Above Pecola's house live three prostitutes – Miss Marie, Poland, and China. These women use men for money, curse, spit, and laugh. They are also genuinely kind to Pecola and tell her stories about love, sex, and money.
Pecola gets teased at school by boys, and by the new, light-skinned girl, Maureen Peal. One winter day, Claudia tries to punch Maureen for making fun of Pecola, but she misses and punches Pecola dead in the face instead. Junior, a young black boy from the neighborhood, lures Pecola into his house and attacks her with a cat. Later, when he kills the cat, he blames it on Pecola, causing his mother to yell at her and kick her out of the house.
In the spring of 1942, Mr. Henry gropes Frieda and gets kicked out of the MacTeers' house. Through flashback, the narrator reveals the histories of Cholly and Pauline Breedlove. Pauline has a deformed foot that has always made her feel like an outcast in her huge family. We see her as a young girl, losing herself in church songs and romantic fantasy, always imagining someone who would love her and save her. From Hollywood movies, she learns about beauty and begins to emulate white celebrities like Jean Harlow.
We also learn about Cholly, who is abandoned by his mother near train tracks when he is four days old. He gets taken in by his great aunt, Jimmy, who raises him until her death. The day of Jimmy's funeral, Cholly has his first sexual experience with Darlene, a local girl. While they are having sex in a field, two white men approach them and shine a flashlight on them. They laugh at the pair and force them to continue having sex while they watch and laugh. Cholly and Darlene are humiliated, and Cholly, unable to direct his anger at the white men, turns it onto Darlene instead. He spends the next few years moving from city to city and from woman to woman. He meets and weds Pauline in Kentucky and the couple moves to Lorain, Ohio.
Back in the present, Cholly comes home drunk one day to find Pecola washing dishes. Cholly rapes her in the kitchen. When it's over, he covers her with a quilt. Pauline finds Pecola unconscious on the floor. When Pecola tells her that Cholly raped her, she doesn't believe it and hits her. Cholly rapes Pecola again at some point after this, although it's unclear exactly when.
Pecola becomes pregnant with her father's child. She visits Soaphead Church, a quack psychic and healer, and asks him to give her blue eyes. Soaphead tells Pecola to give his dog some meat, and if the dog acts strangely, she will get her wish. Pecola doesn't realize that Soaphead hates the dog and has given her poison to feed to it. When the dog begins to gag and limp around, Pecola believes she will receive her blue eyes.
Claudia and Frieda learn of Pecola's pregnancy through neighborhood gossip. Although everyone else in Lorain wants the baby to die, Claudia and Frieda pray that it survives. They spend the summer of 1942 planting marigold seeds in the hopes that if the flowers blossom, Pecola's baby will survive. Pecola's baby dies. Pauline and Pecola move to the edge of town and Pecola begins to lose her mind. Pecola can be seen looking into a mirror, talking to herself about her blue eyes, and picking through trash.
Prologue, Part 1
- The novel opens with sentences from what looks like a children's Dick and Jane grammar reader.
- The sentences feature a family of four: Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane.
- They focus on Jane, who wants to play.
- Jane sees a cat, but the cat will not play with her.
- Jane's mother laughs, but does not play with her.
- Jane's father smiles, but he does not play with her.
- A dog runs, but does not play with her.
- Finally, a friend comes along to play with Jane.
- This paragraph is then repeated word-for-word a second time, without punctuation.
- The paragraph is repeated a third time, without punctuation and with no spaces between the words.
Prologue, Part 2
- The narrator (so far unidentified) explains that no marigolds grew in the fall of 1941.
- The narrator and her sister thought the marigolds didn't grow because Pecola, a young girl in the town, was having her father's baby.
- The narrator and her sister thought that if they planted marigold seeds and said the right words over them, Pecola's baby would be born OK.
- The narrator spent many years thinking it was her fault that the marigolds didn't grow, because she had planted the seeds too far down into the earth. She now understands that it was the earth's fault.
- The narrator says that Pecola's baby is dead, along with her father. Though it will be difficult to explain why this is so, the narrator will try to tell how.
Autumn, Chapter 1
- In front of a Greek hotel, Rosemary Villanucci teases her neighbors, two sisters named Claudia and Frieda MacTeer. She tells them they can't get into her father's car, since she's white and they are black.
- Claudia (the narrator) and Frieda go to the railroad tracks with their family to pick coal for Zick's Coal Company.
- Claudia remembers getting sick once after picking coal; she recalls her mother taking care of her and Frieda singing to her. Although her mother yelled at her for vomiting on the floor, Claudia remembers feeling surrounded by love.
- The MacTeers take on a boarder named Mr. Henry. Through gossip, we learn that he has never been married. Mr. Henry is immediately playful with Frieda and Claudia. He teases them and does a magic trick for them – presenting a penny then hiding it in his clothes for the girls to find.
- In addition to Mr. Henry, the MacTeers also get another houseguest – young Pecola Breedlove. Pecola's father, Cholly, is in jail after recently trying to burn down the Breedloves' house and hitting Pecola's mother. Pecola's mother is staying with the woman she keeps house for. Her brother, Sammy, is staying with another family. Pecola is now homeless, which the narrator refers to as being "outdoors."
- Frieda and Pecola bond over a mutual love of Shirley Temple. Claudia hates Shirley Temple. She recalls getting a white doll for Christmas one year and resenting it. Instead of loving her doll and mothering it, Claudia dismembered the doll in outrage. Pecola, on the other hand, loves Shirley Temple so much that she drinks milk out of the sisters' Shirley Temple saucer just to be able to gaze into Temple's face.
- In one such creepy gaze-fest, Pecola drinks three quarts of the MacTeers' milk. Mrs. MacTeer gets mad, scolding the girls and sending them outside.
- Once outside, blood begins to spill down Pecola's legs. Pecola and Claudia get scared, but Frieda knows that Pecola is getting her first period or, as she calls it, "ministratin.'" Frieda tries to attach a pad to Pecola's dress. Rosemary, spying from the bushes, yells to Mrs. MacTeer that the girls are up to something perverted. Mrs. MacTeer rushes out, sees Pecola's bloody legs, and takes her into the bathroom to clean her up.
- That night, the three girls sleep next to one another. They talk about how Pecola can have a baby now. Frieda tells Pecola she can only have a baby if someone loves her. Pecola asks how to go about getting love. No one answers her.
Autumn, Chapter 2
- The narrator presents a history of Pecola's house. Over the years the house has been a pizza joint, a Hungarian bakery, a real estate office, and a place where gypsies lived. But before all that, the Breedloves lived there.
- The Breedlove house has three rooms: a kitchen, a bedroom and a living area, which the Breedloves call the "front room."
- Everyone in the family sleeps in the same room.
- The sofa is described. It was bought new but the fabric split down the back before it arrived. The store refused to take responsibility for this, so the family is forced to keep a horribly ripped couch while continuing to make monthly payments on it.
- Everyone in the house hates the sofa.
Autumn, Chapter 3
- It's a Saturday morning in August.
- 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.
Winter, Chapter 4
- There is a new girl at school and her name is Maureen Peal. She is light-skinned and rich. The teachers and boys all love her. Frieda and Claudia are fascinated and annoyed by her. They make fun of her in secret.
- Claudia and Maureen are assigned lockers next to each other. One day, Maureen offers to walk home with the sisters.
- On the way home, the girls see Pecola getting teased by a group of boys. The boys are calling her "Black e mo" and saying that her father sleeps naked.
- Frieda hits one of the boys, Woodrow Cain, with her stack of schoolbooks. Claudia yells at Bay Boy. The boys back off and the girls keep walking home together.
- After the fight, Maureen is really nice to Pecola. She offers to buy her ice cream but does not offer any to Frieda or Claudia.
- Maureen says she loves the white actress Betty Grable. Claudia says she prefers Hedy Lamarr, a Jewish actress. Claudia prefers the underdog.
- Maureen says her uncle sued the ice cream shop they are going to, Isaley's, because they wouldn't serve him. Maureen says her family really likes suing people. The book is ambiguous about this, but Maureen's family may have gotten their money this way.
- The group talks about why girls get their periods.
- At some point, Maureen accuses Frieda of being boy-crazy. Frieda yells at Maureen. Maureen begins to tease Pecola. Claudia and Frieda defend her. Claudia gets so upset that she lunges to punch Maureen but she misses and hits Pecola dead in the face instead. Maureen runs off, calling the girls "Black e mos."
- Claudia and Frieda return home to find Mr. Henry there alone. Mr. Henry gives the girls a quarter and tells them to go buy ice cream. The girls buy candy and then do a candy dance in the bushes outside their house.
- They look inside the living room window and see Mr. Henry with China and Miss Marie. They call Miss Marie "The Maginot Line" because that's what the adults call her. Mr. Henry is sucking China's fingers and she is giggling.
- After the women leave, Frieda and Claudia ask Mr. Henry what they were doing there. Mr. Henry lies to the girls and says Miss Marie and China are old church friends. He tells them not to tell Mrs. MacTeer.
- Frieda and Claudia decide not to tell their mother.
Winter, Chapter 5
- 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.
Spring, Chapter 6
- Claudia is sitting in an empty lot playing in the grass. When she gets home she finds Frieda crying on her bed. Frieda tells Claudia that their dad beat up Mr. Henry for touching Frieda's breasts. Frieda is crying because she overheard Miss Dunion, a neighbor, say that she might be ruined just like the Maginot Line.
- Claudia imagines Frieda as fat as the Maginot Line. The girls decide that in order to not get fat, Frieda should drink whisky. They decide that since Cholly's always drinking, they should find Pecola and get whisky from her.
- Frieda and Claudia go to Pecola's, but she isn't home. They see the Maginot Line on the porch and she tells them that Pecola is with Mrs. Breedlove at the house of the white family she works for. The Maginot Line tells them she works at a big white lakefront house. She says they can wait on the porch until Pecola gets home but they are too scared of her. They say they aren't allowed to be around her. The Maginot Line laughs and throws her root-beer bottle at them. It breaks and the girls run away, scared.
- Frieda and Claudia go to the lakefront house where Mrs. Breedlove works, in Lakeshore Park. All of the houses are beautiful, but there is no sign of life there. Blacks are not allowed in the park.
- Frieda and Claudia find the large white house and see Pecola on the porch. She tells them not to be scared of Miss Marie because she's really nice and buys her nice dresses. Frieda and Claudia don't believe her.
- Mrs. Breedlove finds the girls on the porch and tells them to wait in the kitchen while she finishes the laundry. Inside, the girls marvel at how fancy the house is. After Mrs. Breedlove leaves the room, a little white girl enters the kitchen asking for Polly – her nickname for Mrs. Breedlove.
- Frieda notices a berry cobbler on the counter and the girls can't take their eyes off of it. Pecola reaches out to touch the pan. At this exact moment, the little white girl yells "Polly!" again, and Pecola accidentally knocks the cobbler to the floor, splattering her legs with piping hot blueberry juice. Pecola begins to cry. Mrs. Breedlove runs into the room and slaps Pecola, knocking her to the floor. Pecola slips in the hot juice. Mrs. Breedlove hits her again and yells at her.
- Meanwhile, the little white girl begins to cry and Mrs. Breedlove consoles her. The little girl asks if she can make another pie. Mrs. Breedlove says, "Of course."
Spring, Chapter 7
- We learn that when Pauline (a.k.a. Mrs. Breedlove) was 2 years old and living in Alabama, she stepped on a nail, leaving her foot limp and crooked.
- Pauline had 10 brothers and sisters, and she always felt that her physical deformity left her anonymous in the family.
- Pauline always liked to arrange things – she was kind of compulsive.
- Near the beginning of World War II (around 1939, if your history is fuzzy) Pauline's family moves to Kentucky to find work. One by one, Pauline's siblings leave to get married. Pauline stays home to take care of the house and her youngest siblings, Chicken and Pie.
- As she gets older, she fantasizes about love, daydreaming about a man whose love would straighten her foot. She also loses herself in church music.
- One day, while taking a rest from her work and leaning on a fence, she hears a man whistling. It's Cholly Breedlove. He approaches her and starts tickling her foot and kissing her leg. Instead of totally creeping her out, this makes her laugh.
- Cholly and Pauline fall in love, get married, and decide to move to Ohio. Pauline feels lonely once they move. The white people are cold and unfriendly to her, and Northern blacks are, too. She starts to think that if she could buy nicer clothes, maybe the women in her neighborhood would like her more.
- Pauline starts to ask Cholly for money to buy clothes. They begin fighting. Cholly begins drinking a lot.
- Pauline takes a job as a housekeeper for a white woman. Cholly gets meaner and meaner. Pauline complains about how dirty and selfish the white family is.
- One day, Cholly comes to Pauline's work, drunk, demanding money to drink. The woman she works for is frightened, and Pauline leaves her job. The woman says she won't pay her or give her her job back unless she leaves Cholly. Pauline refuses and loses her job, with no money to heat her stove.
- One winter Pauline gets pregnant. Pauline and Cholly are happy about this and their relationship improves. Pauline starts watching movies and begins to learn about physical beauty. She fixes her hair like the white movie star Jean Harlow.
- One day at the movies Pauline loses one of her teeth after eating hard candy. Cholly begins teasing her about the tooth and their cycle of fighting starts up again.
- Pauline gives birth to Sammy, then Pecola. During Pecola's birth, the white doctor delivering her tells his medical students that African-American women don't feel any pain during childbirth; he compares them to horses.
- Pauline returns to work. Her dreams of romance and love of movies are gone.
- Pauline begins to attend church, fashioning herself into a good Christian woman. She begins to view Cholly as a sinful burden that she is forced to bear.
- Pauline finds a permanent job with a white family, the Fishers. In the Fishers' large house, oozing with beauty and wealth, Pauline can clean and arrange things as she likes. She stops cleaning her own house.
- Cholly tries to set the house on fire. Pauline remembers how they sometimes used to make love in the dark. Pauline stays with Cholly.
Spring, Chapter 8
- Now we get a flashback into Cholly's past.
- When Cholly is four days old, his mom abandons him next to some train tracks. He is rescued by his great aunt Jimmy, who names him Charles Breedlove, after her brother.
- Jimmy raises Cholly. One day, when Cholly is a preteen, he asks Jimmy about his father. She says he's gone off to Macon and that his name is Samson Fuller.
- Cholly takes a job at Tyson's and works for an old man named Blue Jack. Blue Jack is kind to Cholly and regales him with stories about his life.
- One day, when Cholly is a teenager, Miss Jimmy gets sick. Her friends ask M'Dear, a local folk doctor, to take care of her.
- M'Dear diagnoses Miss Jimmy with a "cold in her womb." She tells Jimmy's friends to give her broth and nothing else.
- Near death, Miss Jimmy contemplates her life. She realizes she has spent it working for white men who beat up black men, and loving black men who beat up black women.
- After nibbling on some of Essie Foster's irresistible peach cobbler, Aunt Jimmy dies.
- At the funeral, Cholly hangs out with his cousin Jake. Jake asks Cholly if he knows any girls. The pair approaches some girls and the group goes to a field near the house to pick grapes. The boys start throwing grapes at the girls and chasing them. Cholly chases a girl named Darlene until they run out of breath and fall on top of each other.
- Cholly and Darlene start to make out and then to have sex. In the middle of things, two white men show up and laugh at Cholly, shining a flashlight on the young couple. The men demand that they keep having sex while they watch. Humiliated, Darlene covers her face with her hand. Cholly lifts up Darlene's underwear and pretends to have sex with her. The men watch and laugh. Convinced that being angry at white men would kill him, Cholly directs his anger at Darlene instead. The men hear the dog they are out looking for and leave Cholly and Darlene alone in the field. They dress in silence.
- The next day, Cholly convinces himself that Darlene might be pregnant and that he should leave town to find his father. He takes some money Aunt Jimmy had hidden in the stove and walks toward Macon. He walks for a few months before buying a bus ticket.
- In an alley in Macon (the novel never says how exactly Cholly wound up there) Cholly finds a group of men shooting craps. He asks for Samson Fuller and finds a short, mean man. Samson thinks Cholly is a creditor after child support. He curses him and tells him to leave. Cholly runs out to the street and, while trying not to cry, defecates on himself.
- Cholly runs to the river to wash his clothes. He begins to sob over Aunt Jimmy's death.
- After this incident, Cholly drifts from town to town and from woman to woman.
- One day, he meets Pauline. Soon after he marries her he begins to feel trapped. When he has children, he doesn't know how to take care of them.
- Back in the present, Cholly comes home drunk to find Pecola doing the dishes. He rapes her. She faints, and he covers her with a quilt. When Pecola wakes up, Pauline is standing over her.
Spring, Chapter 9
- The narrator tells the story of Soaphead Church.
- For as long as he can remember, Soaphead has been nauseated by people, but he has always loved objects.
- When Soaphead learned the word "misanthrope" he found the perfect word to describe him. Though he hates people, he works closely with them, as a "Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams."
- Soaphead comes from a light-skinned West Indian family proud of its "mixed blood." (They have an English nobleman in their ancestry.) Soaphead's family encouraged their children to marry "up" by only marrying other light-skinned folks. When they couldn't marry a light-skinned person, they would marry within the family.
- Soaphead's father was a schoolmaster with a violent streak. He married a half-Chinese woman who died while giving birth. Soaphead was born Elihue Micah Whitcomb.
- Attempting to escape his father's abuse, Soaphead married a woman named Velma, but she left him after a few months.
- Soaphead left the West Indies and moved to America, where he drifted from career to career, entering the ministry, then studying psychiatry, sociology, and physical therapy.
- Soaphead settled down in Lorain, Ohio. The women in the town learned that he was celibate and kept to himself. They thought he was some kind of supernatural shaman figure, and he embraced this role, taking on their nickname for him, Soaphead Church.
- Soaphead rents a room from an old woman named Bertha Reese. She has an old dog with runny eyes that Soaphead hates. He buys poison to kill the dog but can't get up the courage to do it.
- One day, Pecola visits and asks Soaphead to give her blue eyes. Soaphead is sympathetic. He knows he can't do such a thing, but he tells her to give some meat to the dog. If the dog reacts to the meat, he tells Pecola, she will get her blue eyes.
- Unbeknownst to Pecola, Soaphead gives her poisonous meat to feed the dog. When the dog starts to gag and limp around, Pecola believes she is getting her wish for blue eyes.
- After Pecola runs away, Soaphead writes a long letter to God about being rejected by Velma. He talks about young girls' breasts.
- Soaphead recalls two young girls, Doreen and Sugar Babe, who he used to touch in exchange for money and candy. Soaphead alludes to doing things with other young girls as well.
- Soaphead tells God that he did not touch Pecola in any way. He brags that he has made Pecola believe that she has blue eyes. He insists that God is jealous of him.
- Soaphead ends his letter and marvels over all of the objects he has collected.
- As he sleeps, old Bertha finds the body of her dead dog.
Summer, Chapter 10
- In the summer, Frieda and Claudia sell marigold seeds to save up for a new bike.
- Through gossip, the sisters learn that Pecola is pregnant with her father's child. They feel sympathy toward her and they're bummed that no one else in Lorain seems to care.
- Frieda and Claudia decide to bury their marigold money and plant marigolds for Pecola. They think that if their flowers bloom, Pecola's baby will live. Claudia sings over the seeds, while Frieda says the magic words.
Summer, Chapter 11
- Somewhere on the edge of town, Pecola is talking to an imaginary friend.
- Pecola is looking in the mirror at what she believes are her blue eyes. Her imaginary friend keeps bothering her, telling her to stop looking at herself in the mirror all the time.
- Pecola tells her friend that she's just jealous of her blue eyes. She says that everyone in town is so jealous of them that they won't look at her or talk to her anymore. Pecola says her friend is the only one who ever tells her that her eyes are pretty.
- Pecola wonders why she never saw her friend before, and the friend says Pecola never needed her before.
- They start talking about Cholly and how he raped Pecola twice. The friend asks Pecola why she didn't tell Pauline about the second time. Pecola says Pauline wouldn't have believed her, and that she doesn't want to talk about it anymore. She only wants to talk about her eyes.
- Pecola begins to worry that somewhere out there, someone has bluer eyes than hers. She worries that her eyes aren't blue enough and tries to look for the person with the bluest eyes.
- Pecola's friend says she won't play with her anymore. She says she's going away for a while, but she'll be back.
- Claudia takes up the narration again. She describes seeing Pecola sometimes after her baby died. Pecola spends her days walking up and down the street, flailing her arms like a bird and picking through trash.
- Claudia and Frieda ignore Pecola when they see her, not out of fear or repulsion, but out of guilt that they failed her.
- Claudia says that some people loved Pecola, including herself, the Maginot Line, and Cholly, but that love is only as good as the lover.