Study Guide

The Bluest Eye Winter, Chapter 4

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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.

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