Simple Summaries

The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison


·       “We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow.”

·       “Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair.”

·       “The sees shriveled and died; her baby did too.”

·       “There is nothing really more to say-- except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge at how.”


Autumn Chapter 1

·       “Our house is old, cold, and green.”

o  They are poor

·       “Our illness is treated with contempt, foul Black Draught, and castor oil that blunts our mind.”

o  They are chastised for being sick

·       “It takes a long time for my body to heat its place in the bed.”

·       “By and by I will not get sick; I refuse to.”

o  Claudia is scared of getting sick again

·       Frieda sings to her to calm her down

·       “But was it really like that? As painful as I remember? Only mildly. Or rather, it was aproductive and fructifying pain.”

o  This is what love feels like!

·       Since they are poor, they lent a room to Mr. Henry

·       The kids think he’s fun because he does magic tricks

·       Pecola moves in too: her father burned down their house

·       Pecola uses a Shirley Temple cup but Claudia hates Shirley Temple and other blonde dolls

·       About her doll: “I only had one desire: to dismember it. To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that escaped me, but apparently only me.”

·       “The world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured.”

o  She just wants representation!

·       “I destroyed the white baby dolls.”

·       Mrs.MacTeer is annoyed that Pecola has drunken a ton of milk

·       Pecola starts her period and Frieda tries to give her a pad

·       Pecola asks Frieda how babies are made and then asks “How do you get someone to love you?”


Autumn Chapter 2

·       The apartment used to be a store and Claudia describes it

·       In the past, it’s been a bakery, a pizza parlor, etc

·       The furniture is old and has passed through many hands

·       The heating of the house is random but never there in the morning


Autumn Chapter 3

·       the Breedloves (Pecola’s family) are a poor black family

·       Pecola is asleep in bed and hears her mom banging around in the kitchen. She knows her parents will fight because that’s what happens when he is drunk.

·       Cholly is violent and cruel because of his ego and background

·       Mrs.Breedlove sneezes and they start fighting

·       Sammy suggests that once Cholly is knocked out, that Mrs. Breedlove should kill him

·       Pecola is disgusted and unhappy and wants to disappear

·       Pecola goes to buy candy at the grocery store but the store owner is rude

·       Pecola goes to visit the women in the apartment above them: China, Poland, and Miss Marie

o  They are hookers and tell her about their clients

o  They are not ashamed of their job

o  They treat Pecola well

o  They are the only people in the book who are truly free


Winter: Chapter 4

·       Maureen Peal, a light-skinned and wealthy girl, is the new kid in school

o  She just moved to the area

o  Everyone loves her

·       Claudia and Frieda are jealous of her

·       Maureen’s locker and next to Claudia’s

·       Maureen wants to walk home with Claudia and Frieda

·       Maureen, Claudia, and Frieda are walking when they see a bunch of boys mocking Pecola for being black

·       Frieda smacks one of the boys and tells the other to backup

·       The boys are starstruck by Maureen so they back off, saying they don’t have time

·       Maureen asks Pecola if they are in gym together

·       Maureen suggests they get ice cream and offers to treat Pecola

·       Claudia and Frieda thought Maureen would treat them too but decided not to get any

·       “You should have got some, they have all kinds!” – Maureen to the girls

·       Pecola asks what menstruation is and why girls menstruate

·       “Boy shave all sorts of things they don’t need.”

·       Maureen asks Pecola if she’s ever seen a naked man and Pecola said only her dad

·       Claudia and Frieda tell Maureen to stop

o  “I was glad to have a chance to show anger.”

·       Claudia tells Maureen that she’s obsessed with men

o  “Boys, babies, and somebody’s naked daddy. You must be boy-crazy.”

·       Maureen calls the girls black and ugly

o  This gets to Claudia

·       At home, Henry gives them money for ice cream but they spend it on candy

·       Once they come back home again, Henry is with China and Miss Marie

·       After the women leave, Frieda asks Henry about the prostitutes and he lies but they decide not to say anything to their mom (who hates the prostitutes)


Winter: Chapter 5

·       Claudia describes a kind of person: a black woman from the South who has it all. She went to college, dresses nice, has a nice husband, has kids, cares for her household cat, etc. She doesn’t enjoy sex and only loves her cat.

·       Geraldine is the kind of person described above: married to a nice man named Louis with a son named Junior

·       Junior is mean to the cat that Geraldine loves

·       Geraldine doesn’t let Junior play with anyone other than upper-class people of color

·       Junior is mean to Pecola on the playground and then tricks her to coming home with him by saying he can show her kittens

·       Junior throws the cat at her

·       Pecola tries to leave but Junior locks her in

·       Pecola rubs the cat and it makes Junior angry so he swings it around by the leg

·       Pecola tries to help the cat by pulling Junior off

·       Junior is unconscious and of course this is where Geraldine comes home

·       Junior told his mom that Pecola killed the cat

·       Geraldine is furious and sends Pecola home


Spring: Chapter 6

·       Claudia goes home to find her mom doing chores over and over, which is strange

·       Claudia then goes upstairs and finds Frieda crying

o   Henry pinched her breasts

o   Frieda went to find her parents and told them what he’d done

o   Henry was gone when they went inside

o   When Henry came back, Frieda’s parents attacked him and shot at him

o   A neighbor came out and said Mr.MacTeer would go to jail

o   Frieda hit the neighbor (Rosemary)

o   Miss Dunion (another neighbor) said Frieda might be ruined

·       Claudia and Frieda don’t really understand what ruined means but Frieda is anxious

·       They decide to ask Pecola to steal whiskey so Frieda doesn’t get fat

·       Pecola isn’t home but the Maginot Line is drinking on the porch and invites F and C up for soda

·       Frieda says she can’t come because the prostitutes are ruined

·       The Maginot Line throws the bottle and the girls run away

·       Claudia and Frieda decide to go find Pecola’s mother (who Pecola is with) even though she’s on the other side of town

·       Claudia and Frieda find Pecola at the lakefront houses

·       Pecola is surprised to see and asks why they are there

·       Pecola’s mom tells them they can wait with Pecola and go back into town together

·       Inside the house, a little white girl asks for Polly (Mrs. Breedlove) and Claudia is confused why she used the first name

·       Pecola takes a berry cobbler from the counter but drops it so it spills and burns her

·       Mrs. Breedlove yells and beats her own daughter, sends Pecola, Claudia, and Frieda away then goes to comfort the little white girl


Spring: Chapter 7

·       Mrs. Breedlove grew up in Alabama and accidentally stepped on a nail when she was a toddler

·       Now she has a limp and thinks it was fate.

·       Growing up, Mrs. Breedlove spent alot of time alone, cleaning, and keeping the house in order

·       When they moved to Kentucky, Pauline(Mrs. Breedlove) has to take care of her younger siblings (Chicken and Pie)

·       At 15, she starts dreaming of a mancoming and taking her away

·       A stranger shows up: Cholly Breedlove

·       Cholly loves and cares for her sothey move to Ohio

·       Pauline feels sad and alone

·       Pauline stands out because she’s a country girl and everyone treats her differently

·       Cholly starts getting addicted to drinking

·       Pauline becomes a housekeeper for a rich white woman

·       Cholly comes to Pauline’s work and acts drunk and irrational

·       Pauline gets fired

·       Pauline becomes pregnant, which makes Cholly happy but Pauline still feels lonely

·       Pauline starts watching movies but adopts the idea that she is ugly

·       Pauline and Cholly start fighting again

·       Pauline has two kids and during the second birth (Pecola), a doctor told his medical students that black women are like horses and don’t feel pain

·       Pauline joins the church and gets another job with a healthy white family

·       Pauline and Cholly only have sex when he’s drunk and she is asleep


Her inspiration

·       “’Black is beautiful’…yeah, but why so loud?”

·       “I was deeply concerned with the feelings of being ugly.”

·       The book is about intentional representation

·       Calls out both the black and white community for enforcing racial stereotypes



·       Cholly is dangerously free

·       Nothing holds him back



·       Pages 194 and on

o  Pecola invents an alter ego that fits her idea of beauty

o  Her psyche is split

o  No one looks her in the eye

o  “I was so lonely for friends. And you were right here.”


“A little black girl yearns for the blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment.”