The Story of Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison
The story of Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is very dramatic. Like a seed planted in bad soil and in a hostile condition, Pecola, a very young and innocent African American girl, does not have a chance to grow up normally like her peers. Her parents' personal history is shown to have played out in extreme measures in her life. Her father, abandoned since childhood, does not have a sense of fatherhood. Her mother is a product of hatred and ignorance. The Breedlove's all are confronted by prejudice on a daily basis, both classism and racism, and for the first time, the white standard of beauty. Growing up in this environment, Pecola is vulnerable in every way and becomes the victim of discrimination by both white and black people in her community.
Inherited from her mother the feelings of rejection, Pecola is a vulnerable girl. The novel indicates that her mother, from the early part of her life, felt a sense of separateness and unworthiness and that she "never felt at home anywhere, or that she belonged anyplace" (111). Consequently, from Pecola's birth, her mother placed upon Pecola the same shroud of shame, weakness, and inadequacy. The circumstances surrounding Pecola's first period are consistent with the vulnerability of her position. Pecola is not even with her own mother when it happens. There is a real sense that Pecola cannot participate in traditions, or receive wisdom from previous generations, because her family life is so unhealthy. When her own body begins to change, she can only fear it. Her mother has not taken care to prepare her for those changes, in sharp contrast to Mrs. MacTeer, who has fully prepared Frieda. Family tradition being cut off from these vital connections to family and lineage results in Pecola's becoming alienated from her own body, as she is terrified, shrieks and cries at the sight of her own menstrual blood.
Pecola's vulnerability can also be seen through her interaction with other children. She is so weak and inferior that she is always the target of other children's harassment. When a group of black boys pick on her blackness and her naked father, she cannot stand up for herself. All she can do is "edging around the circle [of those black guys] crying" (66). Or "when one of the girls at school [wants] to be particularly insulting [to] a boy or wants to get an immediate response from him, she [would] say 'Bobby loves Pecola Breedlove!' and never fails to get peals of laughter from those in earshot, and mock anger from the accused" (46). Obviously these boys and girls feel they are superior to Pecola in every way. None of them want to put himself/herself in Pecola's position. Being Pecola means being exposed to all sorts of humiliation, and unable to defend herself.
At home Pecola is the victim of domestic abuse. The fight with Maureen Peal reveals something important: Pecola's desperate...