Characterization in The Bluest Eye

437 Words2 Pages
Throughout the novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison utilizes the characterization of both Pecola Breedlove, and her father, Cholly, to demonstrate how the scene in which Cholly rapes Pecola acts as a function of their existence together, and individually. Through combining the “how” of this instance with both the background stories of Pecola and Cholly, Morrison implicitly delivers the “why” behind it. Initially, Morrison introduces Pecola Breedlove as a young, submissive girl living with little to no self-esteem. During the “Autumn” segment of the novel, the reader encounters several instances that illustrate Pecola’s submissiveness; for instance, when several boys at Pecola’s school surround her and taunt her with racial slurs, Pecola merely drops her notebook and attempts to escape the situation, leaving Claudia and Frieda as her main defense. Subsequently, Pecola uses the same tactic in dealing with a violent, late-night quarrel between her mother and father. Instead of stepping in or ignoring the fight, Pecola’s escapist mechanism engages, in which she concentrates on losing herself, body part by body part until she believes she has escaped. Through these two escapes, Morrison establishes a pattern in Pecola’s behavior; that is, when conflict arises, Pecola never makes the first action or establishes any sort of obvious defense. However, Morrison creates the character of Cholly Breedlove, Pecola’s father, as a confrontational, violent man. Morrison first introduces Cholly’s violent tendencies through his fight with Pauline, the same fight from which Pecola tries to vanish. Through a sequence of brutal physical acts, Cholly establishes his direct dominance over Pauline, and his indirect dominance over the rest of his family. Additionally, in the segment of the novel narrated by Cholly, Morrison identifies Cholly’s childhood as the reason behind his views toward
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