A Reality Of Presence

In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shows that anger is healthy and that it is not something
to be feared; those who are not able to get angry are the ones who suffer the most. She criticizes
Cholly, Polly, Claudia, Soaphead Church, the Mobile Girls, and Pecola because these blacks in her
story wrongly place their anger on themselves, their own race, their family, or even God, instead of
being angry at those they should have been angry at: whites.
Pecola Breedlove suffered the most because she was the result of having others’ anger
dumped on her, and she herself was unable to get angry. When Geraldine yells at her to get out of
her house, Pecola’s eyes were fixed on the “pretty” lady and her “pretty” house. Pecola does not
stand up to Maureen Peal when she made fun of her for seeing her dad naked but instead lets
Freida and Claudia fight for her. Instead of getting mad at Mr. Yacobowski for looking down on
her, she directed her anger toward the dandelions she once thought were beautiful. However, “the
anger will not hold”(50), and the feelings soon gave way to shame. Pecola was the sad product of
having others’ anger placed on her: “All of our waste we dumped on her and she absorbed. And
all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us”(205). They felt beautiful next to
her ugliness, wholesome next to her uncleanness, her poverty made them generous, her weakness
made them strong, and her pain made them happier.
When Pecola’s father, Cholly Breedlove, was caught as a teenager in a field with Darlene
by two white men, “never did he once consider directing his hatred toward the hunters”(150),
rather her directed his hatred towards the girl because hating the white men would “consume” him.
He was powerless against the white men and was unable to protect Darlene from them as well.
This caused his to hate her for being in the situation with him and for realizing how powerless her
really was. Also, Cholly felt that any misery his daughter suffered was his fault, and looking in to
Pecola’s loving eyes angered him because her wondered, “What could her do for her - ever? What
give her? What say to her?”(161) Cholly’s failures led him to hate those that he failed, most of all
his family.
Pecola’s mother, Polly Breedlove, also wrongly placed her anger on her family. As a
result of having a deformed foot, Polly had always had a feeling of unworthiness and separateness.
With her own children, “sometimes I’d catch myself hollering at them and beating them, but I
couldn’t seem to stop”(124). She stopped taking care of her own children and her home and took
care of a white family and their home. She found praise, love, and acceptance with the Fisher
family, and it is for these reasons that she stayed with them. She had been deprived of such
feelings from her family when growing up and in turn deprived her own family of these same
feelings. Polly “held Cholly as a mode on sin and failure, she bore him like a crown of thorns, and
her children like a cross”(126).
Pecola’s friend Claudia is angry at the beauty of whiteness and attempts to dismember
white dolls to find where their beauty lies. There is a sarcastic tone in her voice when she spoke of
having to be “worthy” to play with the dolls. Later, when telling the story as a past experience, she
describes the adults’ tone of voice as being filled with years of unfulfilled longing, perhaps a
longing to be themselves beautifully white. Claudia herself was happiest when she stood up to
Maureen Peal, the beautiful girl from her class. When Claudia and Freida taunted her as she ran
down the street, they were happy to get a chance to express anger, and “we were still in love with
ourselves then”(74). Claudia’s anger towards dolls turns to hated of white girls. Out of a fear for
his anger the she could not comprehend, she later tool a refuge in loving whites. She had to at least
pretend to love whites or, like Cholly, the hatred would consume her. Later