Geraldine (and the women like her)   Leave a comment


That’s how many pages were used to describe this type of woman, but no specific name was used until after five pages of description. Basically, she (not one woman, but a type of woman) is very pretty and she comes from a small and pretty town where everyone is employed and probably housed. She takes good care of herself, and she accepts that a black woman during this time is supposed to serve white people, so she goes to a school to learn how and does both with politeness. She never has a boyfriend, but ends up marrying a man who will take of himself and his family. She bears a child, “easily and painlessly.” Up until this point, the description has been positive, but it also makes a point to say that she is not quite average, and not quite above-average. it says “their voices are clear and steady, [yet] they ar never picked to solo.” There is a paragraph that describes her as wanting to be more average. She fights down a ‘funk,’ “the funkiness of passion…nature…[and] the wide range of human emotions.” They avoid loud laughter, sloppy speech, over-gesturing, lips too full, and frizzy hair.

With “what they (their potential husbands) do not know is that this plain brown girl…” the description turns negative, or at least not positive. She is a too strict with her home. She does not enjoy sex. She doesn’t love her family as much as she loves the cat, which is as neat and quiet as she is. She caresses and cuddles the cat in a way that she refuses to caress or cuddle her family.

Specifically, Geraldine. She married a man named Louis and had a son named Junior, who she took excellent care of, but she still loved the cat more. In response, Junior abused the cat, who survived only because Geraldine stayed home more often than she left. Junior was only allowed to play with white children and ‘colored people,’ who were just neat and quiet black children. Junior often threw gravel and rocks at girls who passed by or anyone who wouldn’t play with him. One day, he noticed Pecola walking through the playground alone, so he decided to mess with her. He told her he had kittens, and she could come see them and even have one. For the following paragraph, we see Pecola’s perspective. She sees two rooms, bit very beautiful, colorful, and neat. Junior threw the cat in her face, and she was scratched. Junior blocked the door when she tried to run out, from the outside, but when she stopped crying to pet the cat, he got angry at it. The ended up killing the cat just before Geraldine returned, and blamed it on Pecola. Geraldine calls her a “nasty little black [girl],” and she leaves just as snow starts falling.

We can learn from Geraldine that although she appears sweet and pretty on the outside, we come to hate her at the end of the chapter because she doesn’t love her son and she curses at Pecola, because she isn’t really all that sweet. Also, even though Geraldine-type women can be successful, they end up willingly serving white people. Everything they do, the cleanliness and orderliness, is to get rid of the ‘funk.’ She hates most black people, including herself, and all poor people. These two things are associated with each other, just like whiteness is associate with cleanliness. Geraldine should hate racism and that racism makes her suppress disorderly parts of herself. She instead puts this hatred on her family, and puts the affection she would have put on them she puts on the cat. Junior hates the cat and his mother for this, and he puts his hatred on Pecola and other children at the playground.

I also noticed that both Pecola and the cat are described as very black and all black, but the cat has blue eyes, and the cat is loved over the people in the household. If Pecola knows that the cat is most loved, this will continue her want for blue eyes, translating into everyone loving her.


Posted April, 2012 by emilienoel2013 in Uncategorized

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