Mrs. (Pauline) Breedlove   Leave a comment

This chapter tells the story of Paulines life from childhood. When she was two, she stepped on a nail and was left with a limp. This small disability isolated her from her family. In her isolation, she entertained herself with numbers. She was ‘enchanted’ with numbers and ‘depressed’ by words. Later, her family moves to Kentucky and she is put in charge of caring for the house and her two younger siblings, chicken and pie. Once she turns fifteen, she starts wanting to leave. She falls in love with Cholly, marries him, and moves to Ohio. There, the other women are unfriendly to her, and they mae fun of her walk. She wants clothes like the other women wear, and they start fighting about money. Cholly then starts drinking. Pauline then takes a job as a housekeeper to a wealthy family who has bad habits. One day Cholly shows up to the house drunk demanding money, and Pauline left the job. Her employer refused to hire her back unless she left Cholly, which of course Pauline refuses to do, and they can;t pay the gas bill. The marriage improves when Pauline finds out that she’s pregnant, but she still feels lonely. She watches a lot of movies, which is where she gets her ideas about beauty. While eating candy at the movies, she loses her already infected front tooth, and her attempts to look like a movie star were shot. She feels ugly, and Cholly and her start fighting again. When she is giving birth, a doctor tells a group of students that childbirth isn’t painful for her, “just like a horse.” She loves her baby, but she knows she is ugly. Pauline thinks of herself as a martyr, and after a while of working a lot for a white family, she starts neglecting her own family. Sometimes she remembers when she and Cholly were happier, but now she doesn’t even lie down next to him much because of his drunken smell.

In the previous chapter, it was easy to dislike Pauline because of the way she treated Pecola, but now our opinion of her is tangled up with her past. This chapter helps the reader to see her as someone with bad circumstances who still partially chose her own fate. With some of the story told in Paulines perspective, we can more easily feel for her. It is easy to feel sympathy when she describes how she feels toward the racism that has been directed at her all her life, alone with her bad foot and an abusive husband. Even though she was given bad circumstances, she still made some choices for herself. She accepted her isolation and blamed her foot instead of being more friendly, and she only accepted Cholly because he fit the story she was telling herself about someone coming and taking her away, but without this fantasy she might have seen that they weren’t good for each other.


Posted April, 2012 by emilienoel2013 in Uncategorized

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