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What is the significance of the four parts of the novel and their correlation with the...

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gigb45 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2009 at 6:42 AM via web

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What is the significance of the four parts of the novel and their correlation with the four seasons of the year?

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 21, 2009 at 12:19 AM (Answer #1)

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The seasons of the year operate symbolically in the novel. The four structural sections each correspond to a season of the year. Autumn beings the book: for Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda (like most children), autumn is a time of "beginnings," especially the beginning of the school year. Indeed, this section does contain "beginnings," for Claudia and Frieda first meet Pecola here.

Winter is traditionally associated with barrenness, empitness, and death. In winter, the girls become acquainted with Maureen Peal. She serves as a reminder to them that without beauty that will bring acceptance, their lives will remain empty and barren in white society. This is also the section in the book in which Pecola is abused by Geraldine and her son, Junior. Thus we see how sterile and unforgiving Pecola's life is.

Spring typically suggests rebirth, new life, change, and fruitfulness. However, the title is ironic is The Bluest Eye. In this section, more abuse and terror occur. Frieda is fondled by Mr. Henry, while Pecola is betaen by her mother for spilling the cobbler at the Fisher home and raped by her father. In this section, the audience also learns of the steady destruction of the lives of Pauline and Cholly Breedlove since their childhoods.

The section entitled "Summer" is the shortest section of the book. Again, one may expect happy children playing together, family vacations, and childhood revelations. However, this book does not present gleeful children reveling in the pleasures of summer but an isolated, insane Pecola. Her revelation is a false one, as she imagine herself to have blue eyes, the bluest of all.

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