Describe the failure of the adults in The Bluest Eye.

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Being failed by the adults around her causes Pecola’s inability to function in the world. It also leads her to regress into a fantasy in which she is a different person, with the features that she believes will make her pretty—thus the title, The Bluest Eye.

The first person a child looks to for love, support, and protection is their mother. Pecola is failed by her mother, who neglects and criticizes her while giving her motherly care to the children in the white family for whom she works. Ultimately, Mrs. Breedlove does not even protect Pecola from the abuse and rape by her father, Cholly, who is another adult figure that not only fails Pecola but distorts her conception of normal human behavior and the difference between a parent-child relationship and a relationship between adults. When Cholly burns down the house, the author may be trying to show that the behavior of her parents has destroyed what should have been a safe place for Pecola to learn and grow into a young woman.

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