The adult characters in The Bluest Eye are full of rage, violence, and contempt. Claudia, the young child narrator, is neglected by her parents on a daily basis. She spends most of her time outside, while her parents argue belligerently and physically assault one another. Sometimes Claudia asks her mother questions, or tries to connect with her emotionally. Claudia's mother responds either by violently hitting the child or by coldly ignoring her.
Claudia's friend Pecola also suffers at the hands of her parents. Her mother is emotionally abusive toward her: constantly putting her down, calling her ugly, or insulting Pecola for her dark skin. Pecola's father sexually assaults her, and frequently abandonds the family for months at a time.
Even minor adult characters: teachers, the grocer, neighbors, and church members, seem to breathe contempt at the children in the story. Claudia portrays the dysfunctional and abusive behavior of the adults around here in the matter-of-fact tone of a young child. Her narrative tone tragically reveals that these dynamics are all too common in her life; indeed, for her, they seem normal.