What does Claudia associate with the spring season? How is this similar and different from her association with winter?

Claudia associates spring with gardens, as opposed to winter, which is associated with cold and darkness. At the same time, she associates Maureen Peal with winter and perceives her as disrupting the seasons of the year.

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In The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Claudia associates the spring season with gardens. She explains that by comparison, during the winter, “mostly we waited for spring, when there could be gardens.” This is extremely different from her association with winter, which is of cold and darkness. She says,

Winter tightened our heads with a band of cold and melted our eyes. We put pepper in the feet of our stockings, Vaseline on our faces, and stared through dark icebox mornings at four stewed prunes, slippery lumps of oatmeal, and cocoa with a roof of skin.

This association is probably not that dissimilar to what most young people associate with winter. The days are shorter. The temperature is cold, and blustery winds make it necessary to wrap layers of warm clothing on in order to stay warm. Claudia describes the cold as so biting that it “melted [their] eyes.” In more affluent neighborhoods, perhaps the children wear socks made of heavy wool or other warm materials, but the MacTeer girls use pepper to help keep their feet warm and Vaseline to keep their faces and lips from getting chapped.

However, Claudia also associates the new girl in school with the winter and describers her, Maureen Peal, as the “disrupter of seasons.” By this, she means that despite the frigid temperature and early sunsets that cast the world into darkness at an early hour, Maureen brought springtime into the school for many. She was bright and charming—or, at least, she appeared to be. She could not be associated with just one season, because, as Claudia writes,

There was a hint of spring in her sloe green eyes, something summery in her complexion, and a rich autumn ripeness in her walk.

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