In "the Bluest Eye," what is significant about Soaphead's parentage? What did his parents do to him? Does it affect his understanding of girls?

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podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Soaphead's ancestry does give some insight into his character. He is the descendant of both black West Indians and white British nobility. Morrison's narrator informs us that his family "hoarded" their "white strain" and was proud of it, trying to "marry up" at every turn.

The fact that Soaphead's parentage is made up of both perpetrators and victims plays out in his own life. He is filled with both arrogance and self-loathing. He is a pedophile that preys on little girls, but is also filled with a genuine desire to help Pecola when she comes to him for blue eyes.

Soaphead's sexual victimization of little girls stems from his obsession with cleanliness. Real love between real adults is too messy, too complicated, so Soaphead preys on innocent children. The narrator explains that "he was aware . . . that something was awry in his life, but put the problem where it belonged, at the foot of the Originator of Life." Soaphead blames God rather than himself for the problems he sees around him, and addresses a complaint letter to God at the end of the chapter.