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by Toni Morrison

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Who had the most negative role in Pecola's life to you?

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dwalters76 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A tie exists between the people who had the most negative role in Pecola's life: her father, Cholly, and her mother, Pauline. Cholly had emotional issues stemming from, least of all, abandonment by his parents. He was angry with his situation in life, which makes him restless and rootless. By the time Cholly met Pauline, he was already a bitter man, and after the two were married, his bitterness continued to grow, and he took that bitterness out on his family, in particular Pecola, whom he raped twice. Pauline was a mess in her own right, feeling not only isolated, but also having a need for escapism; she used movies as an emotional outlet rather than relying on her family. Pauline and Cholly were both abusive towards each other with Pauline encouraging him towards his own violent behavior as a means for her to act as a martyr, which would have spilled over into their relationship with their children. Aside from the physical violent dependency Pauline experienced with Cholly, she also loathed her own family. The only time she truly felt alive was when she was cleaning a white woman’s homes. This alienation of affection from her own family created emotional upheaval within Pecola. For example, when Pauline found Pecola unconscious on the floor after Cholly’s first sexual attack, Pauline did not believe Pecola’s version of events,leaving Pecola feeling unloved, unwanted and ugly. The physical abuse suffered from her father would have furthered these self-defeating feelings.

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desdas | Student

Personally i think that Cholly, Peacola's father had the most negative effect in her life. If you are a girl, it is important to have a father figure in your life. Since Cholly was always drunk he was very unreliable. When he was sober he never even talk to her and that had a big effect on her. And to top all of that off he raped her, which i know had a big effect on her. After that she felt low, and she felt unwanted. since all of the other white kids families loved them she felt as though it was because of their blue eyes. So it was only expected for her to want blue eyes, because if she had blue eyes she thought that everybody would accept her. So that is why i think her father had the biggest effect on her.

rsh05d | Student

I believe that the society around Pecola was most detrimental. The novel is essentially about being accepted as beautiful following white norms. Pecola is unable to have blue eyes yet society is telling her she needs them to be successful. This collection of people includes her mother and father, but also the children at school and the general public.