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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team