AUTUMN: Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouse…) and Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamily…) Summary and Analysis
Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhiteithasareddooritisverypretty itisveryprettyprettyprettyp)
Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamilymotherfatherdickandjanetheyliveinthegreen andwhitehousetheyareveryh)
Mrs. Breedlove (Pauline): Pecola’s mother; works as a housekeeper for a rich white family and has a crippled foot
Cholly (Charlie) Breedlove: Pecola’s father; a terrible drunk who fights often with his wife
Sammy Breedlove: Pecola’s older brother
China, Poland, and Miss Marie: three prostitutes who live in the apartment above the Breedlove family
Mr. Yacobowski: the owner of a local grocery store
The reader is told about the history of the house in which the Breedloves live. It is not a rich or interesting history. In fact, so many people have come and gone that it is hard to remember who has lived there before the Breedloves move in. The family’s furniture is also unimportant and uninteresting, providing only use without the joy and comfort that some people receive from their furniture. The Breedloves have no happy memories and live their lives with the unspoken belief that they are all ugly.
One morning in October, Mrs. Breedlove wakes up, and she begins to wake up Cholly so that he might get some coal from the house. Cholly came home late the night before, drunk, and Mrs. Breedlove is looking for an excuse to start a fight with him, a fight that they couldn’t have the previous night because Cholly was so drunk. Cholly is unable to get up, and Mrs. Breedlove leaves to get coal, warning him that she had better not sneeze while she is up. Of course, Mrs. Breedlove sneezes once and throws a pan full of cold water on Cholly’s face. While Cholly and his wife are fighting, Pecola is hiding underneath her blanket, trying once again to make herself disappear.
Pecola can never make herself completely disappear. No matter how hard she tries, she can always feel the presence of her eyes. She believes that if she had blue eyes, everyone would treat her nicely. Instead, other children either tease or ignore her, while adults simply ignore her. She blames the abuse she receives on her own appearance and prays every day for blue eyes. One day she goes into a store to buy candy and feels uncomfortable when Mr. Yacobowski, the store owner, doesn’t pay any attention to her. He stares at her, but it is a stare without any recognition “because for him there is nothing to see.” Pecola feels humiliated as she asks for the Mary Jane candies. When she walks out of the store, she can sense anger and shame well up inside her. Tears come into her eyes, but she is able to stop crying by eating the Mary Jane candies and looking at the white girl on the wrapper. She sees the “smiling white face” and the “blue eyes looking at her out of a world of clean comfort.” This gives Pecola the desire to “be Mary Jane.”
After buying the candies, Pecola visits the prostitutes that live upstairs. Poland China and Miss Marie are the only people in the town that treat her kindly, so Pecola often stops in to see them. The women love to entertain the child with stories about their former loves and the places that they have seen. Miss Marie tells Pecola about a boyfriend that she once had, a man whom she had loved before she found out she could make money as a prostitute. After hearing Miss Marie’s stories, Pecola wonders once again about what love means between two people. If Pecola’s parents fight, does that mean that she must fight as well in order to find love? She tries to picture her parents in bed together but cannot. As the girls laugh and sing with each other, Pecola wonders if the girls “were real.”
The first chapter of the novel was narrated by Claudia. While first-person narration is effective in terms of drama, this type of narration can only present the events from the point of view of one character. In the next two chapters, the events are told from the point of an omniscient narrator, a narrator that can see...
(The entire section is 1,894 words.)