SPRING: Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigand…) Summary and Analysis
Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigandstrongfatherwillyouplaywithjanefatheris smilingsmilefathersmilesmile)
Aunt Jimmy: the aunt of Cholly’s mother, who had abandoned Cholly right after he was born; raised Cholly herself
Blue Jack: an old man who worked at the feed store with Cholly; he used to entertain Cholly with stories
M’Dear: a respected midwife who also prescribed home remedies for the ladies of the town
O. V.: Aunt Jimmy’s brother
Jake: an older cousin who tries to pick up girls with Cholly
Darlene: Cholly’s first girlfriend
Samson Fuller: Cholly’s father
Cholly was raised by Jimmy, his great aunt. His mother had left him by a railroad track, and when Aunt Jimmy found out about it, she beat Cholly’s mother (her own niece) and took the baby away from her. Aunt Jimmy named Cholly after her own brother, rather than his father, because “ain’t no Samson [Fuller] ever come to no good end.” Cholly had a pleasant childhood and fondly remembered Blue Jack, a man who used to tell him stories while he worked in a feed store. Blue Jack became a father figure to Cholly, which was something that Cholly would appreciate later in life.
Aunt Jimmy died while Cholly was a young adolescent. At the funeral, Cholly meets one of his distant cousins, a fifteen-year-old named Jake. Jake and Cholly decide to look for some girls while the reception is going on, and Cholly meets a young girl named Darlene. Darlene and Cholly go off into the woods and talk with each other. The talking soon turns into kissing, and the two young lovers begin to undress each other. However, two white hunters find them in the grass, and as Cholly begins to pull up his pants, one of the hunters points his gun at him, and orders Cholly to continue, adding that Cholly had better “make it good.” Cholly is unable to do anything because of fear, so he fakes having sex with Darlene, at the same time hating the girl for seeing him like this. The hunters get bored and leave, and Cholly and Darlene also walk home in the rain.
After the incident, Cholly is afraid that Darlene will become pregnant. He cannot even tell Blue Jack about his problems; he feels that the only person who might understand is his real father, since he had also made a girl pregnant and abandoned her. He decides to travel to Macon and find Samson Fuller. After walking from town to town, he finally is far enough away from home to travel without fear, and he takes the next bus to Macon. He finds his father playing craps in an alley, but when he goes up to introduce himself, he realizes that he does not know his mother’s name. Samson Fuller, mistaking him for a messenger sent by another girlfriend, tells him to go away. Cholly walks away and sits down on a sidewalk, trying not to cry. He manages not to cry, but in doing so, he soils his trousers. As he goes down to the river to wash himself, he realizes how much he misses Aunt Jimmy and cries into the night.
The next morning, however, he begins a new life in which he need only worry about himself, since his parents are no longer a concern. He leads a dangerous and happy life, full of drunken adventures. Until he meets Pauline Williams, Cholly lives totally for himself. However, once the children come, Cholly is bewildered. Since he had no actual parents, and even those who had loved him left him at an early age, he cannot know how to raise children himself. This makes him feel uncomfortable whenever the children are around because he is unable to “comprehend what such a relationship should be” between parents and their children.
One day, Cholly comes home drunk and finds his daughter washing dishes. He hates himself because he cannot give anything to his daughter, and he hates Pecola because she looks like a whipped girl, who is weak-willed. He is about to be sick when he notices that Pecola is scratching one leg with the bare foot of the other leg. It reminds him of when he first met Pauline. When Pauline did it, Cholly wanted to...
(The entire section is 1,538 words.)