SUMMER: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 (Looklookherecomes…) Summary and Analysis
Chapter11 (Looklookherecomesafriendthefriendwillplaywithjanetheywill playagoodgameplayjaneplay)
Claudia and Frieda are delighted to receive the packages of seeds that they had been waiting for all spring. They hope to sell enough seeds to earn a bicycle, so they begin to knock on the doors of their neighbors. They begin to pick up some gossip and eventually realize that Pecola is pregnant by Cholly. They are hurt and ashamed for their friend, but they are hurt even more when they find out that no one seems to care about Pecola, and everyone hopes that the baby will be stillborn. Frieda and Claudia decide that they must want the baby to live in order “to counteract the universal love of white baby dolls, Shirley Temples, and Maureen Peals.” They decide to say a prayer and sacrifice the seeds. They will bury the seeds, and if the seeds blossom, they will know that Pecola’s baby will live.
The seeds do not blossom. Pecola’s baby is born prematurely and dies. Cholly and Sammy leave, while Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove move into a little house on the edge of town. As the years pass, Pecola spends most of her days roaming the streets and the dump, the laughingstock of the entire town. The only thing she talks about now is her blue eyes, and she lives in fear that someone will have eyes that are “bluer” than hers. Claudia, now an adult, comments on how the people of Lorain used to make themselves feel better at Pecola’s expense. Claudia used to blame herself for letting the seeds die in the ground, but she has come to the understanding that it “was the fault of the earth, the land, of our town.” In a cruel world, some people manage to survive, but for Pecola, “it’s much, much, much too late.”
The outcome of Pecola’s life is tragic but not surprising. Morrison provokes controversy by having one of the women discussing Pecola claim that “she ought to carry some of the blame” for being raped by Cholly. While that statement is outrageous, it is also true that Pecola is not blameless for her descent into madness. Pecola has reacted to every injustice and attack by retreating into a fantasy world of blue eyes and beauty. It is true that the pain she felt at the hands of the other children was horrible. Maureen Peal insulted her to feed her own ego. Louis Junior hurt Pecola out of hatred for his own mother, and Geraldine was cruel to her out of hatred of dark-skinned black people. Mrs. Breedlove ignored her in order to live a life in her own fantasy world, and when Cholly tries to give her the support that she had needed, he ends up raping her on the kitchen floor. All of this does not cause Pecola’s madness. Pecola goes insane because she had devoted her life to obtaining that which she could never have. Her obsession with blue eyes leads her to Soaphead Church, who deludes her into believing she has them. Rather than deal with the horrible things that have happened to her, Pecola decides to retreat completely into her fantasy world. It is not a fair choice for a twelve-year-old girl to have to make, but it is still her choice.
Pecola walks around town with a mirror, looking at her own eyes. When people look away from her, Pecola attributes these reactions to jealousy. Her actions are a grotesque parody of Maureen Peal and what she imagines other beautiful girls must be like. Pecola’s imaginary friend is a manifestation of her madness; she needs a friend in order to justify her delusion of blue eyes. This is consistent with Pecola’s idea that if she had blue eyes, she would become popular. If she did not have new friends, then it would mean that her eyes were not blue and Soaphead Church was a fraud. So Pecola creates a new friend in her mind in order to keep up the illusion that she has blue eyes. The conversation with her friend shows that Pecola has completely detached herself from reality. She refuses to acknowledge any of the previous events in her life, even though her friend teases...
(The entire section is 1,272 words.)