The Front Tooth and My Foot
Pauline Breedlove would be quite a sight. This minor character in Tony Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye has a missing front tooth and a severe limp that seem to mirror her hollow and warped family life. When looking at the novel from a Freudian perspective, Pauline’s repressions and obsessions stand out. The reader learns a great deal about this mother of two in the middle of the book when the narrative is interrupted and Tony Morrison gives a glimpse into Pauline’s life and history.
Morrison sums up Pauline’s feelings toward her physical imperfections by writing, “The end of her lovely beginning was probably the cavity in one of her front teeth. She preferred, however, to think always of her foot” (110). It seems Pauline consistently repressed the difficult fact that her face, her smile, her presented identity, was deformed. The logic behind this choice was most likely her husband Cholly’s different reactions to the two physical flaws. The first time Cholly sees Pauline, “…she felt something tickling her foot…[Cholly] was bending down and tickling her broken foot and kissing her leg” (Morrison 115). Clearly, he could at least overlook the abnormality. But later, also with respect to her lame foot, Morrison writes, “Instead of...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 849 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6403 literature essays, 1757 sample college application essays, 259 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in