including the three prostitutes who mother Pecola. (Include Mrs. MacTeer, Geraldine, and Pauline)
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Pauline Breedlove is the mother of Pecola. She is the product of a poverty-stricken environment where she learned that her existence was defined by her difference from her ten siblings. When she was two years old she stepped on a rusty nail that penetrated her foot and left her with a permanent limp. She let her physical deformity define her as damaged goods, unworthy and undeserving of love or attention. When she met Cholly as a young woman, she was surprised by his ability to see her as attractive. She married him, they moved north to Ohio and had two children, Sammy and Pecola.
Pauline doesn't fit into the black middle-class society and refuses to accept Anglo brainwashing. She does not straighten her hair or wear makeup. However, she immerses herself in watching movies and fantasizes herself as the beautiful white protagonist. When she is fired by her white employer and treated badly by a doctor, she treats her own daughter with the same contempt that white society has treated her. When she realizes that her husband, Cholly, is a hopeless alcoholic she reinvents herself as the perfect servant of a wealthy white family. The white family refers to her as "Polly" while her own children call her Mrs. Breedlove. Pauline obeys her employer's every command. She lavishes affection on her employer's child but ignores her own daughter's feelings. Her daughter, Pecola, is suffering but Pauline doesn't know it or care about it.
Pecola Breedlove is the main character around whom the story revolves. At the beginning of the story, she is a sensitive, withdrawn eleven-year-old black girl who meets Frieda and Claudia because she is placed in their home by social services. Pecola is abused by nearly everyone in the novel. She is very passive, and even when hatred and violence erupt all around her, she does not retaliate. Instead, Pecola absorbs the hatred and racial discrimination in which she is submerged. Pecola has no friends except for Claudia and Frieda. Pecola is taunted by schoolboys, despised by white teachers, emotionally abused by her mother and raped by her father. She loses her father's baby and ends up severely mentally disturbed. Her only weapon against the terrifying forces arrayed against her is to conceive a desire for blue eyes, because she thinks these will make her beautiful. In the end she is tricked by Soaphead Church into believing that her eyes have indeed turned blue.
Mrs. MacTeer is definitely an authoruty figure, She's callous is her expectations of complete obedience, but she also loves and protects her children above everything else.