Bluest Eye


  • Pecola Breedlove: The focal character and possible protagonist of the novel. A poor black girl, she believes that she is ugly because she and her community base their ideals of beauty on "whiteness". The title The Bluest Eye refers to Pecola's fervent wishes for beautiful blue eyes. She is rarely developed during the story, which is purposely done to underscore the actions of the other characters. Her insanity at the end of the novel is her only way to escape the world where she cannot be beautiful and to get the blue eyes she desires from the beginning of the novel.
  • Cholly Breedlove: Pecola's abusive father and an alcoholic. Rejected by his father and discarded by his mother as a four-day-old baby, Cholly was raised by his Great Aunt Jimmy and mentored by a beloved elder called Blue Jack. After Aunt Jimmy dies, Cholly runs away and pursues the life of a "free man" but cannot escape his painful past or live with his mistakes of the present. Tragically, he rapes his daughter in a gesture of madness mingled with affection. He realizes he loves her, but the only way that he can express it is to rape her. The source of some of his sexual violence is explained in a flashback scene at the day of Aunt Jimmy's funeral in which his first sexual encounter with a girl named Darlene is interrupted by two white men, who force Cholly to continue while they watch and sneer.
  • Pauline "Polly" Breedlove: Pecola's mother. Mrs. Breedlove is married to Cholly and lives the self-righteous life of a martyr, enduring her drunk husband and raising her two awkward children as best she can. Mrs. Breedlove is a bit of an outcast herself with her shriveled foot and Southern background. Mrs. Breedlove lives the life of a lonely and isolated character who escapes into a world of dreams, hopes and fantasy that turns into the movies she enjoys viewing. After a traumatic event with a foul tooth, however, she relinquishes those dreams and escapes into her life as a housekeeper for a rich white family who give her the beloved nickname "Polly".
  • Sam Breedlove: Pecola's older brother. Sammy is Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove's only son. Sam's part in this novel is relatively low-key. Like his sister Pecola, he is affected by the disharmony in their home and deals with his anger by running away.
  • Auntie Jimmy: Cholly's great aunt, who takes him in to raise after his parents abandon him. She is friends with a Miss Alice and is briefly ill, tended to by the medicine woman whom the locals call "M'Dear." Aunt Jimmy dies suddenly when Cholly is still a young boy during a meal of peach cobbler that was made by a friend, Esse Foster.
  • The Fishers: The rich, white couple who employ Pauline as their servant and as the caretaker of their little girl.
  • Geraldine: A social climbing black woman in the community who tries to exaggerate the fact that she is above traditional black stereotypes and is more "civilized" than other black families in Lorain, Ohio. When she feels that her husband isn't fulfilling her need for love, she finds a cat and pours her affections into it. Her lack of attention to any but the cat causes unintended hatred for the cat from her son, whom she neglects often.
  • Louis Junior: Geraldine's son who bullies Pecola and blames her for accidentally killing his mother's favorite cat.
  • Maginot Line (Marie): Prostitute. She lives with two other prostitutes – named China and Poland – in an apartment above the one that Pecola lives in. These ladies are ostracized by society, but teach Pecola a lot about being a social outcast, and offer her the support that few others do.
  • Rosemary Villanucci: The MacTeers' next-door neighbor who constantly tries to get Claudia and Frieda in trouble.
  • Mr. Yacobowski: The discriminatory white immigrant, owner of the grocery store where Pecola goes to buy Mary Janes.
  • Maureen Peal: An African-American girl Pecola's age, who considers herself and other people "of color" to be above black people. Frieda and Claudia mock Maureen, calling her "Meringue Pie."
  • Soaphead Church: Born Elihue Micah Whitcomb, he is a light-skinned West Indian misanthrope and self-declared “Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams.” He hates all kinds of human touch, with the exception of the bodies of young girls. He is a religious hypocrite.[3]

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.