Bluest Eye

describe the history behine the breedlove house

comment on the description of breedlove's ugliness. how is pecola at home

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The omniscient third-person narrator describes the house where the Breedlove family once lived. The house is ugly and dilapidated, actually designed to be a store, and it passed through many hands after the Breedloves (gypsies, real estate office, Hungarian baker, pizza parlor), before the building was finally abandoned. The space is partitioned into two rooms by a flimsy wall: a small front room and a bedroom, where all of the Breedloves sleep. There is a kitchen in the back and no bath facilities except for a toilet bowl. The bedroom has a coal stove for heat.

The space is cold and alien: there are no fond memories connected to its physical parts. The narrator spends a bit of time talking about the sofa, and the way the fabric is split straight across the back‹years ago the sofa was purchased new, but the sofa split while being delivered, and the Breedloves still had to pay the full price. There is a bit of dialogue taken from the moment of that delivery, as Cholly Breedlove tries‹and fails‹to negotiate with the store manager. The narrator goes on to say that the feeling from looking at the sofa poisons everything. The rip becomes something that spreads throughout the house, until all things are as battered and broken and uncared for as the sofa. The final words of the section are about the small coal stove, which is unreliable at all times except the morning‹when the fire always, without fail, dies.


The section heading juxtaposes the idealized white world with the sad living conditions of the Breedloves. Most prominent in this section is the scarcity of love associated with this home‹unlike the MacTeer's house, which is humble but not without love, the Breelove's home is completely devoid of pleasant associations. The absence of love is an important theme of the novel. There is no effort to maintain the house, and the sofa brings memories of humiliation. Cholly negotiated with the store manager with "tightened testicles," hinting at the kind of emasculation he feels throughout his life when dealing with white men.

The coal stove indicates, both figuratively and literally, the absence of warmth in the Breedlove home. The inconsistency of its heat parallels the inconsistency of the Breedlove parents in their affection for each other and for their children. The morning, which should be the most hopeful time of day and the time when it would be most pleasant to have warmth, is the coldest time of all. Pecola's home is cold and incapable of nurturing her: it cannot provide warmth, pleasant memories, or a sense of pride in ownership or belonging. The Breedlove's apartment is most often referred to not as the Breedlove's home, but as the Breedlove's storefront, reminding us of the type of building it was meant to be and the comfortable home that it can't be.