Bluest Eye

Whats the difference between the girls from Mobile and the girls from Lorain


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The section opens with a long descriptive passage about a certain kind of black girl, hailing from Southern towns like Mobile and Aiken, who grows to be a certain kind of woman, marries a certain kind of man, keeps a certain kind of house. The routine of homemaking is described lyrically. This type of woman also struggles to remove what is black about herself, a trait Morrison calls "funkiness." The description shifts quickly from the general to the specific, focusing on a woman named Geraldine. She lives in Lorain with her husband Louis and has a cat and a son named Junior. The cat is the object of her greatest affection, a clean and quiet animal that leaves no messes. Their family lives in a nice house next to the playground of Washington Irving school, which is also the school attended by Pecola and the MacTeers. Geraldine has explained to her son that there is a difference between colored people and niggers, and that their family belongs to the first category. Colored people have standards of behavior more in line with white bourgeois sensabilities, or, as Geraldine would put it, colored people are clean and quiet and niggers are dirty and loud. She has always encouraged her son to play with white children.


This chapter describes in detail a particular type of black woman. She comes from some small, rural town in the South, full of natural beauty, where everyone has a job. She takes special care of her body and her clothes. She goes to a land-grant college and learns how to do the work reserved for her, the care and feeding of white people, with grace and good manners. She marries and bears the children of a man who knows that she will take good care of his house and his clothes. But she also is a tyrant over her home and over her own body. She does not enjoy sex. She feels affection only for the household cat, which is as neat and quiet as she is. She caresses and cuddles the cat in a way that she refuses to caress or cuddle her family.