Comentary on the Bluest Eyes

Aubrey Blackshaw
English commentary
From Pg. 43 ‘Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove fought each other…’ to Pg 44 ‘Sammy screamed, ‘Kill him! Kill him!’
Mrs. Breedlove is first seen waking up first and begins to bang about in the kitchen. Pecola is awake in bed and knows that her mother will pick a fight with her father, Cholly, who came home drunk the previous night. Each of Cholly's drunken scenes ends with a fight with his wife. Mrs. Breedlove comes in and attempts to wake Cholly to bring her some coal for the stove. He refuses, and she says that if she sneezes just once from fetching the coal outside, she’ll start a fight.
The narrator, Claudia, comments that Mrs. Breedlove and Cholly need each other. She needs him to reinforce her identity as a martyr and to give shape to an otherwise dreary life, and he needs to take out a lifetime of hurt upon her.

The fights between Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove have a similar pattern, and the two have an unstated agreement not to kill each other. Sammy usually either runs away from home or joins the fight. Pecola tries to find ways to endure the pain.
Predictably, Mrs. Breedlove sneezes, and the fight begins. She douses Cholly with cold water and he begins to beat her. She hits him with the dishpan and then a stove lid. Sammy helps by hitting his father on the head. Once Cholly is knocked out, Sammy urges his mother to kill him, and she quiets him. Pecola, still in bed, feels nauseated. As she often does, she wills herself to disappear.

This passage portrays victimhood as a complex phenomenon rather than a simple, direct relationship between oppressor and oppressed as well as a dysfunctional family that thrives on hatred anger and violence. The Breedloves' ugliness is one of the central mysteries of the novel. It cannot be attributed to their literal appearance (we are told that their ugliness “did not belong to them). But the ugliness in their behavior in front of their children is deplorable.
The protagonist in the...