Summer arrives and brings storms that both frighten and please Claudia. She imagines her mother in the summer of 1929 when a tornado hit Loraine and destroyed much of the town. In the fantasy she envisions her mother getting swept up by strong winds. Her mother is calm and collected as the town crumbles around her, and she is carried off, smiling with one hand resting on her hip. Claudia says the changing of the seasons is the "moirai" of the community members' lives, and their private lives become affected by public reality.
Claudia's fantasies of her mother symbolically represent the situation in town after the community becomes aware of Pecola's pregnancy. The tornado represents Pecola's pregnancy, which threatens to reveal the self-hatred and ugliness of the community. Facing the facts of their community would have a devastating effect, as public realities (the unspoken hatred and ugliness) would be revealed and begin to affect private lives. Claudia's vision of her mother shows how individuals ignore the realities of the community—focusing on their own homes, and cleaning, and while comforted by that are also made distant and unreachable. The reference to the "moirai," also known in Greek mythology as "the fates," speaks to the powerlessness of the community—each season brings changes, and these changes are fated, meaning the community has no control over them. The force of these changes comes from the larger cultural context; mainly the racist atmosphere existing in the U.S. during the time the novel takes place.
The girls sell packets of marigold seeds, planning to use the money they earn to buy a new bike. Their mother tells them not to visit the homes of people they don't know, but the girls go to homes all over town. As they enter different homes, they begin to overhear conversations about Pecola and begin to understand that Pecola is pregnant with her father's baby. Pecola's mother beat her when she found out what happened, and Cholly run's away. Some community members believe Pecola is to blame for the horrible situation. Some believe she should be pulled out of school. Others hope the baby dies.
The community members want Pecola removed from school and the community because her pregnancy, the result or racial-self hatred, self-perceived ugliness, sexual violence, and oppression, exposes these underlying facts of their lives. The baby's death would provide the ultimate solution to this problem, removing the symbol of their hidden reality so everyone can comfortably ignore it.
Claudia and Frieda feel ashamed and embarrassed for Pecola. Nobody in the community seems to share their sorrow. They find that people are disgusted, amused, shocked, outraged and even excited by the situation, but none show any compassion for Pecola. Claudia and Frieda are not concerned with the incestuous nature of Pecola's pregnancy, as they do not full understand how babies are conceived. Claudia imagines the baby in Pecola's womb, and believes that if the baby lives it will counteract the universal love of white baby dolls and little white girls. Because of this desire to change the universal love of white girls, the girls decide to take action to change the outcome of the situation. They bury the money they'd been saving for their bicycle by Pecola's house and plant marigold seeds in their back yard. They believe they will know the miracle has occurred when the marigolds bloom.
Unlike the community, Claudia and Frieda have not been damaged by racism and violence. This comes in part by their age, but also perhaps because of the stability of their home and family. They do not fear the symbolic meaning of Pecola's baby, because they are not burdened by racial self-hatred and self-perceived ugliness, and have nothing to hide. At the same time, Claudia's belief that the birth of a black baby will create a change in the way the community worships white beauty and hates blackness is innocent, naïve, and perhaps desperate. The futility of this wish is represented symbolically when the baby dies. These issues are too enormous and deeply rooted to counteract.