The Bluest Eye

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Frieda MacTeer Character Analysis

Claudia's older sister, Frieda is ten-years-old and possesses the same independence and resilience as Claudia. Claudia loves Shirley Temple and other white actresses, sharing the community's belief that whiteness is the paragon of beauty and virtue. Frieda possesses a deeper, although still limited, view of womanhood and adulthood, which Claudia envies.

Frieda MacTeer Quotes in The Bluest Eye

The The Bluest Eye quotes below are all either spoken by Frieda MacTeer or refer to Frieda MacTeer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Bluest Eye published in 2007.
Chapter 6 Quotes

"He…picked at me."
"Picked at you? You mean like Soaphead Church?"
"Sort of."
"He showed his privates to you?"
"Noooo. He touched me."
"Where?"
"Here and here." She pointed to her tiny breasts that, like two fallen acorns, scattered a few faded rose leaves on her dress.
"Really? How did it feel?"
"Oh, Claudia." She Sounded put-out. I wasn't asking the right questions.
"It didn't feel like anything."
"But wasn't it supposed to? Feel good, I mean."

Related Characters: Claudia MacTeer (speaker), Frieda MacTeer (speaker), Henry Washington, Soaphead Church
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

Claudia has come home to find Frieda crying in her bedroom; Frieda explains that their father has beaten up Mr. Henry because Mr. Henry groped her. Once again, the children use metaphorical language to discuss sexual acts, leaving Claudia confused about what Mr. Henry did and how it made Frieda feel. Claudia does seem to have some level of awareness about child molestation, based on the fact that she compares Mr. Henry's behavior to Soaphead Church, a known pedophile who exposes himself to young girls in the neighborhood. On the other hand, Claudia's misunderstanding is revealed by the fact that she asks Frieda if she liked it, thereby implying that Claudia is confused over the distinction between consensual sex and child abuse. 

Taken in the wider context of the novel, this confusion appears rather understandable. The sexual experiences of most of the female characters in The Bluest Eye are imbued with force and violence, and young girls are taught almost nothing about the reality of sex, relationships, and pregnancy. It is thus not surprising that Claudia does not expect sex to be consensual, and does not link pleasure to consent. Her naïveté is shown to further harm Frieda, who is hurt by her sister's misguided questioning. 

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Frieda MacTeer Character Timeline in The Bluest Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Frieda MacTeer appears in The Bluest Eye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue Section 2
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...bloomed in 1941. At that time, the narrator and her sister (later revealed to be Frieda) believe that the flowers did not bloom because Pecola had been raped by her father,... (full context)
Chapter 1
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Claudia and Frieda stand outside of a Greek hotel, watching their neighbor Rosemary Villanucci eat bread and butter... (full context)
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School has just started for Claudia and Frieda. In the evening, grown-ups take them to Zick's Coal Company to collect coal that has... (full context)
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...that her mother's anger is not directed at her, but at her illness. That night, Frieda comes into the room and sings to her, and later, another unnamed family member comes... (full context)
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...boarder named Mr. Henry comes to stay with the MacTeers. Before he arrives, Claudia and Frieda listen to their mother gossip with her friends about Miss Delia, the woman who Mr.... (full context)
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...out by their mother along with the furniture and rooms of the house. Claudia and Frieda are surprised when Mr. Henry speaks to them. "You must be Greta Garbo, and you... (full context)
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...Pecola obsessively drinks milk from a Shirley Temple cup owned by the MacTeers. Pecola and Frieda gush over Shirley Temple's beauty. Claudia, however, hates Shirley Temple in the same way she... (full context)
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One Saturday afternoon, Pecola, Frieda, and Claudia are outside on the house's stoop trying to avoid Mrs. MacTeer who is... (full context)
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...the girls are "playing nasty". Upon hearing this, Mrs. MacTeer rushes out and begins lashing Frieda with a switch. After lashing Frieda, she grabs Pecola to punish her the same way,... (full context)
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That night in bed, Claudia and Frieda are full of awe and respect for Pecola. Pecola asks Frieda if her menstruation means... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Claudia and Frieda persist in boredom, waiting for spring to come, but then the monotony of winter is... (full context)
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Claudia and Frieda are "bemused, irritated and fascinated" by Maureen Peal. Her expensive clothing and plentiful lunches shame... (full context)
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Frieda steps in and hits one of the boys in the head with a book. When... (full context)
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...her an ice cream too. When they reach the ice-cream parlor, Maureen asks Claudia and Frieda if they are going to buy any. Claudia says no, feeling embarrassed that she expected... (full context)
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...the issue, sensing something strange about the way Pecola brought her father into the conversation. Frieda and Claudia tell Maureen to end the conversation, and Claudia remembers seeing her father naked.... (full context)
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...wonders what Maureen has that she lacks. She suggests that at that time, she and Frieda could not fully understand the idea of worthlessness. She knows that Maureen is not the... (full context)
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...make them perceive the women as dangerous. When the prostitutes leave, the girls go inside. Frieda asks Mr. Henry who the women were. He tells her that the prostitutes are members... (full context)
Chapter 6
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When her mother finishes, Claudia goes to look for Frieda. She finds her upstairs in bed, crying. Claudia asks her what happened, assuming Frieda got... (full context)
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Claudia continues prying for information about the incident. She asks if Frieda just sat there and let Mr. Henry touch her. She looks at her own undeveloped... (full context)
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Claudia asks Frieda if their mother whipped her after the incident. When Frieda tells her that their mother... (full context)
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...at the girls and belches. The girls imagine they are witnessing what will happen to Frieda. When The Maginot Line asks if the girls are looking for someone, Claudia explains they... (full context)
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Deciding that Frieda's situation is dire enough, they begin walking to Mrs. Breedlove's workplace, even though their mother... (full context)
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Claudia and Frieda find Pecola sitting on the stoop in front of a beautiful white house. They tell... (full context)
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...the wash, the family's little white girl walks into the room. When she sees Pecola, Frieda and Claudia, a look of fear dances across her face. After a moment, the little... (full context)
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As the little girl yells out for Mrs. Breedlove to come into the kitchen, Frieda notices a dish of berry cobbler on the stove. Pecola reaches out and touches the... (full context)
Chapter 10
Claudia and Frieda feel ashamed and embarrassed for Pecola. Nobody in the community seems to share their sorrow.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...the community has disowned her. After the baby is delivered premature and stillborn, Claudia and Frieda don't go near Pecola because they feel they have failed her by not planting the... (full context)