The Bluest Eye

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A "high yellow dream child", as Claudia calls her, Maureen is a mulatto girl from a wealthy family. She moves to Loraine in the winter, interrupting the tedium of the long winter months. She wears nice clothing and brings large, healthy lunches to school. She is treated with special kindness and respect by her peers, and feels she is superior to others. She is capable of both kindness and cruelty.

Maureen Peal Quotes in The Bluest Eye

The The Bluest Eye quotes below are all either spoken by Maureen Peal or refer to Maureen Peal. 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:
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Bluest Eye published in 2007.
Chapter 10 Quotes

I thought of the baby that everybody wanted dead, and saw it very clearly. It was in a dark, wet place, its head covered with great O's of wool, the black face holding, like nickels, two clean black eyes…no synthetic yellow bangs suspended over marble-blue eyes, no pinched nose and bowline mouth. More strongly than my fondness for Pecola, I felt a need for someone to want the black baby to live—just to counteract the universal love of baby dolls, Shirley Temples, and Maureen Peals.

Related Characters: Claudia MacTeer (speaker), Pecola Breedlove, Maureen Peal
Related Symbols: Blue Eyes
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

Claudia and Frieda have heard rumors that Pecola is pregnant with her father's baby, and they are the only ones in the neighborhood who sympathize with Pecola. In contrast to the rest of the community, Claudia hopes the baby lives, and muses that if the baby was wanted, this would be a counteracting force to the glorification of whiteness that pervades American society. She imagines a vision of the baby, using positive terms to describe its blackness ("clean black eyes"), and framing white features as ugly ("synthetic yellow bangs... pinched nose"). This echoes Claudia's earlier feelings of resentment toward the white baby dolls, suggesting that this resentment is born out of a noble and necessary desire to reverse the automatic association of whiteness and beauty.

The fact that Claudia and Frieda are alone in wanting the baby to live, however, does not bode well; this suggests that the adults in their community have accepted blackness as ugly, an acceptance that makes them unable to sympathize with Pecola (despite the fact that she is clearly a victim who has done nothing wrong). In this sense, the novel is not very optimistic––after all, Pecola's baby does not survive, Pecola goes insane, and there seems to be a sense of inevitability to Claudia and Freida losing their innocence and self-love. 

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Maureen Peal Character Timeline in The Bluest Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Maureen Peal appears in The Bluest Eye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...monotony of winter is broken by the arrival of a new girl at school named Maureen Peal. Maureen is a light skinned black girl with green eyes. She comes from a... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Claudia and Frieda are "bemused, irritated and fascinated" by Maureen Peal. Her expensive clothing and plentiful lunches shame the girls' ragged clothing and meager lunches.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Maureen is assigned the locker next to Claudia's. Claudia knows she is about to become friends... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...his hand back asks Claudia if she wants a fat lip. Before he can swing, Maureen steps forward beside Claudia and stops the violence. Claudia suggests that the boys did not... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
After the altercation, Maureen takes Pecola's arm and introduces herself. When Pecola tells Maureen her name, Maureen responds that... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Maureen offers to buy Pecola an ice cream at Isaley's. As they walk, Claudia thinks about... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...walk home, they pass the Dreamland Theater, where they see an image of Betty Grable. Maureen asks the girls if they love Betty Grable as much as she does. Pecola agrees,... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
Maureen then tells the girls that Audrey, who is sixteen, doesn't menstruate yet. She then asks... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Maureen continues pushing the issue. "What do I care about her old black daddy?" she says.... (full context)