The Bluest Eye

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Pecola's fourteen-year-old brother, Samuel suffers the same abuse as Pecola at the hands of their parents. Samuel, in contrast to his sister, is not afraid to get involved in his parents' arguments and even uses physical force. He is known to run away from home, which he has done twenty-seven times by the age of fourteen.

Samuel Breedlove Quotes in The Bluest Eye

The The Bluest Eye quotes below are all either spoken by Samuel Breedlove or refer to Samuel Breedlove. 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 2 Quotes

The Breedloves lived there, nestled together in the storefront. Festering together in the debris of a realtor's whim. They slipped in and out of the box of peeling grey, making no stir in the neighborhood, no sound in the labor force, and no wave in the mayor's office. Each member of the family in his own cell of consciousness, each making his own patchwork quilt of reality—collecting fragments of experience here, pieces of information there.

Related Characters: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove, Pauline Breedlove, Samuel Breedlove
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Having introduced the abandoned storefront where the Breedloves live, the unnamed narrator goes on to describe the family themselves. The image the narrator builds is of people who are trapped, dirty, broken, invisible, and in some ways barely human. The word "festering" in particular points to a sense of ugliness and hopelessness, and the phrase "each member of the family in his own cell of consciousness" suggests that the Breedlove's dilapidated residence is closer to a prison than a family home. By invoking animality and imprisonment, the narrator connects the Breedloves' misfortune with many negative stereotypes about African American life. Indeed, although the identity of the narrator remains unknown, the observations here seem to reflect the wider community's impression of the Breedloves and their ghost-like presence in the neighborhood. 

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Chapter 3 Quotes

[The Breedloves] lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed because they believed they were ugly.

Related Characters: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove, Pauline Breedlove, Samuel Breedlove
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator explains that the Breedloves do not live in the storefront as a temporary measure while they transition to more appropriate housing—they seem to be there permanently. Although the Breedloves are forced to live there because they are poor and black, the reason they do not try to leave is because they "believed they were ugly." Here the narrator draws a clear contrast between social forces outside of the control of any one individual and the psychic condition produced by these forces that in turn exacerbates their effects. While it would be incorrect to say that the narrator blames the Breedloves for their situation, it is clear that in accepting society's negative view of themselves, the Breedloves have forsaken all hope for a better future. 

This passage is important because it introduces the notion that ideas about beauty and ugliness have a major impact on the way the world works. Note that the narrator does not say that the Breedloves believed they were wicked or inferior; rather, they simply believe that they are ugly. This is crucial, as throughout the novel Morrison shows that the concept of beauty––and specifically the association of whiteness with beauty and blackness with ugliness––is a highly insidious and effective way of making black people hate themselves and accept their own oppression at the hands of whites. 

You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their own conviction.

Related Characters: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove, Pauline Breedlove, Samuel Breedlove
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator has described the Breedloves' facial features, which do not sound particularly strange or grotesque but actually fairly ordinary ("they had high cheekbones, and their eyes turned forward"). The narrator explains that it is not the Breedloves' features themselves that are particularly ugly, but that the "source" of their ugliness is their belief that they are ugly. This emphasizes the earlier point that the Breedloves remain stuck in dire circumstances because they are convinced that this is what they deserve. Note that Morrison does not imply that believing in your own beauty is a simple or easy choice; rather, over the course of the novel she implies that it is might be easier for a black girl like Pecola to go mad (as Pecola does) than to contradict the stereotypes of a racist society and convince herself that she is beautiful. 

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Samuel Breedlove Character Timeline in The Bluest Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Samuel Breedlove appears in The Bluest Eye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
The narrator then explains that Pecola and her brother Sammy respond to the violence in different ways. Sammy curses, and often throws himself into the... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...Cholly using his hands and feet, and Mrs. Breedlove using a dishpan. They struggle until Sammy jumps in and begins hitting Cholly in the head. Seizing the opportunity, Mrs. Breedlove grabs... (full context)
Chapter 7
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Pauline gives birth to a baby boy, Samuel, but discovering the first baby did not fill the emptiness she feels, she gets pregnant... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Christian virtue to feel superior to him, and speaks badly about him to Pecola and Samuel. She describes the way they used to make love. In the early days of their... (full context)
Chapter 11
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...not planting the flowers correctly. Pecola moves with her mother to the edge of town, Sammy runs away, and Cholly dies in a workhouse. Claudia believes the community, including herself, has... (full context)