The Bluest Eye

Cholly Breedlove Character Analysis

Pecola's father, Cholly is a violent and severely damaged man. From a young age Cholly has been free—his mother left him on a trash heap as an infant, and his caretaker dies when he is an adolescent—but his freedom is both isolating and dangerous, allowing him to commit heinous acts without remorse. Early sexual failures and racial violence have also contributed to Cholly's vicious nature, and although Cholly is capable of love, he takes out his anger and frustration on the women in his life. He ultimately rapes Pecola, his own daughter, and then runs away.

Cholly Breedlove Quotes in The Bluest Eye

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

Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father's baby that the marigolds did not grow. A little examination and much less melancholy would have proved to us that our seeds were not the only ones that didn't sprout; nobody's did…It had never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola's father had dropped his seeds into his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair.

Related Characters: Claudia MacTeer (speaker), Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove
Related Symbols: Marigolds
Page Number: 3-4
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 1 Quotes

Cholly Breedlove, then, a renting black, having put his family outdoors, had catapulted himself beyond the reaches of human consideration. He had joined the animals; was indeed, an old dog, a snake, a ratty nigger.

Related Characters: Claudia MacTeer (speaker), Cholly Breedlove
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

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Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove fought each other with a darkly brutal formalism that was paralleled only by their lovemaking. Tacitly they had agreed not to kill each other. He fought her the way a coward fights a man—with feet, the palms of his hands, and teeth. She, in turn, fought back in a purely feminine way—with frying pans and pokers, and occasionally a flatiron would sail toward his head.

Related Characters: Cholly Breedlove, Pauline Breedlove
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

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What did love feel like? she wondered. How do grownups act when they love each other? Eat fish together? Into her eyes came the picture of Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove in bed. He making sounds as through he were in pain, as though something had him by the throat and wouldn't let go. Terrible as his noises were, they were not nearly as bad as the no noise at all from her mother. It was as though she was not even there. Maybe that was love. Choking sounds and silence.

Related Characters: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove, Pauline Breedlove
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

Sullen, irritable, he cultivated his hatred of Darlene. Never once did he consider directing his hatred toward the hunters. Such an emotion would have destroyed him. They were big, white, armed men. He was small, black, and helpless. His subconscious knew what his conscious mind did not guess—that hating them would have consumed him, burned him up like a piece of soft coal, leaving only flakes of ash and a question mark of smoke…For now, he hated the one who had created the situation, the one who bore witness to his failure, his impotence.

Related Characters: Cholly Breedlove
Page Number: 148-149
Explanation and Analysis:

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His soul seemed to slip down into his guts and fly into her, and the gigantic thrust he made into her then provoked the only sound she made—a hollow suck of air in the back of her throat. Like the rapid loss of air from a circus balloon.

Related Characters: Pecola Breedlove, Cholly Breedlove
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Cholly Breedlove Character Timeline in The Bluest Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Cholly Breedlove appears in The Bluest Eye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue Section 2
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...believe that the flowers did not bloom because Pecola had been raped by her father, Cholly, and was pregnant with his baby. Although the community believes the baby would be better... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
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...was unyielding, and that their hopes of saving the baby were just as futile as Cholly's lust for his own child. In the end of the passage, the narrator states that... (full context)
Chapter 1
Home and Family Theme Icon
...to stay with the MacTeers. The county places Pecola with the MacTeers because her father, Cholly, burned their house down. Claudia explains that Cholly put the family "outdoors", which is different... (full context)
Chapter 2
Home and Family Theme Icon
The Breedloves move into the storefront after Cholly gets out of jail for setting their previous residence on fire. They live anonymously inside... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
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...reaction in the Breedloves. The couch in particular is a source of pain and anger. Cholly believed the couch was new when he bought it, but it arrives with a giant... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...statement as true. For the Breedloves, every billboard, movie, and glance supports this statement. While Cholly is the only family member whose ugliness is derived from his own actions, the other... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...hears pots and pans clanging together, and perceives her mother's ruckus as a threat to Cholly, who came home drunk the night before. Every time Cholly comes home drunk, a fight... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
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Eventually, Mrs. Breedlove comes back into the bedroom and attempts to wake Cholly. She tells him the stove needs coal. Cholly opens his eyes, which are red and... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
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Race and Racism Theme Icon
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The narrator explains that even though Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove constantly fight, they depend on each other to maintain their individual identities.... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...don't." Eventually, Mrs. Breedlove inevitably sneezes, and as she promised, she starts the fight with Cholly by throwing a glass of cold water in his face. Cholly rises from bed naked... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
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...feels like, and thinks of her parents when they have sex. During the sexual act, Cholly makes awful noises like he is in pain, and Mrs. Breedlove remains completely quiet as... (full context)
Chapter 7
...in her life, she is grateful, but not surprised. The man, later revealed to be Cholly, approaches Pauline on the hottest day of the year, with yellow eyes and flaring nostrils.... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
At first, Pauline and Cholly love each other. Cholly finds Pauline's simple country ways and naivety toward life in the... (full context)
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In her loneliness, Pauline becomes more dependent on Cholly. He begins to resent her for clinging to him, and spending more and more time... (full context)
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...by how dirty the family is as she cleans their house and clothing. One day Cholly goes to the house and demands money. Both Pauline and Cholly leave after the woman... (full context)
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One winter, Pauline discovers she is pregnant. Cholly is delighted by the news and begins drinking less and coming home more often. After... (full context)
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...her tooth. She no longer does her hair, and just accepts that she is ugly. Cholly pokes fun at Pauline's missing tooth, and they begin fighting the way they did before... (full context)
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...to church. Pauline takes on the role of a martyr during this time. She enables Cholly's immoral activities, which allows her to feel morally superior, "[bearing] him like a crown of... (full context)
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Pauline and Cholly's marriage grows increasingly worse. She continues using her Christian virtue to feel superior to him,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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An unnamed narrator details Cholly's childhood. At four days old, Cholly's mother abandons him on a junk heap. His Great... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
After four years of school, Cholly gets the courage to ask Aunt Jimmy what his father's name was. She tells him... (full context)
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Two years later, Cholly quits school and takes a job at Tyson's Feed and Grain Store. At work he... (full context)
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One July 4th, Cholly and Blue Jack are at a church picnic. The father of one of the families... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
...she still doesn't recover. Eventually, they decide to fetch a local medicine woman named M'Dear. Cholly is surprised when he sees M'Dear. He expected a decrepit old woman, but M'Dear stands... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
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Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Aunt Jimmy drinks only pot liquor and improves. Her friends spend time with her, and Cholly listens to them as they talk nostalgically about the pain they have endured during their... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
...diet M'Dear prescribed to her. That night she dies. During the days after her death, Cholly does not immediately grieve her death. He receives a great deal of attention, food, a... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
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After the funeral, Aunt Jimmy's family and friends gather at her house. Cholly finds his cousin, Jake, outside of the house. Jake offer's Cholly a rolled cigarette, but... (full context)
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Jake eventually persuades a girl named, Suky, to walk around with him. After Suky agrees, Cholly turns to another girl, Darlene, and tells her to come along. They walk to a... (full context)
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Cholly feels sorry for Darlene and tries to help her tie the bow on her dress.... (full context)
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Over the next few days, Cholly doesn't go far from the house, for fear of seeing Darlene. He continues to cultivate... (full context)
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Cholly works odd jobs as he makes his way toward Macon until he's saved enough money... (full context)
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In shock after the incident with his father, Cholly exits the alleyway and his legs give way. He takes a seat on a crate... (full context)
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After this experience, Cholly finds himself dangerously free. He is free to sleep in doorways, sleep with women, beat... (full context)
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On a Saturday afternoon, Cholly staggers home drunk. He finds Pecola at the sink washing dishes. As he watches her... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 11
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The topic of their conversation then turns to Cholly. Pecola's imaginary friend suggests that Mrs. Breedlove ignores Pecola because she misses Cholly. When Pecola... (full context)
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...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 dumped their garbage on... (full context)
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Claudia believes that the Maginot Line and Cholly loved Pecola, but love is only as good as the person giving it. Cholly's love... (full context)