The Bluest Eye

Pauline Breedlove Character Analysis

Pecola's mother, also known as Polly and Mrs. Breedlove. Pauline has a disabled foot. She believes she is ugly, and has always blamed her foot for her ugliness and the neglect she experiences as a child. When she later loses a front tooth, her self-perceived ugliness intensifies. She views herself as a martyr because she stays with Cholly, who is verbally and physically abusive. Pauline constructs her identity based on the movies she watches, her devotion to Christianity, and her role as breadwinner of the family. She beats Pecola when she learns of Cholly's rape of her.

Pauline Breedlove Quotes in The Bluest Eye

The The Bluest Eye quotes below are all either spoken by Pauline Breedlove or refer to Pauline 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Bluest Eye quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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:

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.Lorem 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 e

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:

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 occLorem 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.

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:

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.

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.

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:

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.Lorem ipsum doLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut

Chapter 6 Quotes

Mrs. Breedlove's skin glowed like taffeta in the reflection of white porcelain, white woodwork, polished cabinets, and brilliant copperware.

Related Characters: Claudia MacTeer (speaker), Pauline Breedlove
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

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 cillu

Chapter 7 Quotes

Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self-contempt by the heap.

Related Characters: Pauline Breedlove
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

LorLorem ipsum doLorem 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.

Get the entire The Bluest Eye LitChart as a printable PDF.
The bluest eye.pdf.medium

Pauline Breedlove Character Timeline in The Bluest Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Pauline 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
On a Saturday morning in October, Mrs. Breedlove awakes to a cold house. She enters the kitchen and begins making a commotion. Mrs.... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Eventually, Mrs. Breedlove comes back into the bedroom and attempts to wake Cholly. She tells him the stove... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
The narrator explains that even though Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove constantly fight, they depend on each other to maintain their individual identities. For Mrs. Breedlove,... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...Pecola waits for the storefront apartment to erupt in violence, she whispers to herself, "Don't, Mrs. Breedlove , don't." Eventually, Mrs. Breedlove inevitably sneezes, and as she promised, she starts the fight... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...sex. During the sexual act, Cholly makes awful noises like he is in pain, and Mrs. Breedlove remains completely quiet as if she was not even there. Pecola thinks maybe this is... (full context)
Chapter 6
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...for Pecola. The Maginot Line tells them Pecola is at her mother's workplace, explaining that Mrs. Breedlove works at a house by the lake. She offers to let the girls wait with... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Deciding that Frieda's situation is dire enough, they begin walking to Mrs. Breedlove's workplace, even though their mother might beat them for it. As they approach the house... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
When Mrs. Breedlove finds the girls on the back porch, she tells them to come inside while she... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...look of fear dances across her face. After a moment, the little girl asks where Polly is. Claudia is insulted that the little white girl calls Mrs. Breedlove by her first... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
As the little girl yells out for Mrs. Breedlove to come into the kitchen, Frieda notices a dish of berry cobbler on the stove.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...in Alabama in a house seven miles from the nearest road. She grows up as Pauline Williams, one of eleven children. At two years of age, Pauline impales her foot on... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Near the beginning of World War I, Pauline's family migrates north to Kentucky with a number of other families to find employment in... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...the house feels spacious and luxurious compared to the one they'd moved from in Alabama. Pauline begins to care for the house and two younger siblings, Chicken and Pie, after her... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
When she turns fifteen, Pauline loses her passion she once felt for her duties around the house. She becomes restless... (full context)
...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. He approaches... (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... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
In Loraine, Pauline begins to miss "her people". She has never lived around so many white people. In... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
In her loneliness, Pauline becomes more dependent on Cholly. He begins to resent her for clinging to him, and... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Eventually, Pauline gets a steady job working for a white family. The woman she works for is... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
One winter, Pauline discovers she is pregnant. Cholly is delighted by the news and begins drinking less and... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
One day at the movies, Pauline is watching Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. She has done her hair like Jean Harlow's,... (full context)
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... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
When Pecola is born, Pauline is surprised because she doesn't look the way she had imagined her during the pregnancy... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Pauline finds a new sense of purpose in becoming a mother. She no longer has time... (full context)
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Eventually, Pauline finds a steady job working for a wealthy white family. She enjoys the work, as... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
Pauline and Cholly's marriage grows increasingly worse. She continues using her Christian virtue to feel superior... (full context)
Chapter 8
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...silly. He doesn't care how long he lives or how he dies. When he meets Pauline, he is drawn to her by the joy he awakens in her. After he marries... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...scratches her calf with her toes. This gesture reminds him of the day he met Pauline in Kentucky. He is filled with tenderness for his daughter and desires to cover her... (full context)
Chapter 11
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...eyes, and cannot keep herself from looking at them. Pecola accuses her imaginary friend and Mrs. Breedlove of being jealous of her blue eyes. Her imaginary friend is the only person Pecola... (full context)
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
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 responds by asking why Mrs. Breedlove would... (full context)