Parental guidance and support are key components of the foundation of a child’s growth and development. Without either, a child cannot grow and develop properly. In her novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison examines the effect of different mothers on their respective children through the characters of Mrs. MacTeer and Mrs. Breedlove. Throughout the novel, both characters express their thoughts and feelings through words, with Mrs. MacTeer having a few fussy soliloquies and Mrs. Breedlove having a few interior monologues to get their points across. Although Mrs. MacTeer and Mrs. Breedlove are two entirely different individuals, their respective fussy soliloquies and interior monologues greatly reflect one another.
Giving to charity doesn’t always equate to getting something in return. In The Bluest Eye, Mrs. MacTeer takes in Pecola Breedlove for a bit. While Pecola is staying with the MacTeer family, she grows fixated with a Shirley Temple glass, using it every chance that she can. Subsequently, she ends up drinking a lot of the milk that Mrs. MacTeer has for the entire family. Mrs. MacTeer is not thrilled with this, as she rants, “Three quarts of milk. That’s what was in that icebox yesterday. Three whole quarts. Now they ain’t none. Not a drop. I don’t mind folks coming in and getting what they want, but three quarts of milk! What the devil does anybody need with three quarts of milk?” (Morrison 23). Initially, Mrs. MacTeer’s soliloquy seems reasonable. It seems as though she is simple a mother frustrated with the fact that her milk has been drank up and potentially wasted. However, there are hidden connotations in her speech.
By rationalizing her own life situations through her fussing soliloquies and then singing, Mrs. MacTeer manages to isolate her children. They, particularly Claudia, view her singing as a demonstration of the pleasure Mrs. MacTeer takes in insulting others through her soliloquy. As Christine Spies writes in Vernacular Traditions: The Use of Music in the Novels of Toni Morrison, “the way in which the singing is described, the cathartic quality of the music becomes obvious, as for Mrs. MacTeer singing constitutes a cleansing ritual and establishes a validation of her self” (Spies 13). It is suggested that Mrs. MacTeer is unhappy with her everyday life, as well as with herself. She utilizes the soliloquies to rip apart others, a concept that is detrimental to those she fusses about, yet therapeutic to herself. Once she is satisfied with the degree in which she has ranted and raved, she begins to sing. Her songs are representative of the cleansing of herself through her rants and rambles, as well as a demonstration of her satisfaction and happiness with putting down others.
Pauline Breedlove, Pecola’s mother, is fond of reflecting on the better days of her life. Oftentimes throughout The Bluest Eye, Mrs. Breedlove is found reminiscing on the days of her past, when she was a younger woman. In particular, at one point in the novel, Mrs. Breedlove reflects upon a time in which she was pregnant with her oldest child, Sammy. During this time in her life, she enjoyed going to the cinema by herself during the day. She would look at magazines and style her hair like the movie stars. To her, going to the cinema and admiring the glorious movie stars was an escape from her marriage and life with Cholly. For the length of the film, she could disappear into the movie and be amongst the stars.
At one point, Mrs. Breedlove attended a film and her fantasies of blending in with the stars unraveled in front of her very eyes. She took a bite of a piece of candy, and one of her front teeth was pulled out by it, instantly altering her appearance forever. She reflected, “There I was, five months pregnant, trying to look like Jean Harlow, and a front tooth gone. Everything went then. Look like I just didn’t care no more after that. I let my hair go back, plaited it up, and settled down to just being ugly” (Morrison 123)....
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