Mrs. Macteer and Mrs. Breedlove

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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


Cited: Gibson, Donald B. "Text and Countertext in The Bluest Eye." Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates. New York, NY: Amistad, 1993. Print. Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Washington Square, 1970. Print. Spies, Christine. "Vernacular Traditions: The Use of Music in the Novels of Toni Morrison." Diss. 2004. 16 Nov. 2004. Web. 3 Oct. 2010. . Wall, Cheryl A. "On Dolls, Presidents, and Little Black Girls." Epilogue. 2009: 435-39. Print.

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