The Pauline’s only pleasure concerns from her identification

The most poignant
illustration of Pecola’s failure to act occurs in central scene in the novel,
when she enters Yacobowski’s fresh vegetable, meat and sundries store to
purchase the Mary Jane candy. She sees: “Mr.Yacobowski urges his eyes out of
his thoughts to encounter her…his eyes draw back, hesitate and hover… he senses
that he need not waste the effort of a glance. He does not see her, because for
him there is nothing to see” Embarrassed and
engulfed by shame, Pecola purchases the candy and leaves. Outside, she equates
herself with dandelion weeds she passes. Like her, she thinks, they are ugly
and unwanted. Although she allows her anger to surface for a brief moment, she
is over powered by a tremendous sense of shame. She takes solace in eating
candy, but, more important, in symbolically digesting the smiling picture of
the blue-eyed, blond haired little girl that adorns its wrapper: “To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary
Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane”( TBE 50).

Milk cup

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            Pecola drinks three quarts of milk
out of a Shirley Temple not that she loves to drink milk but she relishes
looking at the Shirley Temple’s white face on the cup. She thinks that she can
achieve the white beauty by gulping the milk along with Temple’s white face as
well.

The movie Screen
images of Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo

            Pecola is not the only victim of the
beauty but Pauline Breedlove too, she differs from her daughter Pecola only in
the sense that the image she believes in comes from the movie screen rather
than milk cup. Pauline’s only pleasure concerns from her identification with
the movie screen images of Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo. Pauline finally gives
up identity vicariously with these images when she bites into a candy bar and
loses her front tooth.

Dirtiness versus
cleanliness

Once the front tooth
has gone, Pauline did not care to beautify herself, she settled down to just
being ugly. Here ugliness causes her to discredit the value of her own life.
She cleans for a white family but leaves her house in disarray. She feels,
whiteness is goodness, and feels more at home in the white kitchen where she
works than in the run down house she shares with her family. She tries to
compensate for her lameness and putative ugliness by creating order whenever
possible. 

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