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Pauline Breedlove Essay

Like Cholly, Pauline inflicts a great deal of pain on her daughter but Morrison nevertheless renders her sympathetically. She experiences more subtle forms of humiliation than Cholly does—her lame foot convinces her that she is doomed to isolation, and the snobbery of the city women in Lorain condemns her to loneliness. In this state, she is especially vulnerable to the messages conveyed by white culture—that white beauty and possessions are the way to happiness. Once, at the movies, she fixes her hair like the white sex symbol Jean Harlow and loses her tooth while eating candy. Though her fantasy of being like Harlow is a failure, Pauline finds another fantasy world—the white household for which she cares. This fantasy world is more practical than her imitation of Hollywood actresses and is more socially sanctioned than the madness of Pecola’s fantasy world, but it is just as effective in separating her from the people—her family—she should love. In a sense, Pauline’s existence is just as haunted and delusional as her daughter’s.

More characters from The Bluest Eye

The use of italics within the dialogue of a text typically refers to one thing: an internal dialogue is taking place. In regards to the indentation and italics (plus quotation marks) during Pauline Breedlove's account of her relationship to Cholly (in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye), these allow her dialogue to be shown, and understood, as her account of something which has happened in the past. 

The idea behind this is illustrated further by...

The use of italics within the dialogue of a text typically refers to one thing: an internal dialogue is taking place. In regards to the indentation and italics (plus quotation marks) during Pauline Breedlove's account of her relationship to Cholly (in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye), these allow her dialogue to be shown, and understood, as her account of something which has happened in the past. 

The idea behind this is illustrated further by the things with Pauline speak about. Pauline speaks about growing up in Alabama, getting the nail in her foot at two, caring for her younger siblings, and her relationship with Cholly later in life. The use of italics illustrates her dialogue as both happening in the past and act as a signal to the reader that it could be taking place in her mind alone (internal dialogue). 

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