- “We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow.” (p. 5)
Claudia’s first narrative about her childhood, telling about her friend, Pecola, who was pregnant.
- “Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel.” (p. 9)
In the autumn of 1941, when the story begins, the narrator states that people were not what they seemed to be.
- “We stare at her, wanting her bread, but more than that wanting to poke the arrogance out of her eyes and smash the pride of ownership that curls her chewing mouth.” (p. 9)
Claudia’s narrative, where she states that when they were children they hated Rosemary Villanucci, not because of what she had, but because she felt entitled to the good things in life because of her social position.
- “It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights-if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.” (p. 46)
The omniscient narrator states what Pecola believed, that if her eyes were beautiful then her life would be different.
- “She looks up at him and sees the vacuum where curiosity ought to lodge. And something more. The total absence of human recognition-the glazed separateness.” (p. 48)
Pecola looks at the store owner and notices that he cannot see her as the beautiful child that she is; he cannot even see her as another human being.
- “The line between colored and nigger was not always clear; subtle and telltale signs threatened to erode it, and the watch had to be constant.” (p. 87)
The omniscient narrator tells the reader how Junior’s mother tried to control how people saw him. She put lotion on his face in the winter, to keep it from appearing ashen.
- “She was secure and grateful; he was kind and lively.” (p. 116)
The narrator tells us that Pauline could support herself when she met Cholly and felt grateful just to be loved, while Cholly was full of life and kind to Pauline.
- “She was never able, after her education in the movies, to look at a face and not assign it some category in the scale of absolute beauty, and the scale was one she absorbed in full from the silver screen.” (p. 122)
Pauline internalized the white definition of beauty and perceived people as valuable or not in comparison. She even despised herself because she was not beautiful according to white standards.
- “Her simplicity decorated us, her guilt sanctified us, her pain made us glow with health.” (p. 205)
The narrator says that Pecola’s pain and guilt made other people around her feel superior to her.
- “Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live.” (p. 206)
The narrator says that Pecola’s baby died because it was hated and viewed as having no right to live.