Pauline saw the beauty of life through the colors of her childhood down South. Her fondest memories were of purple berries, yellow lemonade, and "that streak of green them june bugs made on the trees the night we left down home. All them colors was in me"1. Pauline and Cholly left the colors of the South when they moved North to Ohio to begin their life together. Through Cholly, Pauline hoped to find those colors of beauty that she left "down home".
For a while she did find her colors, her beauty, in the eyes of Cholly. He released in her all the colors of life which were sealed down in her soul. Everything about their early married life was described in vivid colors. This was true even of her sexual experiences with him. Everything was fine, ordered and beautiful in both Pauline and Cholly\'s life until they moved "up North".
Once they moved North everything changed. The colors went out of Pauline\'s life. "I missed my people. I weren\'t used to so much white folks...Northern colored folk was different too"2. Cholly only became "meaner and meaner and wanted to fight all of the time"2. He did not help the situation and contributed to his wife\'s dissatisfaction and disillusionment by not coming home. He found his satisfaction through other people, thus he neglected Pauline.
To make up for this neglect and her own insecurities, Pauline sought comfort through movies. Here she would sit and watch the perfect "white" world of Hollywood. Here she would find her colors on the "silver screen". She had a longing for these colors which was going to affect her life and the lives of her family until it destroys them, especially Pecola.
When Pecola was born, a major change occured in Pauline\'s life. According to Susan Willis, "Adjectives become substantives, giving taste and color and making it possible for colors to trickle and flow and finally be internalized..."3. She now wished to live her life like this, through the colors in herself.
Right after Pecola was born Cholly again began to pay attention to Pauline again the way he used to when they lived down South. The only problem was that the colors had dimed in Pauline. By working for a white family, she found her order and her colors again but not with the intensity that she once did. There she could order her life in a way she felt she could never achieve at home. As Willis points out, "Polly [Pauline] Breedlove lives in a form of schizophrenia, where her marginality is constantly confronted with a world of Hollywood movies, white sheets, and blonde children"4.
It is here in the "white" home, that Pauline takes the new identity, Polly. She seperates from her physical self, and enters into a world of the neat ordered white person, where she forgets her family, characterized by disorder, and blackness [ugliness]. She sees the "white" world with her vivid colors, while she sees the "black" world, where she comes from, in plain ugly black and white. In her "black" world, she sees no possibility of order, neatness, or color. This is because she stopped looking for them. She found a substitute for her family; a substitute that will bring the colors back into her life.
Through this "scitzophrenia", the real damage to her family lies within the "white" world. It is from this world, in which she finds her "colors", that Pecola obtains her desire for "the bluest eyes".
Pauline and Pecola are not the only ones who are preoccupied by the idea of whiteness. The character of Claudia is also aware of order and beauty as seen through the eyes of the "white" world. The children are bombarded with visions of blonde children with bright blue eyes. Shirley Temple and Jean Harlow in movies; the figure of a little blonde Mary Jane, on the candy they eat, and the blond baby dolls they recieve as gifts, are all ways of reinforcing the stereotype of beauty and goodness that a black child could ever hope to achieve. This dilemma is offset, in Claudia\'s life, by the attention she recieves from her loving parents, that have showed her to love herself. This is a love of support that