I believe, Cholly will be the strongest examplein showing the impact of parental neglect.
In The Bluest Eye, Morrisonvividly depicts the antagonism between blacks, whites and mulattos. However,we would do well not to regard Cholly as a representative of the black man’sstereotype. The situation of parents not knowing how to face child rearingperhaps stems not a little from slavery. In the era of slavery, families aresold separately, or forced to propagate themselves regardless of their willlike domestic animals. For a long time, black people had been deprived of thechoice to live according to their own free will or fully develop their familyties. They were often deprived of the knowledge of where their parents orrelatives were. Regarding this background, Cholly can be seen as arepresentative of this genealogy. In this novel, he seems to embody what it islike for a person to be abandoned by one’s parents, and it is a universal issuerather than a difficulty found only among black people.
His father ran awayfrom his mother before his birth, and he was discarded on a rubbish heap withina few days of his birth by his mother. Cholly is the only one in this novel whowas really deserted at birth. However, it is obvious and significant that hisyouth is depicted in a much more humanistic light in comparison with Pauline,Pecola, Geraldine, and Soaphead Church. It is because he was brought up withlove and care by his great-aunt. Even though he was not satisfied with her oldappearance and unsophisticated manners, he loved and thanked her. He was aloveable boy with healthy emotions and consideration for others. The reason whyhe really loved his grand-aunt, old Blue Jack, or temporarily his wife Pauline,his son Sammy, and his daughter Pecola was that he was not raised likeGeraldine who was forced to deny her roots, or like Pauline who was alwaystreated like an absentee, or like Soaphead Church who was physically disciplinedto be a member of the elite as a descendant of nobility. He was raised withreal love and care.
However, his great-aunt’s love was too different from bothin aspects of age and sex to serve as a father figure. So he does not know howto handle his wife or children even though he loves them. His first experiencein having his personality attacked was when he was having his first sexualexperience watched by two white men pointing a gun at his back. To fightagainst white men who have guns would mean instant death, so in order toprotect his life and self-esteem, he transferred his failure and impotence tohatred toward the witness, his first girl friend.
However, he does not lose hiscontrol completely then, and he decides to visit his father who he believeswill understand his situation and feelings. The hope that his father will understandhim narrowly sustained his personality even though he knows that his fatherleft his mother before his birth. He is completely deprived of his self-controlwhen he is rebuffed by his father when he visits him, and the father ignoredhim. And this leaves him “dangerously free.”(p.
159) Just following his mood togo, he kills people, behaves gently or violently to women, or sometimes allowshimself to be henpecked by them. He has nothing to love, to be proud of, or tobe afraid of, even the death of people around him or his own death is nothingto him. If a person has something or someone to love, protect, or to be afraidof, even though it may be a trifle, that person’s behavior has limits in someways, but Cholly has nothing at all.
Morrison depicts this process carefullyand vividly in great detail and proves that Cholly was far from an unnaturalman. Cholly’s longing and respect for his father is obvious in such descriptionsas: “Cholly had always thought of his father was a giant of a man,” “he wasstaring at a balding spot in his father’s head, which he suddenly wanted tostroke.” “He couldn’t say, ‘I’m your boy.
‘ That soundeddisrespectful.”(pp.155-156) And that the fatal shock which destroys hispersonality resulting from his rejection by his father is embodied by thedepiction of his incontinence. In The Bluest Eye all the main charactersexcept the McTeer family are suppressed or marginalized by their parents insome ways, but Cholly is the only one who completely negated his existence.
Itis very suggestive and ironic that his family name is Breedlove, even though hedoes not know how to breed children or how to breed love. Occasionally he feelslove for his wife and children, but the feeling of love for someone or