The most poignantillustration of Pecola’s failure to act occurs in central scene in the novel,when she enters Yacobowski’s fresh vegetable, meat and sundries store topurchase the Mary Jane candy. She sees: “Mr.Yacobowski urges his eyes out ofhis thoughts to encounter her…his eyes draw back, hesitate and hover… he sensesthat he need not waste the effort of a glance. He does not see her, because forhim there is nothing to see” Embarrassed andengulfed by shame, Pecola purchases the candy and leaves. Outside, she equatesherself with dandelion weeds she passes.
Like her, she thinks, they are uglyand unwanted. Although she allows her anger to surface for a brief moment, sheis over powered by a tremendous sense of shame. She takes solace in eatingcandy, but, more important, in symbolically digesting the smiling picture ofthe blue-eyed, blond haired little girl that adorns its wrapper: “To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat MaryJane.
Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane”( TBE 50).Milk cup Pecola drinks three quarts of milkout of a Shirley Temple not that she loves to drink milk but she relisheslooking at the Shirley Temple’s white face on the cup. She thinks that she canachieve the white beauty by gulping the milk along with Temple’s white face aswell.The movie Screenimages of Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo Pecola is not the only victim of thebeauty but Pauline Breedlove too, she differs from her daughter Pecola only inthe sense that the image she believes in comes from the movie screen ratherthan milk cup. Pauline’s only pleasure concerns from her identification withthe movie screen images of Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo. Pauline finally givesup identity vicariously with these images when she bites into a candy bar andloses her front tooth.
Dirtiness versuscleanliness Once the front toothhas gone, Pauline did not care to beautify herself, she settled down to justbeing 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 sheworks than in the run down house she shares with her family. She tries tocompensate for her lameness and putative ugliness by creating order wheneverpossible.