"Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness," (pg.45) what would drive a girl of such a young age to be so consumed with a seemingly adult problem? Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is the story of young black girl growing up in a small town in Ohio, during the 1940's. Pecola Breedlove's self-loathing nature and eventual descent into madness is a product of the constant negative reinforcement that she received from her surroundings. These influences manifest themselves through those closest to her; her Mother, her Father and her peers. .
The greatest influence on a young girl is that of her mother. A girl's mother is her first female role model, and often times the most crucial one to the development of the girl's personality. Pecola Breedlove is no different; she takes after her mother's love of white culture, and resulting hatred of themselves. Pecola's mother, Pauline Breedlove, sees no beauty in herself or in anything else in her life: her home, her marriage, or her daughter. She despises her own home, but loves the white household in which she works. She's in an abusive marriage, but she reconciles this by believing that love and happiness is reserved for the beautiful people, the white people. And she hates her daughter for the same reason she hates herself, her ugly black skin. This hatred and neglect of Pecola by her mother is evident in the scene that takes place in the opening chapter of the book, where Pecola is found to be "ministratin" by Claudia and Frieda. Pecola did not have a clue what was happening to her and the reason for this is obvious, her mother did not care enough about her to teach a basic life lesson. Later on in the novel, her mother calls Pecola a "nasty little black bitch", not only is this harsh language for a mother to use with a child but the usage of "black" shows Pauline's hatred of her own skin.