“Am I going to die?” she asked. “Noooo. You won’t die. It just means you can have a baby!”
When Pecola begins menstruating, she asks if she will die, and Frieda answers her here. Even though Frieda has not begun menstruating yet, she is older and more knowledgeable about the world and the female body. Her maturity in relation to the other girls’ becomes obvious as she calmly explains menstruation to the alarmed girls.
Frieda and I were bemused, irritated, and fascinated by her. We looked hard for flaws to restore our equilibrium, but had to be content at first with uglying up her name, changing Maureen Peal to Meringue Pie.
When Maureen Peal moves to town and her beauty becomes the subject of everyone’s attention, Frieda and Claudia become equal parts jealous and fascinated by her and want to somehow make her ugly. As the older girl, Frieda usually behaves in a more mature way than Claudia, but not in this instance, revealing that she still possesses some childlike pettiness.
Frieda and I exchanged glances, her eyes begging my restraint, mine promising nothing.
When Pecola says that Maureen will walk home with them, Frieda indicates to Claudia that she should not start a fight or tease Maureen. Even though Frieda’s feelings about Maureen match Claudia’s, she has the maturity to be friendly to Maureen and wants her sister to do the same.
Our astonishment was short-lived, for it gave way to a curious kind of defensive shame; we were embarrassed for Pecola, hurt for her, and finally we just felt sorry for her.
After Frieda and Claudia find out that Pecola has become pregnant with her father’s baby, they do not feel like the other people in the town, who behave in a judgmental and cynical way. Frieda and Claudia feel nothing but sympathy for Pecola. Frieda may be able to feel this empathy more acutely because she was molested by Mr. Henry, the boarder in their house.
We have to do it
right, now. We’ll bury the money over by her house so we can’t go back and dig it up, and we’ll plant the seeds out back of our house so we can watch over them. And when they come up, we’ll know everything is all right.
Here, Frieda speaks to Claudia about their plan to make a sacrifice to God so that he will let Pecola’s baby live. Just as Pecola spends her time wishing for blue eyes, Frieda and Claudia believe they can make something happen by wishing and praying. Such a plan and belief reveal that Frieda is still an innocent child.