We were full of awe and respect for Pecola. Lying next to a real person who was really ministratin’ was somehow sacred. She was different from us now—grown-up-like.

After Pecola begins menstruating, Frieda and Claudia no longer see her as a peer but as a woman. While they see this event as awe-inducing, they have no idea that this event indicates a loss of Pecola’s innocence. If she had not begun menstruating when her father raped her, she could not have gotten pregnant and later would not have watched her baby die. While being raped would be traumatizing in any circumstance, Pecola had to experience even more evils of the world.

Each pale yellow wrapper has a picture on it. A picture of little Mary Jane, for whom the candy is named. Smiling white face. Blond hair in gentle disarray, blue eyes looking at her out of a world of clean comfort. The eyes are petulant, mischievous. To Pecola they are simply pretty. She eats the candy, and its sweetness is good.

As Pecola heads to the store to buy candy, she begins to feel anger at the ugliness in the world and distracts herself by picturing the candy she will buy. Even though Pecola’s circumstances have taken most of her innocence by showing her the racism and poverty in the world, Pecola can still calm herself by thinking of childlike, sweet things. In the blue eyes of Mary Jane, Pecola can experience innocence vicariously.