The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
Summary

Winter: Chapter 4

Summary Winter: Chapter 4

The mystery and fear of sex hangs over this chapter. Maureen introduces the subjects of menstruation, babies, and naked men, and though Claudia and Frieda try to silence her, their fear reveals that this topic has a power over them too. Claudia remembers her father’s nakedness as both disturbing and oddly “friendly,” and Pecola’s defensiveness about her own father’s nakedness foreshadows the sexual intimacy he forces upon her later in the novel. When Claudia sees Henry entertaining the prostitutes, even though she does not understand what is happening, she feels “terror and obscure longing.” There is a hint that sex makes adults behave like something other than responsible caregivers. Sex will disrupt the order that, even though it sometimes galls Claudia, gives her a sense of stability and comfort.