“There is an abandoned store . . .” – Page 33
Chapter two focuses heavily on the Breedlove and shows the importance of family and love. Nothing in the store-home was loved, just like the people who lived there. It is short but showed us the environment in which Pecola lived in, giving us some needed backstory into her character.
The second chapter goes into great detail about the setting. The constant tone throughout depicts the area in general as uncomfortable and lifeless. I find it a little contradictory that items have value and no meaning at the same time. What I mean by this is that objects are obtained to show wealth status but at the same time the dont have value behind them and quantity and quality factors are independent from each other. For example, “In the front room there were two sofas, an upright piano, and a tiny artificial Christmas tree…”(pg 35). The objects are considered lifeless when they can be useful by holding purpose but no value. Also, the fact that the family has a piano and Christmas tree but no bath makes me think they value how others view them to an unhealthy amount.
In chapter two the passage in mainly talking about an apartment that used to be a store that once was home for the Breedlove family. This passage has a lot of symbolism in it relating to the objects in the building to the Breedloves. For instance, the ugliness of the building is symbolic to the ugliness of the Breedloves’ story. Furthermore, the family can be symbolic by having a ripped couch and a cold stove to show that they are a struggling, suffering family that don’t feel like they are in a home.
It was intriguing to read about the description of the Breedloves living situation. The fact that they use an old store as their living space shows that even though they are struggling they are still trying to make it work. The narrator really focuses and takes time to describe the furniture in the apartment. As the couch has an emotional touch to it as it’s torn right down the middle. The stove is not only a coal stove but it malfunctions, making the use of heat limited. It upsets me to know that for some people this is all they have, and I wish there was something I could do to help.
I found it really surprising that the Breedloves used an old store as a makeshift apartment. This to me is a sign of how poor and struggling they are. Which makes sense considering the father of the household was in jail. The narrator then says that the storefront is now abandoned and they dont live there anymore. The shifts in time were kind of confusing to me. It is almost like he is just remembering all of the items and rooms within the house. The author lists the old furniture, the untouched Christmas tree, the kitchen, etc. Almost every object that the author descrives can be used as or seen as a symbol or allusion. Inference and interpretation are key tools to use with this chapter.
This short chapter mainly focuses on describing the Breedloves apartment. What I really focused on during this chapter is how almost every object in the scene could have a symbolic meaning. For example, the ugliness of the building and its inability to blend in with the surrounding buildings represent the ugliness of the Breedloves´ story. Also, it is important to note that the storefront has been abandoned, just like how the Breedloves have been abandoned by society. The description of the flow of everyday life shines a light on how desperate the Breedlove’s circumstances really are, but that it is also just one of many stories. One thing I really took away from this chapter is that giving life meaning is an essential, universal, and relentless human activity. We, as the reader, know the symbolic meanings of certain things, but what is interesting about the chapter is that we can see the characters also see the symbolic meanings as well.They are helping us understand that we need to see the importance of giving life a meaning and creating a sense of order out of unordered experiences.´
This short chapter describes the building in which the Breedloves live. The building’s previous uses are briefly explained, but a majority of the chapter depicts its conditions as the home of the Breedloves. It says, “The furniture had aged without ever having become familiar. People had owned it, but never known it.” This chapter makes it clear that, within the Breedloves’ home, there are no fond memories, or memories at all. The furniture has no life or warmth. Its placement in their home was solely to be used as intended. There is no thought or personal touch on the furniture which shows the lack of life and warmth within the home. This chapter reveals the cold and unfriendly conditions in which the Breedloves live.
This chapter shows Pecola’s living conditions before coming to live with Claudia’s family. They are described as very “unimaginative” and how they hold no meaning to anyone. No memories were made anywhere and nothing holds any importance to anyone there besides being a necessity. When the family is mentioned, there is no Mr. Breedlove, hinting to the fact that either Pecola’s dad wasn’t around, or he didn’t live with the rest of them, showing the hints of a broken family. But as Claudia (the narrator) is describing the lack of familiarity with the furniture, she starts saying things like “No happy drunk- a friend of the family, with a fat neck, unmarried, you know, but God how he eats!- had sat at the piano and played “You Are My Sunshine.” No young girl had stared at the tiny Christmas tree and remembered when she had decorated it, or wondered if that blue ball was going to hold, or if HE would ever come back to see it.”(35-36). This raises the question of, why does Claudia think about these things and why does she seem to describe these instances so vividly? Did she have these experiences herself or did she just read about them somewhere?
I think that the second chapter is a metaphor for the family from the first chapter. The second chapter talks about this old abandoned build in the middle of town. The build which had a nice previous life is not sitting abandoned and being an eyesore to the public. This reflects the family from the first chapter in the fact that it is run down like the house the family from chapter 1 lives in. This chapter also references the fact that gypsies lived in the building. “The gypsy family gave the large plate-glass window as much distinction and character as it ever had,”(Pg. 34). The gypsy family is supposed to relate to the family from chapter 1. In particular, the novel says that the gypsies gave the building “character” and “distinction.” This is seen in the family from the first chapter by Mr.Henry. He comes to the family with his creepy magic trick which is him bring “character” and “distinction” to the family. Also, the novel keeps its dark and slightly sexual tone through chapter 2 as well. Even though there is not much going on in the chapter, it sets up the tone for the rest of the novel.
¨So fluid has the population in that area been,… nestled together in the storefront.¨ (34). This chapter is dedicated to describing the building in which the Breedloves lived. This place was once a gypsy home, Hungarian Bakery, and a pizza parlor. It was divided into two rooms, one was the living room with a run down sofa, beds for the family, and a coal stove while the back room was a little kitchen. The furniture is also described in detail throughout the chapter. It gives an idea of the couch that has a huge tear in it and it is the only piece that seems to have much of a significance. The other furniture is said to be manufactured from thoughtlessness and greed.
The chapter opens up with describe the Breedlove’s apartment to which it was described as “irritating and melancholy”. It goes on to describe the history behind the apartment going from a pizza parlor, to a bakery, to being a real-estate office, then being owned by a gypsy family. The chapter also gives background to the past-building apartments such as the parlor and the gypsy family. Now it goes on to describe the apartment now as cramped, dirty, no affection, and no emotions towards it. It also describes a situation with a couch and how the couch being split down the middle describes the emotion being put into it. At the very end of the chapter the fire from the stove could be seen as a symbol later on.
Overall the chapter has a pretty negative tone to it. The chapter could be described as gloomy and emotionless as the narrator describes the apartment negatively, and many uses of negative adjectives were used greatly throughout the chapter. Towards the beginning of the chapter the author still uses uneasy details such as “These young boys met there to feel their groins, smoke cigarettes, and plan mild outrages.” (Page 33).
While this chapter is rather short and there is not a lot of action, I think it sets the tone for Pecola and the Breedlove family. The opening paragraph seems to be an extended metaphor for the view of the family:
There is an abandoned store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Thirty-fifth Street in Lorain, Ohio. It does not recede into its background of leaden sky, nor harmonize with the gray frame houses and black telephone poles around it. Rather, it foists itself on the eye of the passerby in a manner that is both irritating and melancholy. Visitors who drive to this tiny town wonder why it has not been torn down, while pedestrians, who are residents of the neighbor- hood, simply look away when they pass it (33)
It can be argued that Pecola, like the store/apartment, is abandoned by her family. While everyone sees Pecola, she is emotionally detached from her family and unloved. Like this store that is an eyesore to everyone who sees it, they stare at in wonder but look away, or ignore, the reality of it. Again, like Pecola and the Breedloves, people try to ignore the harsh truth of the family and their history as well as the treatment Pecola has undergone.
However, the only thing in the home that seems to hold any importance is the coal stove at the end of the chapter. Fire is a universal symbol of life and the coal stove helps to keep them warm/alive. But as everything in Pecola’s life, the fire “lived independently of everything and everyone” (37). Once again, even the needed warmth of the fire is unpredictable and something that cannot be relied on to be a stable force in her life.
The story continues to maintain a slightly sexual tone by speaking of teenagers huddled on a corner and feeling their groins. Every once in a while the author seems to add something of this manner just to keep the idea around and fresh in our heads, which to me seems like overt foreshadowing that something serious is going to happen. The passage goes on to speak of the building on that corner, and how it has changed purpose many times over the years. This shows how the neighborhood doesn’t often stay the same, and there is always something new in this building. It gets to its point by describing it as originally the home of the Breedloves. It describes a barren home with unappealing furniture, which shows how the family lived. They didn’t have much impact in the town, and their home didn’t show off much. The author seems to describe a rather soul-crushing environment for a child to live in, one without much love or happiness. One can conclude that the character Pecola won’t be treated very well throughout the story.
This short chapter describes the new home of the Breedloves, who lost theres to a fire. The “house” was once a pizza parlor and is split in two by the landlord. A predominant piece of the chapter is the detailed description of the place, small, impersonal, and below what most would expect from a house. The biggest thing that stood out to me was how the author described all the objects as new, containing no memories from before. It isn’t something you’d think about if you have never been suddenly uprooted, losing all your possessions, but getting all new stuff doesn’t immediately give you a new home, just an unfamiliar building you reside in that means nothing to you, which is rather sad.