The Real Cholly Breedlove
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In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, one of the main characters, Cholly Breedlove, can be examined through a Freudian psychoanalytic lens, as he struggles with things like the structure of his personality and the Oedipal complex. Cholly is clearly a troubled man and throughout the story he experiences difficulty in trying to find a balance between his id and superego. Cholly also struggles with the Oedipal complex, raping his daughter, Pecola. This action ties in with his id, in that he acts impulsively to fulfill his wants. Cholly Breedlove, a main character from Morrison’s novel, can be examined using Freudian psychoanalysis as he struggles to maintain his ego and as he struggles with the Oedipal complex, raping his daughter Pecola.
Cholly Breedlove’s superego has never been in full effect. When Cholly was young, he was abandoned by his mother, but was soon taken in by his Great Aunt Jimmy, and while he lived with her, although it was not the most normal situation ever, his living conditions were the most stable that they would ever be. His Great Aunt clearly cared for him, even if the way that she expressed it was a little twisted. When Cholly’s mother abandoned him, his Great Aunt Jimmy “beat his mother with a razor strap and wouldn’t let her near [Cholly] after that. Aunt Jimmy raised Cholly herself, but took delight sometimes in telling him of how she had saved him” (132). Great Aunt Jimmy provided Cholly with a good life, putting him through four years of school, and teaching him morals the best she could, acting as the only motherly figure he would ever have in his life.
Although life with Aunt Jimmy may not have been the most luxurious or normal, it was the best and most comfortable life that Cholly had ever known. Even though these morals that Cholly once possessed were not extremely evident, they were still once present. Cholly once respected women, especially his Great Aunt, and during this time, his superego was in effect. He never once did anything to disrespect his Aunt Jimmy and had the decency to wait until “he had four years of school before [he asked] his aunt who and where his father was” (133). He was not impatient or violent with her, and although this act is minor, it still shows how respectful he once was. Living life under his Great Aunt Jimmy, Cholly was in the best living situation that he would ever be in, which ultimately positively affected him, activating his superego.
Unlike Cholly’s Superego, his id is in effect throughout the majority of the story. Cholly is impulsive, always doing what he wants and what makes him happy. When Pecola is to board with the MacTeers, Mrs. MacTeer, explaining Pecola’s situation, says that “old Dog Breedlove had burned up his house, gone inside his wife’s head, and everybody, as a result, was outdoors” (16-17). Cholly doesn’t seem to feel any guilt or remorse for putting his family outdoors. He is the reason that they are homeless, yet he does not seem to care. This shows his id in effect and the lack of his superego, or even a balance of the two. Because Cholly acts so impulsively and selfishly, he does many strange, twisted, and horrible things. Probably the most twisted thing that Cholly does is rape his daughter, Pecola. This action ties in with the Oedipal complex. Right before Cholly completes this action, “the confused mixture of his memories of Pauline and the doing of a wild and forbidden thing excite him, and a bolt of desire runs down his genitals…” (162). Cholly only ever rapes Pecola because she reminds him of Pauline, and this is relative to the Oedipal complex. Cholly acts on an impulse of desire, wanting to gain the same satisfaction that he receives from intercourse with Pauline. Cholly’s id controls his life, and he is impulsive, carrying out many sick and twisted actions.
Cholly has no ego or happy-medium between his id and superego. He lives a harsh reality that is of his own doings. Cholly is a drunk who lacks any sort of respect for women. He has physical fights with his wife, Pauline, on a regular basis. Cholly and Pauline Breedlove have always “fought each other with a darkly brutal formalism that is paralleled only by their lovemaking. Tacitly they have agreed not to kill each other” (43). Although sad, this is the Breedlove’s reality and it is all because of Cholly’s doings. Cholly is the one who drinks, has no respect for women, and has not attempted to change his family’s situation at all. Because of all of Cholly’s wrongdoings, his family has suffered alongside him, having no hope to become or do anything with their lives.
In Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, Cholly Breedlove can be examined through a Freudian psychoanalytic lense as he acts impulsively and faces the
Oedipal complex. Cholly’s id is present throughout the majority of the story, and he does as he pleases. Because his superego and ego are not in effect, Cholly does many awful things, such as rape his own daughter. Cholly has no respect for women, is violent, and does not care for anyone but himself. Cholly Breedlove is a twisted and terrible character and because his id is in effect, he is impulsive, which leads him to raping his daughter Pecola.