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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
AUTUMN - CHAPTER 4
Chapter 4 begins with three lines of capitalized, non-spaced, and non-punctuated text of the Dick and Jane childrenís primer. It concerns the pretty green house. "Pretty" is repeated several times.
An abandoned store sits on the southeast corner of Broadway and Thirty-Fifth street in Lorain, Ohio. It stands out as an eyesore and makes people traveling through town wonder why it hasnít been torn down and residents of Lorain look away. It was once a pizza parlor. Young teenage boys used to hang around the corner and smoke. Before that time, the place was leased to a Hungarian baker. Before that, it was a real-estate office and before that, some gypsies used it.
The population in the area was very fluid so probably no one knows what was there before the gypsies. The Breedloves were the last residents. They were invisible in the community and in the larger city. Among each other, they were separate and isolated. The plan of the house was unimaginative. The large store in front was partitioned into two rooms by boards that did not reach the ceiling. There was a front room and a bedroom. The front room contained two sofas, a piano, and a dusty Christmas tree. The bedroom had three beds, one for Sammy, one for Pecola, and one for Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove. A coal stove sat in the center of the room. The kitchen was a separate room in back. There was no bath, only a toilet bowl. The furniture was aged, but not cared for or even thought about. The sofa split open at the back the day it was delivered. The store refused to take it back. Regardless, the Breedloves still had to scrape together $4.80 a month for it. They hated it so much it infected their lives. They never cared enough about the house to paint the walls or fix the tear. "The only thing living in the Breedlovesí house was the coal stove." It had a mind of its own, and always went out in the morning.
Morrison uses the realist technique of showing the house and furnishings. The difference she makes from previous writers of realism is to show how the house and furnishings become saturated with local meaning, how they influence the lives of the inhabitants, spoil their sense of self as it is attached to a sense of place.