The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye Prologue Section 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The first section of the prologue is written in the style of a Dick and Jane Primer. In the Dick and Jane narrative, Mother, Father, Dick and Jane, live in a pretty green house. Jane asks her mother and father to play, but they won't. Then, she sees a dog and a cat, but they run from her. Finally, Jane sees a friend who will play with her.
Opening with the Dick and Jane narrative provides the reader with a representation of the ideal home, family, race, and standard of beauty. The passage also offers a thematic overview of the novel as a whole. The lack of response from Jane's parents alludes to the family dynamics and isolation many of the novel's characters experience at home. The dog and cat running from Jane foreshadows the violence perpetrated against animals in the novel. Finally, Jane a friend to play with, which reflects the close relationships the novel's young black female characters engage in.
Themes
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
The Dick and Jane narrative is repeated two more times. Through each repetition the words remain exactly the same, but with each recurrence of the words, the paragraph loses some of its structure and clarity. In the first reiteration, the paragraph is devoid of punctuation. Immediately following the first, the final repetition of the paragraph not only lacks punctuation, but also all of the spaces between the words. The progressive lack of structure in the paragraph transforms the narrative into a rambling and disorienting block of text.
The breakdown of the paragraph structure reflects the breakdown of home and family in The Bluest Eye. The novel's black and often broken families exist in stark contrast to the white, middle class, nuclear family in the Dick and Jane narrative. The lack of clarity and feeling of turbulence created by the unstructured paragraph mimics the sense of pressure that these outside ideals—which they can never live up to—place upon the young black female characters
Themes
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon