The Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends by William S. Gray is a book that proposes the idea of a perfect household and family as I’ve stated in a recent blog post.
Dick and Jane:
“Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family. Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane live in the green-and-white house. They are very happy. See Jane. She has a red dress She wants to play. Who will play with Jane? See the cat. It goes meow-meow. Come and play. Come play with Jane. The kitten will not play. See Mother. Mother is very nice. Mother, will you play with Jane? Mother laughs. Laugh, Mother, laugh. See Father. He is big and strong. Father, will you play with Jane? Father is smiling. Smile, Father, smile. See the dog. Bowwow goes the dog. Do you want to play with Jane? See the dog run. Run, dog, run. Look, look. Here comes a friend. The Friend will play with Jane. They will play a good game. Play, Jane, play”
Instagram is also a social media website and application that allows people to post how they feel, what they look like and what they are doing. On Instagram most people post selfies with families or friends, they post themselves losing weight, traveling, they post themselves getting their teeth whitened or receiving a certificate from a ceremony. Which is all great but no one ever posts when their crying unless its a joke, or real arguments between family and friends, or finding out bad news or anything negative.
I find that these two topics relate to our course because as I’ve said before, Dick and Jane proposes the idea that to have a perfect household or to live up to specific standards to live happily, you must be white, live in a nice house, have two parents that play with you and a dog too! In our African-American literature class, we focus on what African American slave narratives want us to focus on, we focus on authenticity and follow into what Dionne Brand wants, She said: “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice.” Although these are two topics we haven’t really discussed in class, I think it’s important to be aware of the similarities that exist between books that we’ve read and what is going on today and to see how much has changed. Regardless of ethnic background or “race” people just care about their image and they always have.
Dick and Jane was written during the 1930s. What was going on during the 1930’s? The Great Depression…Everyone was struggling, White, Black, Native American, etc., but the perfect household was white and wealthy. For that time period it might’ve been realistic in terms of race but wealth wise, it was not.