Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

The purpose of an epigraph, or inscription at the beginning of a novel is to introduce the major themes of the text. The epigraph of Song of Solomon introduces the motifs of flying and naming as key elements to understanding the novel.

The flying motif derives from black spirituals and the gospels, and particularly from the legendary folktale of the flying African. This myth, which has been handed down from generation to generation, perpetuates the belief that black people can fly. The belief in the actual physical ability to fly is less important than the belief in flight as a metaphor for freedom, spiritual transcendence, or an escape from something unpleasant by divine means. Even after death,...

(The entire section is 1762 words.)