Poem: Roger Reeves' "Boy Removing Fleas", lines 3-6 .
"Like Brueghel's Icarus, for instance, because a boy falls from a great height- white legs, green splash, wax wings- everything must suffer by proxy" (Reeves, 3-6).
In this poem, there is an allusion to a painting named "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." Icarus was a son from Greek mythology who wanted to escape from his father's control, so he made wax wings to fly away. Even though his father advised Icarus that the wax wings would melt from the sun, Icarus tried to fly away anyways, and the wings melted so he fell in the ocean. Icarus is associated with pride and stubbornness. In the painting, Icarus is in the background falling into the ocean and is not the focal point of the painting. This shows how the world does not revolve around one person and that tragedy is overlooked. Milkman is much like Icarus in the beginning of the novel as he is prideful and stubborn. Contrary to his own egotistical beliefs, the world does not revolve around him. However, like Icarus, Milkman's actions means that "everything must suffer by proxy." Milkman's selfishness leads to his family suffering, which becomes apparent later when Lena confronts Milkman.