Destructive Love in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon

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Destructive Love in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon When an emotion is believed to embody all that brings bliss, serenity, effervescence, and even benevolence, although one may believe its encompassing nature to allow for generalizations and existence virtually everywhere, surprisingly, directly outside the area love covers lies the very antithesis of love: hate, which in all its forms, has the potential to bring pain and destruction. Is it not for this very reason, this confusion, that suicide bombings and other acts of violence and devastation are committed…in the name of love? In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the reader experiences this tenuity that is the line separating love and hate in many different forms and on many different levels—to the extent that the line between the two begins to blur and become indistinguishable. Seen through Ruth's incestuous love, Milkman and Hagar's relationship, and Guitar's love for African-Americans, if love causes destruction, that emotion is not true love; in essence, such destructive qualities of "love" only transpire when the illusion of love is discovered and reality characterizes the emotion to be a parasite of love, such as obsession or infatuation, something that resembles love but merely inflicts pain on the lover. As her "daddy's daughter", there is little doubt that a form of love exists between Ruth Dead and Dr. Foster; however, such love is not truly love because as evidenced by Ruth's subsequent life, the filial relationship better resembles an emotional dependence that Ruth took for granted (67). The great emotional schism within her that is the result of her father's death leaves Ruth dysfunctional: she is unable to emote towards other, especially her family. Instead, ... ... middle of paper ... ... Sunday man. He has instead become his cause, and the person behind that cause has been lost. In Song of Solomon, through many different types of love, —Ruth's incestuous love, Milkman and Hagar's romantic love, and Guitar's love for his race, —Toni Morrison demonstrates not only the readiness with which love will turn into a devastating and destructive force, but also the immediacy with which it will do so. Morrison tackles the amorphous and resilient human emotion of love not to glorify the joyous feelings it can effect but to warn readers of love's volatile nature. Simultaneously, however, she gives the reader a clear sense of what love is not. Morrison explicitly states that true love is not destructive. In essence, she illustrates that if "love" is destructive, it is most likely, a mutation of love, something impure, because love is all that is pure and true.

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