The importance of Pilate in Song of Solomon

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In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison gives us a list of characters whose lives all revolve around the basic principle that completes us all, love. Morrison's most grounded character is Pilate Dead. Although Pilate may not say much, she is one of the most important and beloved characters in the story. She is loved not only by Milkman but also by the readers. As Morrison says “[Pilate is very large] because she is like something we wish existed. She represents some hope in all of us,” (“An Interview with Toni Morrison” 419). Pilate Dead is many things to many different people. She is a mother, a savior, a role model, a woman of great strength, and a woman filled with mystery.
Pilate is arguably the most important character, besides Milkman, in Morrison's novel. Within the novel Pilate has a connection to everyone in some way. Despite the fact that Pilate isn't mentioned much in the story, it still revolves around not only Milkman, but Pilate as well. In fact, Morrison has said in an interview, “Sometimes a writer imagines characters who threaten, who are able to take the book over. To prevent that the writer has to exercise some kind of control. Pilate in Song of Solomon was that kind of character. She was a very large character and looms very large in the book. So I wouldn't let her say too much,” (“An Interview with Toni Morrison” 418). And Pilate does in fact “loom large” in the novel no matter where you read there is something that always leads back to her. Even before you know who Pilate is. For example, Pilate was there when Mr. Smith, the insurance agent, decided to fly off of Not Mercy hospital, and was speaking to Ruth on how her baby was to born the next day. At the beginning of this interaction between Ruth and Pilate one m...

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...acter. It is the love she shows that makes the reader love her as well.
In Morrison's novel we were constantly shown the theme of love with Pilate given to show us the strongest and healthiest example of it. Pilate who lurked in the back of the reader's mind, who was most loved of all of the characters. She is considered a mystery to those inside and outside of the story, because of her perceptive ability and her lack of agenda. Pilate was the strongest of the characters, no passive woman as well. She truly is an unusual piece of work, someone the reader wishes they saw more often in the world around them. Pilate is a personal favorite as well, and it isn't hard to see why. Pilate is the embodiment of what love is supposed to be and that is why she is so important and so dearly loved among readers. In the words of Milman, “There must be another one like you,” (336).

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