In a study about minorities, the groups that are differing from the dominant culture are seen as homogeneous. But, if we look deeper into the groups, we can see that there are distinctions among the minorities concerning lifestyle and social status. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon the author provides examples in the background of the story that shows people with differential identities of the general identity of the minority group.
The character Macon Dead and his family is represented as differing from the society they live in with their social status. They are rich and try to live like white people. It is important for Macon Dead to have a good impression on other people. Since he had to face a lot of difficulties as a child because of his race he wants to be as rich as possible to gain respect. These ambitions cause him to split ways with his sister Pilate, as we see in this part of the novel:
"Why can't you dress like a woman?"... "...What are you trying to make me look like in this town?" He trembled with the thought of the white men in the bank- the men who helped him buy and mortgage houses- discovering that this raggedy bootlegger was his sister. That the propertied Negro who handled his business so well and who lived in the big house on Not Doctor Street had a sister who had a daughter but no husband, and that daughter had a daughter but no husband. (20)
We see from this passage how important for Macon Dead the thoughts about him by others is important; especially the thoughts of white people. He already believes that he has a good impression on those people. "In 1936 there were very few among them who lived as well as Macon Dead" (32...
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...anest unhung niggers in the world (270).
As we know from the end of the novel, Milkman will have all his feelings changed during his stay in the town:
"He was curious about these people. He didn't feel close them, but he did feel connected, as though there was some cord or pulse or information they shared. Back home he had never felt that way, as though he belonged to anyplace or anybody" (293).
Song of Solomon provides an example of a minority with a minority. It is clear that social status is a factor in alienating people from the society.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Toni Morrison. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 1990.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: The Penguin Group, 1977.
Peterson, Nancy J. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
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