Typically minority groups are thought of in the context of race; however, a minority group can also consist of gender and class. The struggles facing a minority group complicate further when these different facets of minority categories are combined into what is sometimes called a double minority. Throughout their writing, African American women have exposed how being a double minority changes the conditions of being a minority. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the African American female characters demonstrate the impact of having a double minority status.
The female characters in Song of Solomon exhibit the difficulties for double minorities. Macon Dead and his family are a prominent, middle-class African American family. Although slavery has been over for a long time, the Dead's house has a feel of a prison. Macon seems to be the master of his house, and the women in his family seem to be trapped under his rule. Macon's control over his family is revealed in these lines:
Macon kept each member of his family awkward with fear. His hatred of his wife glittered and sparked in every word he spoke to her. The disappointment he felt in his daughters sifted down on them like ash...The way he mangled their grace, wit, and self-esteem was the single excitement of their days. p. 10-11
These sentences give the impression that Macon has killed the spirit of his wife and daughters. His cruelty is an anticipated excitement because that is the only stimulation they have throughout the day. Furthermore, these lines give a sense that the women in the Dead household are voice less and choice less under the money and rule of Macon.
Macon's daughter First Corinthians also exemplifies the struggles of Afric...
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...minorities, but they face more extreme consequences and struggles. Perhaps this is because they have to deal with the dynamics of all the minority groups they belong to. In the case of African American women, they have to struggle with African American problems as well as the dilemmas women face. However, African American women seem to have overcome their double minority status to a degree. African American female writers are much more popular today than their male counterparts.
Gage, Frances D. "Reminiscences by Frances D. Gage of Sojourner Truth, for May 28-29, 1851." Paul Laufer, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
Middleton, David. Toni Morrison's Fiction: Contemporary Criticism. New York: Garland, 1997.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Penguin Group, 1977.
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