In Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, the relationships between whites and blacks are a main theme. Throughout the whole novel Morrison adds her own opinions toward the race problems that the characters of Not Doctor Street experience. Poverty is another big issue in the novel and many of the main characters struggle financially. Money becomes a means of escape for many of the characters, especially Milkman and Guitar. For both men their quests for gold leaves them empty handed, but their personalities changed. Milkman’s quest was to be independent, especially since he was still living with his parents. Milkman however, was not poor. His family was considered one of the most financially comfortable black families in town. He was the spoiled son and it was galling but easy to work for his father, easy to be waited on hand and foot by his mother and sisters, far easier than striking out on his own. So his idea of freedom was not really one of working to support himself, but simply having easy money given to him, and not having to give anything to anyone in return. It was his father Macon Jr. who informed Milkman of the possibility of Pilate having millions of dollars in gold wrapped in a green tarp that was suspended from her ceiling. The hidden gold was in Milkman’s opinion his only ticket out of Not Doctor Street, his way of having his own possessions, being free from his parents lending hand. For Guitar it was a way to escape and fund his Seven Days mission.
Though gold was the initial desire, Milkman was able to forget about his quest for money, because his quest for his family history eventually brought him more wealth and happiness than the gold ever would have. When Milkman gives up in his search for gold, he puts himself on a path to discovering his own self, who Milkman was apart from his family. This discovery is what allows him to “fly” or fall from the cliff at the end of the novel. Guitar however was not able to forget the gold; he believes Milkman has betrayed him so he sets off to follow and to murder his best friend. Poverty led many people like Guitar to join the Seven Days, a racial group that avenges injustices committed against African-Americans by murdering innocent whites. Why if racism and injustice towards blacks rather than economic injustice motivated the group, are all of its member’s poor?
... middle of paper ...
...is past, as well as the mistakes of the people in his community. Milkman fights the oppression much like his great grandfather does by rising above it, and by soaring over his own oppression. Since he used a non-violent stance I felt this could represent Martin Luther King Jr. who helped African Americans to rise above oppression as well. Although he doesn’t bring a change of masses, Milkman himself has changed, and through time he can show others how to ride the wind. Milkman helps to show that flying does not have to be seen as a physical action, but as an ability an individual has to make a life away from oppression, in a world that oppresses many. An individual flying in the novel is seen as a victory over all the obstacles one has to hurdle in life. It’s the character of the individual that determines whether or not you surrender to the wind and fly, or if you stay on the Earth wondering why things never change.
LeClair, Thomas. "The Language Must Not Sweat: A Conversation with Toni Morrison." Taylor-Guthrie 119-128.
Rushdy, Ashraf H.A. "'Rememory': Primal Scenes and Constructions in Toni Morrison's Novels." Contemporary Literature 31.3 (1990): 300-323.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Milkman's Transformation in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Milkman experiences many changes in behavior throughout the novel Song of Solomon. Until his early thirties most would consider him self centered, or even self-loathing. Until his maturity he is spoiled by his mother Ruth and sisters Lena and Corinthian because he is a male. He is considered wealthy for the neighborhood he grew up in and he doesn't socialize because of this. As a result of his spoiled childhood Milkman takes women for granted.... [tags: Song Solomon Toni Morrison Essays Papers]
689 words (2 pages)
- Transformation of Milkman in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the character of Milkman gradually learns to respect and to listen to women. This essay will examine Milkman's transformation from boy to man. In the first part of the novel, he emulates his father, by being deaf to women's wisdom and women's needs, and casually disrespecting the women he should most respect. He chooses to stray from his father's example and leaves town to obtain his inheritance and to become a self-defined man.... [tags: Song Solomon essays Toni Morrison Papers]
1788 words (5.1 pages)
- Throughout Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison takes the reader on an adventure. Her exquisite writing techniques allow the characters to develop in a manner that is unique yet impactful on the other characters in the story. Morrison uses certain personalities and experiences of characters to represent the generations of African-Americans post slave society. The difference in values and behavior is apparent especially between two characters. Although Milkman and Macon Dead are completely distinct individuals, Morrison uses particular writing techniques to demonstrate how each character influences is each other along with developing their unique journeys as African-American men in the early 1900s... [tags: adventure, personalities]
674 words (1.9 pages)
- “The fathers may soar and the children may know their names.” This was the basis of Milkman’s discovery of his past, which he would learn about in time. In Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon, Milkman goes through the early, adolescent, and middle stages of his life with little faith in himself, for he cannot fly, nor does he know flight’s true meaning. Milkman journeys through his life being selfish and vain because he has yet to discover his true identity. As Milkman grows, the more he experiences and encounters alone and with others.... [tags: Morrison, Solomon]
1796 words (5.1 pages)
- In Song of Solomon, a novel by Toni Morrison, flight is used as a literal and metaphorical symbol of escape. Each individual character that chooses to fly in the novel is “flying” away from a hardship or a seemingly impossible situation. However, by choosing to escape, one is also deliberately choosing to abandon family and community members. The first reference to this idea is found in the novel’s epigraph: “The fathers may soar/ And the children may know their names,” which introduces the idea that while flight can be an escape, it can also be harmful to those left behind.... [tags: Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison]
1193 words (3.4 pages)
- Biblical Illusions in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, is about a man named Macon Dead. Throughout this novel, however, he is known by all except his father as Milkman because his mother breastfed him until he was in his teens. The novel centers on Milkman's attempt to find himself. His family is a wealthy black family living in a poor black neighborhood, where Milkman's father prohibits Milkman from interacting with most of them, including his aunt. However, he ends up visiting her, and while there, he learns a little about his family's mysterious past and decides to look deeper into it.... [tags: Song Solomon essays Toni Morrison ]
670 words (1.9 pages)
- Flight in Toni Morisson's Song of Solomon I do not have the fondest memories of moving to this area. Of everyone in my family, I was the only one who did not want to move. I had no choice, however, so I had to live with it. Seeing how depressed I was, my parents decided to do something special for my birthday. Ever since I was little I had always dreamed of flying, so when we were in Crawford looking for property, my parents arranged for someone to take me up. The day was cold, cloudy and dreary, but the realization that I was actually going to fly made up for it.... [tags: Song Solomon essays]
1149 words (3.3 pages)
- The Importance of Names in Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon Toni Morrison’s award-winning novel Song of Solomon is full of very interesting, deep symbolism. Macon Dead III, nicknamed “Milkman,” is a very symbolic character throughout the novel. His character is not only symbolic, for so is his name. Also, Milkman’s paternal aunt, Pilate, has an extremely significant and symbolic role in the novel. To her father, she represents the child who killed her own mother and took away her father’s wife.... [tags: Toni Morrison Song Solomon Essays]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Solomon Toni Morrison]
1770 words (5.1 pages)
- Analysis of Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon When someone looks up at a bird they see something soaring through the sky free from the world’s troubles. Through out man’s history they have been trying to find a way to be as free as birds and learn to fly. Unfortunately it has been an unsuccessful feat for man to accomplish. Although man has never really been able to fly on their own, they are able to fly with the help from a little machinery and ingenuity. Macon Dead Jr, or milkman, the nickname he adopted because he nursed from his mother, the protagonist of Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison, had been trying to fly all of his life.... [tags: Morrison’s Song Of Solomon]
1182 words (3.4 pages)