Multigenre Project

Exploring Abandoned Women

Abandoned Home- Picture

A home provides a safe place for family members to learn and grow. A home provide protection against the harsh elements of the world. A Home functions like a member of the family. All too often, people abandon their true home for somewhere they think is bigger, better, and more comfortable. The abandoned home in the photograph parallels Ruth Dead. As a child Milkman loved his mother and she loved him back wholeheartedly. They cared for each other. As he grew older, Milkman succumbed to the interpretation of his mother that his father crafted for him- that she was a dirty woman that he should be ashamed of. The abandoning of a home causes its former inhabitants feel lost. After Milkman left his home, his mother, he was confused about the meaning and importance of his life. He literally wandered down the street wrestling with revelation about his mother.
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Resume for Corinthians Dead

Résumé: Corinthians Dead
1900 Not Doctor Street

Suburbia, Michigan

Primary education: Mercy High School
Bryn Mawr College- Bachelors degree
Studied a year abroad in France

Work experience:
Prior experience as an amanuensis
Typing ability
Prior experience as a maid
Worked with illustrious author Michael-Mary Graham

Admiral Qualities:
Speaks and understands French
Always dressed professionally; high heels included
Acquainted with great masters of literature
Eager for responsibility

Corinthians Dead is the epitome of an abandoned woman. She’s beautiful; she’s educated and yet, no one wants her. They leave her to wither away in her loneliness. She’s a shell of who she could be if allowed love and nourishment. Potential suitors are deterred by her education and her air of affluence and expectation. The men in her family, her brother and dad, don’t even really pay any attention to her. To them she’s like one of the velvet flowers she enjoys creating so much: dead and useless except for in aesthetic value. Corinthians Dead serves as a mirror to the life of her mother. Both women seek attention and are unable to find it with the men currently in their lives. This struggle leaves them both discontent and wanting for more. Eventually, Corinthians find solace in her demeaning job as a maid and in her budding relationship with Porter.

Recipe For Ruth

Needed materials:
Large mixing bowl
Stoneware oven pan
1 cup of brown sugar
Pinch of fatherly obsession
Half a pound of raw loneliness (cooked will make the Ruth too hard)
Teaspoon of need
3 eggs

A plate of Ruth is perfect for any occasion. Pull out your materials and you're ready to bake. For a better more wholesome taste make the batter from scratch. Pour the batter into a large mixing bowl. First add a pinch of fatherly obsession. Second, add a significant amount of milk, stop at your pleasure. Don't worry about giving the recipe too much milk. Some people use as much as five cups. Third, add one cup of brown sugar in order to maximize the sweetness. Ruth is a very sweet dessert. It never gives off a strong or sour taste. The next ingredients should be partially melted chocolate and caramel. Mix the two together for about 20 second and then let stand for about 17 seconds. The mixture should be very sticky. Pick up the need and blend it in. Need should be evenly distributed so that it's uniformly all over. Make sure the caramel/chocolate mixture sticks to the need. Add 3 brown eggs; it's important that a white egg isn't used. Mix all ingredients vigorously and pour into a baking pan.Bake at 425 degrees for 60 minutes. The end result should be a soft consistency. If too large bake for an additional thirty minutes.

Toni Morrison characterizes Ruth Dead very intricately characterized in Song of Solomon. She incorporates duality in her nature. Ruth man is described as a small woman, but she is not weak. She's able to withstand her husbands harsh treatment and abuse. If Ruth's characteristics were synthesized into a recipe, the recipe would read like the one above. Every ingredient has significance. An influential part of Ruth, the woman, is her unusual fixation with her father. It's sets off the events in her life like her marriage and the subsequent deterioration of her marriage. So, of course, the first ingredient must be fatherly obsession. The milk harkens back to how Ruth breast fed Milkman for an absurd amount of time. The directions indicate to stop at your pleasure shadowing how Ruth used breast feeding for pleasure. The caramel and chocolate symbolize Ruth and Macon Dead respectively. At first they are mixed and together- it's sweet and and enjoyable, but later on their marriage causes Ruth strain as he emotionally and sexually abandons her just as letting caramel and chocolate sit would turn the mixture sticky. The time that the chocolate and caramel must "stand" symbolize two things: the relative amount of time they were together (until Ruth was about twenty) and the time where he abandoned her need. Macon's abandonment culminated into raw emotional need and loneliness (ingredients in the dessert) for Ruth so strongly to where she'd seek out solace at her diseased fathers grave.
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Quality Description

If you dare to peek outside your window exactly when the clock strikes midnight you can see Passion roaming through the moonlight streets completely uninhibited. She walks with transfixed eyes from one house to another, leaving bystanders curious to what she’s doing. Is she looking for something? Is she having numerous romps in between the sheets? But if you asked her, Passion she’d say she was stopping in for brief moments trying to find the object of her obsession. Passion is often on an unstoppable almost maniacal path. She’s blind to almost everything. She crosses the streets in the midst of oncoming cars nearly meeting her end every night, but of course she doesn’t know that. She’s passion and doesn’t have room for anything else in her mind. Passion is a part of a tight knit family. She has a younger sister named Desire and a mother named Love. Passion is the most spoiled of the two- she always gets what she wants. Passion and love cater to her every slight whim. Passion once was calmer when she was younger. It all changed when she met a boy however. She became stuck to him like glue and when they broke up she was devastated beyond belief. After the breakup passion tried to change herself, to make herself more attractive to men, but she failed. She looked like a clown and in her fervor to look beautiful; Passion ran out into the rain and smudged everything that she had changed about herself.

Passion derives its character from Hagar. The description tells the story how Hagar lost her mind after Milkman withdrew from her. She couldn't handle the intensity of her feelings for Milkman. In this character description I avoided the fact that Hagar killed herself because personal qualities can’t really die. Since, Hagar and Passion characterized the same; Passion has qualities of an abandoned woman. At first a man wants her, but when he finds something better she falls by the wayside.

Symbol Explored- Peacock

Song of Solomon abounds with various symbols throughout the novel. The most prominent characters are consumed by letting go of their baggage and learning to how fly (the most noticeable symbol in the book), but the polar opposite symbol is the white peacock. At first look, the white peacock is the most obscure symbol. It leaves audiences baffled by its meaning. In fact some readers fail to notice the appearance of the peacock. The peacock is mentioned when Milkman and Guitar first conspire to steal from Pilate. They start imagining all the things they are going to purchase with their new found gold riches and the peacock materializes. The peacock symbolizes money and greed and material wealth. This is because the peacock is a very attractive bird. The tales of the male open up to span beautiful designs, however; the bird cannot fly. It weighed down by its very own feathers. The peacock is the antithesis of the phrase that says that one has to get rid of all their extra weight or their crap to fly. It’s almost a tragic coincidence that the very thing that makes a peacock pretty is the thing that inhibits it. While Milkman and Guitar become obvious peacocks in their pursuit of gold, a majority of the prominent women also identify like the symbol. Ruth was born with a transfixion with having money and stuff. It was a symptom of having grown up with her doctor father. She was used to living in a big house and having foreign luxuries shipped from here and there. Her need for stuff and status doesn’t allow her to fly. Corinthians also embodies the peacock. Corinthians want to be view by people as different and somehow different than a regular black woman. It’s part of the reason she wears heels to her maid job. She feels literally higher than other people. Corinthians succeed in her endeavor to become “higher” and more peacock like because men sense her air of upper-class and don’t want to marry her because they feel like they won’t be able to fulfill her expectation. Hagar also suffers from peacock syndrome when she thinks that all the money and material things that she bought to improve herself would changer herself. All of these women are abandoned in some way which fosters a connection between the idea of the white peacock and abandoned women.

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Heritage Questions

1. What kinds of things did you know about your parents?

2. What would you say are important aspects of our (your) culture?

3. What were some things that you did as a kid?

4. What are some things that you remember from being young?

5. Did your parents ever sit you down to talk about family history?

6. What’s the most relevant historical experience that you’ve participated in?

7. Do you think it’s important for me to know my family history?

8. How did your parents choose your name for you?

9. Who where your childhood heroes?

10. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them

Heritage Paper through Anecdotes

Heritage Paper through anecdotes


Delphine crossed the steel train track for the first time in her short seventeen years into a part of town that she had never seen before. Her brown eyes widened and her mouth hung open in a perfect picture of surprise. The houses her stockinged feet were passing were just so enormous and white and perfect. She’d never imagined anything like this. The manicured lawns caught her attention and the colorful flowers seemed to turn towards her as she walked by. She’d never thought of herself as poor. She thought it was normal to have a tiny house and to squeeze into one bed with all her siblings. Although tempted to stop and marvel at this whole new part of town. She had somewhere to be, she had someone expecting her. This was her first time going to a white person’s house. Usually she went to school, but today her mother was ill and asked her to fill in for her at Mr. Hall’s house as her job as a maid.

2345 Sunflower Way was at the end of the street- that was Delphine’s destination. She rapped on the door promptly when the clock struck nine.

“Hello, Mr. Hall I’m Delphine, Mrs. Jordan’s daughter. I’m here to fill in for her. She’s sick and she sent me."

Mr. Hall sized Delphine up, frowned ever so slightly, and invited her into the house. He muttered tersely. “This is the kitchen. I would like some soup.” In all her years of schooling, she’d never learned how to make soup. She thought when she came today, she’d have to do chores- some scrubbing and maybe some laundry, but now she had to cook. She didn’t want to make it wrong. He might become upset with her and fire her mom.

Delphine searched around the kitchen. Looking high and low for recipes, finally found one for potato soup. She followed the instructions to a “t”. Peel the potatoes. Check. Salt. Check. Carrots. Check.

After 15 minutes Delphine had piping hot soup. She called apprehensively for Mr. Hall to come.

He tasted the soup.

“Not bad. Not good, but also not bad,” he said judgmentally as he ate.

In that moment Delphine decided, the maid’s life was not for her. She didn’t want to subject herself to other people’s, white people’s judgment. She decided she’d go ahead and finish high school and go to college to become a teacher devote her life to education. Delphine is my grandma and through the years she has taught me the importance of education. Her mother, who was born in 1918, did not have the chance to get an education so she values hers.


Donna felt freed. She could do anything she wanted her free spirited heart wanted. Her parents were gone for the weekend and she was left under the care of her grandma who lived a couple streets away. For weeks, she’d been itching to ride Steven Richard’s motorcycle. He liked her and he said he’d take her for a spin around town, but when she’d asked her parents they had repeatedly said “No Donna, that’s far too dangerous,” but now they were gone. If she just went around the corner nobody would know. It could be her little secret.

At 6 o’clock Donna heard the roar of the motorcycle outside her house. Her brother looked up at her quizzically from his model airplane. She preempted his question. “I’ll be back in an hour and if you tell Mama and Dad where I went. I swear I’ll kill you.”

With that,Donna bounded outside with her shorts and long hair. Steven saw her and smiled. He asked, “Where do you want to go?” and she suggested they go get ice cream. Steven invited her on the motorcycle and instructed her to hold on. He didn’t give her a helmet. He didn’t have an extra one and for a fraction of a second, as her hair flew in the wind, Donna worried that she should have on, they could get in an accident, but it became a fleeting thought as the ice cream shop appeared in her line of sight. She told herself that she should worry everything would be okay and she'd get back home without her parents and grandma knowing where she went.The i impromptu date went without flaw, except for when Steven tried to lean over and kiss her. She playfully denied him of that pleasure saying “maybe another time.” Steven took her home within the hour, but as she threw her leg over to get off the motorcycle she felt a sharp and searing pain on her leg. She quickly fell to the ground writhing in pain. Her leg had touched one of the hot exhaust pipes and was now severely red and burned. Her first coherent thought after the immediate pain was. “Damn, I’m caught. I’ll have to tell my parents and grandma what happened.”

Moments later, Donna’s grandmother came walking around the corner to check on her and her brothers. How convenient. She saw her granddaughter on the ground holding her leg scarred . Poor Steven didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to leave Donna on the ground, but he’d also rather not get in trouble. He stood frozen until Donna’s grandmother spoke. She asked calmly, “Steven, what happened?” “I think she, she, burned her leg. I’m really sorry. I didn’t think she’d get hurt. I don’t know what happened. His knees knocked in fear. He was grateful of the grandmother’s next words. “Go along, Steven. Go before I decide to tell your mom.” Steven had never rode as fast on his motorcycle as he did then.

Over the years in church and school, Donna had been hearing “obey your parents” like a mantra. She knew what it mean, but now she had real life experience of why: Terrible, terrible, potentially scaring things could happen if you didn’t. Donna is my aunt and has instilled the value of obeying my parents in me. It’s her biggest recommended life rule for me and I believe her. She’s real living proof of why obeying parent’s is key.


Elouise knew Death. He had visited her family many times. First he had come unexpectedly for her Dad through electric shock. Then Death scooped up her uncles and her aunts. Now It was very near to her, but she wasn’t dying, although she felt like she might be. Her brother was dead, as in dead and gone. Forever.

The phone felt heavy in her hand. She felt like she was drowning. She gasped for air and felt it filling up her lungs and yet she couldn’t breathe. She’d just seen Tommy last week. He was joking around and having a good time at the family picnic they’d had. Now he had a bullet lodged somewhere deep inside his brain. He was lying some alone in some dirty, rank, and probably over used morgue.

Her thoughts seemed so trite. She wished she had more time with him.

My mother, Elouise, always reminds me how important it is to spend time with my family. She wants better for her daughter. She doesn’t want me to feel like she did when her brother died brother passed away- filled with regret. My mom has instilled the priority of family time in me. It’s sacred.

These moments are some of the most prominent moments in my family member’s lives. These are the moments that shaped them and molded them as they grew into adults. When they share the stories with me they, too, shape me. I learn lessons without having to encounter the same unpleasant circumstances. I would be very ignorant if I chose to learn nothing from the stories of my family’s past. What would I tell my children when they asked about family history? When exploring family, moments like these matter more than just dates and birth certificates. It’s real day to day life and it’s important that these stories survive.

Precis #1

In the chapter nine of acclaimed novel Song of Solomon written by Nobel Prize winning Author Toni Morrison, Morrison argues suggests that every person is capable of change by centering and developing supporting characters. In chapter nine the previously stagnant Corinthians, sister of Milkman Dead, challenges her norm of comfortable middle class life and acquires a job to sustain herself with, "Corinthians woke up one day to find herself a forty-two-year-old maker of rose petals she, suffered a severe depression which lasted until she made up her mind to get out of the house"(189). This change in a flat character demonstrates personal evolvement remains possible for all by way of determination. Lena, another previously quiet sister, undermines her brother’s (and overall male power and patriarchy) by ordering Milkman to reflect on the destruction that he has caused, “ Now he has knocked the ice out of Corinthians’ hand again and you are to blame” (216). Morrison gives the women in this chapter an assertive voice in order to communicate to the audience that change brews within the characters and that the “Dead” and inactive spirit of the family is coming quickly to a close.

Once again,Corinthians is an abandoned woman. Dhe's abandoned by family. In this chapter however she is allowed to flourish a little bit whch illustrates how abandoned things can always come back to life. Abandoned does not mean dead.

Precis #2

In chapter 11 of Song of Solomon, famous American novelist, Toni Morrison asserts that solitude provides an avenue for self discovery. Morrison supports this assertion by setting up situations of solitude for Milkman. Milkman has to go outside and sit on the steps of Mr. Solomon's store in order to digest his feelings about Guitar being on the hunt for him "I think I'll sit outside awhile" (262). Later on, By the time Milkman gets lost and separated by the party in the woods, he looses all of his material items, but becomes enlightened about himself in two was. He realizes that he does't need to rely on material things"all he started out with was gone: his suitcase with the Scotch, the shirts, and the space for all the gold; his- snap brim hat, his tie... His watch and two hundred dollars would be of no help out where all a man had was what he was what he was born with, or had learned to use"(277). He also learns the extent of his own selfishness "... All he was really saying was: I am not responsible for your pain; share your happiness with me but not your unhappiness" (277). Morrison uses an introspective tone to display for the audience the immense changes in Milkman's thinking of himself and others.

Although this precis isn't about an abandoned woman,Milkman goes through some of the same solitary situations as his sisters and mother(who themselves are abandoned women) to find healing.

Just as Milkman adventures out on a solitary journey to find himself, Corinthians finds what she needs- responsibility- in solitude. Nobody in her family knows she has the job and

yet it sustains her. The same goes with her mother. Ruth Dead repeatedly visits her father's grave to find the acceptance she needs. All the members of the family physically leave in order to be alone and seek self discovery.

Literary Analysis

Literary Analysis for "Unruly and Let Loose"

The gender roles in Toni Morrsion’s Song of Solomon are difficult to decipher and categorize. Morrison creates an impressive web of character interactions by focusing on one family the Deads. The women all the women in the family except Pilate act similarly in subservience to men and all of the men enjoy their role as head of household. The women in the book are heavily dependent on men to the point of when men abandon them they are emotionally destroyed, but in small moments they rebel against the ingrained patrimony.

In “Unruly and Let Loose” Micheal Awkward parallels a similar assertion to the one which says that the gender roles in the novel lie in the gray area . He states that Song of Solomon “neither falls outside of the womanist and Afro-centric concerns of Morrison’s other novels (75)”In other words in terms of gender study l(feminism) its ambivalent. Pivotal moments in the book illustrate this duality. For instance, Milkman pees on his sister asserting his dominance even at the young age of five. Milkman isn’t even aware enough of his own sister to not urinate on her as he turns around. Of course, this childhood instance foreshadows his patriarchal temperament towards as he ages. He become more removed from him relying on the power of his “hogs gut”. It’s later revealed Milkman has never even asked his own family members how they are doing. On the other hand countering male dominance, Lena later comes back with a vengeance and points out the havoc he has caused in the women’s lives He’s been pissing on him them their whole lives while they do nothing but sacrifice for him. Ultimately, she’s standing up to her brother which challenges the societal norms. In fact Lena acts as the impetus of Milkman’s journey she challenges him to “get out of her room (Morrison 216)” at the end of part one which can be interpreted metaphorically to mean the world of dominating women. In order to stop that he has to find something within himself. He has pieces of himself missing. Campell, a literary critic, corroborates this line of thought because he asserts that “Woman is the guide to the sublime acme of sensuous adventure.”

Another reason why gender roles seem so interchangeable stems from the reason that her novel is based on a myth. Awkward divulges that “traditional myth, like most other cultural forms preserved from an androcentric past, tend to inscribe as a part of their truth a subordinate and inferior status for women (73).” This idea is partially supported. The men in “The Flying Africans” were the instigators of flight (the witch doctor was a man) . The women only participated in the exodus. They played no real role. Morrison mirrors this show of patriarchy in her own unique way by having the men be the ones who take flight in Song of Solomon. The main difference between the novel myth and the real myth is that in the traditional myth all of the enslaved Africans went back to Africa. So even though the women had no real role they participated. Only the males, in the novel, Solomon and Milkman were able to fly. In fact they left behind the suffering women in their life- Ryna and Hagar respectively. Morrison altered the gender roles to her advantage however. She made Pilate like the witch doctor in the book- she possessed the knowledge of what it took to fly and helped Milkman fly. Because of this, one cannot argue that power in the book was slighted towards neither men nor women each have significant roles in “leading” the other.

When Milkman learns the truth of his family, he sees the wrong he has committed. Specifically, he sees how his masculine ego destroyed Hagar. His epiphany equalizes some of the gender relations in the book because it makes the men in the book susceptible to change their views toward women.

In a sense, at the end of the book Milkman recognizes the women he has abandoned and goes back to them when he goes to report back to his family the truth of their heritage. He return back to the “home” of women he had abandoned.