Song of Solomon

Precis Writing "The American Dream"

Macon vs. Pilate

In her famous bildungsroman Song of Solomon (1977), Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, implies that materialistic ventures prohibits people from gaining any form of contentment or a sense of “freedom” (flight) within their life (“Wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down” (179). Morrison implies this transcendental thought by juxtaposing the lifestyle of Macon Dead and Pilate Dead; Macon, an owner of many properties on Not Doctor Street, lives a depressing life with a wife whom he married for financial gain ( “he always felt, when thinking about her, coated with disgust” (16)), suffers from isolation from his mostly female dominated family whom he rarely helps (“ this feeling of loneliness” (27)), lives his life by a schedule, like the sunday car trip (“these rides... had become rituals and much too important for Macon to enjoy” (31)), and often concerns himself with his appearance to the “white men in the bank” (20), while his sister, Pilate, who lives in a shack, surrounds herself with people she loves (“she never had a visitor to whom she did not offer food”), develops “ a deep concern for and about human relationships” (149) despite her outcast position as a bootlegger, lives according to how she feels, (“ no meal was ever planned…” (28), and disregards any outside opinions about herself “After a while, she stopped...trying to hide it” (148). By comparing these two radically different lifestyles, Morrison mocks the belief that “money is freedom” (163) in order to illuminate society’s misguided attempts to gain the “American Dream” by accumulating money and the latest technological devices to live a satisfying life. By using a captious tone when narrating Macon’s story, Morrison illustrates the harsh, stressful restricts of his lifestyles as he constantly guards his own interests as he disregards others (“if he had let people lie the woman who just left have their way, he wouldn't have had any keys at all” (22)) , whereas with Pilate’s story, Morrison deploys a tone of relief, and thus, freedom, from any restrictions society places upon women at that time (“[winemaking] allowed her more freedom ..than any other work a women...could choose” (150)).