Milkman's similarity to Macon Dead
In the novel Song of Solomon (1997),Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel prize, initially portrays Milkman as a different character from his father, Macon Dead, but as the story progresses, readers can see Milkman's approaching similarity to his father. Milkman detests the fact that his father physically abuses his mother and acknowledges the emotional barrier that is between them but when Milkman hits his father for abusing his mother, his sisters "returned him a look of hatred so fresh, so new, it startled him (68)." The look that Milkman's sisters give him was in order to connect with the readers and illustrate the realization that Milkman was now the authoritative male figure in the novel; his sisters realize that Milkman is on his way to becoming just like his father. Tori Morrison addresses the strained relationship between father and son using Milkman and Macon as prime examples but as Milkman ages, he becomes more like his father, becoming greedy and emotionally hurting Hagar like how Macon treats Ruth.
Lena's Defense Against Milkman
In chapter nine of the novel Song of Solomon (1977), winner of the Nobel Prize Toni Morrison portrays Magdalene as a strong female character who stands up against the corruption of her male family members. Magdalene discloses to Milkman that he has been peeing on people all his life (214) and he lived a life of luxury where everything was handed to him; everything that Corinthians, Magdalene, and Ruth did was for the purpose of Milkman's happiness: "When you slept, we were quiet; when you were hungry, we cooked; when you wanted to play, we entertained, and when you got grown enough to know the difference between a woman and a two-toned Ford, everything in this house stopped for you. You have yet to wash your own underwear, spread a bead, wipe the ring from your tub, or move a fleck of your dirt from one place to another (215)." Toni Morrison employs the action of peeing by comparing it to Milkman's tendency to walk over the female members of his family in order to express Milkman's approaching similarity to Macon ("You are exactly like him. Exactly (215).") Toni Morrison's target audience for this chapter is women; from a feminist view, Morrison expresses the idea that women should not cower under men and delivers this message with a derisive tone towards Milkman.
In the last chapter of Song of Solomon (1977), winner of the Nobel Prize Toni Morrison hands Milkman basically a second chance in life. His swimming in the river symbolizes baptism, a rebirth, after discovering the history of his family. Milkman finally accepts himself and his family ("Leave me. Leave me in here by myself. I don't care. I'll play and splash and turn. "He could fly! You hear me? My great-granddaddy could fly! Goddam!" (328) and rejoices in the truth of his great grandfather. Readers can see Milkman's acceptance of himself at the end of the chapter when he and Pilate go to Solomon's Leap to bury the bones of Pilate's father. When Pilate dies by a bullet from Guitar's gun, Milkman reaches a moment where he realizes that even if he dies at that moment, he will be content with death: "If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it" (337).