Flight vs Flightlessness

In chapter 15 of Song of Solomon (1977), Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize,

focuses on the contrasting ideas of flight and flightlessness as a way to juxtapose the effects of both ideas on people's lives. Morrison develops this concept by creating a parallel between the freedom of flight present in Milkman's past versus a stationary feeling in Michigan, by addressing the irony of Milkman's "[dream] of flying, [while] Hagar was dying"(Morrison 332), and by noting both the positive and negative consequences of taking flight-- especially when it is used to escape problems. Using many examples of flight--literally and figuratively-- in the Dead family's past, such as when Macon I flew back to Africa with "no airplane"(328), in conjunction with Milkman's abilities to understand the impact his "flight" has had on his family and friends back home, Morrison establishes in her reader not only a sense of magic and the power to release oneself from troubles, but also an opportunity to see a more cognizant and considerate side of Milkman. Morrison's epiphanic and excited tone spoken through Milkman allows the reader to understand how the presence of flight--or lack thereof--in life creates a new way of understanding the purpose of living and the importance of distinguishing the difference between things that weigh us down and things that allow us to break free from the reigns of fate.