Chapter 5

By: Jamila Dyer


Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize winner in literature and esteemed novelist known for her classic creations of Beloved and The Bluest Eye, writes yet another timeless tale, Song of Solomon (1977), arguing that “…all he knew in the world about the world what was other people had told him.” (Morrison 120) Morrison reflects on Milkman’s identity crisis in this chapter, reiterating Guitar’s political and moral stance in contrast to Milkman’s nonchalance, capturing both ends of the extremist spectrum while also exposing the obvious disconnect between Milkman and the rest of his community. She includes the “culture clash” conversation between the two men in order to fully establish the differences in ideas of the world; Guitar, who views the political controversies of the world through an African American lens contrasted to Milkman’s possession of the “white culture” creates a moral standoff between two men, diving their community in half. "This definitely is not Montgomery, Alabama. Tell me. What would you do if it was? If this turned out to be another Montgomery?" "Buy a plane ticket." "Exactly. Now you know something about yourself you didn’t know before: who you are and what you are." Morrison’s forthright tone helps accurate illustrate the complex relationship between Guitar and Milkman as Milkman still struggles to find himself without everyone putting in their opinions about what he should think.