Corinthians Longing for Freedom

Song of Solomon Precis Writing - Maya Thomas

Corinthians Flightlessness

In chapter 9 of her much-admired novel Song of Solomon, a coming of age story (1977) Toni Morrison provides the readers a perspective from the protagonist’s sister Corinthians, we see her struggling to find her place in a world that doesn’t accept women that are too refined. She is overwhelmed by the emptiness and monotony of her life. Corinthians traveled to France, very sophisticated and men even “steered clear of a woman who had a better education than he did” (189), but for what, why wouldn’t you want an educated wife? Women are portrayed as “doll baby’s” (196), who are scared of their fathers and of growing up, they must take care of the house and be grateful for the work the men accomplished. She was ashamed of dating Porter, a Southside man she had just met, and he must remain a secret just like her job working for Graham. By the end of the chapter we see her “frozen at the steps” (197), realizing that she can no longer live her life around the standards of her father, she’s a grown woman and can make grown up decisions if she desires to. Morrison’s hopeless tone validates Corinthians longing for flight, and an escape from her father and her brother “Milkman”, as the chapter continues her tone changes to that of a rebel, who is ready to take flight and take charge of her own life.

The Revelation of Milkman

In chapter 11 of her acclaimed novel Song of Solomon (1977), a coming of age story Toni Morrison uses a bobcat to signify the revelation of Milkman, as he watches the skinning of the bobcat he remembers the words of his friend Guitar “Everyone wants a black man’s life.”(Morrison 281). This ritual reminds him of how everyone back at home wanted a part of him like the men wanted a part of the bobcat, even his own best friend wanting to kill him,“ it seemed to him that he was always saying or thinking that he didn’t deserve some bad luck, or some bad treatment from others”(Morrison 276). He didn’t think he deserved the vengeance from Hagar, or his family’s dependency on him. Milkman was allowed to pull the heart in order to symbolize how Milkman is dead inside, he has begun to let go of his father’s teachings and become his own man. A peacock soared above as Milkman pulls the heart out which symbolizes the greed leaving Milkman, which causes his revelation and fuels his urge to become more connected to his family roots. Morrison’s down-to-earth tone demonstrated as Milkman begins to find himself and forget about the gold helps the reader recognize Milkman being capable of flying from the strict ways of the Dead’s and reviving as his own.

Milkman's Mentor Pilate

In Chapter 15 of her celebrated novel Song of Solomon (1977), a coming of age story Toni Morrison uses the lesson of “Flight” leading up to his final transformation. Before Milkman can fly he must “give up the shit that weighs you down” (Morrison 179), in this chapter Milkman is able to embrace his roots, trapped in a cellar forced to take responsibility for Hagar’s death. Milkman expresses to Pilate the bones she’s carried are the bones of her father. After the burial Pilate dies symbolizing her finally being able to let go of what was “weighing her down” and settling into peace. The birds circling around them represents their family being connected again by Macon I burial, Pilate passes away and “One dived into the new grave and scooped something shiny in its beak before it flew away” (Morrison 336), the scooping of Pilates name shows that her name will live forever or “fly” while it is separate from her physical being. In order for Milkman to fly he must take the lesson from Pilate by living with courage and facing up to his reality or fears, which is Guitar. Milkman has learned to put faith into the air and is able to fly, Morrison’s down-to-earth tone emphasizes Pilate’s teachings that liberate Milkman teaching him the necessities of life and how to be your own person which allows him to become a better man who is more connected to his culture.