Song Of Solomon

Two Political Extremes

Within the introspective pages of her renowned novel Song of Solomon (1977), Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison establishes a dichotomy between the political views of Macon Dead III and Guitar. By establishing Guitar as a man who is ready to take action against racial injustice by “ha[ving] to do something” (Morrison 154) even if it meant killing (“it’s got to be done” (Morrison 155)), Morrison exhibits Guitar's extreme views; Milkman is established as a man indifferent to the struggles of the blacks in the south and as comfortable with the lifestyle of just another “northern [Negro] run[ning] amok” to portray his extreme indifference towards the plight of persecuted Negroes (Morrison 115). This polarity is established in order to further extend the differences between Macon Dead III and Guitar. Morrison’s even tone regarding the dichotomy between the two extreme views towards amending racial issues creates inner turmoil within the reader and questions whether it is justified to resort to violence for justice or to live in comfortable apathy and ignorance.


In Chapter 9 of Nobel Winner Toni Morrison's novel Song of Solomon (1977), Morrison utilizes labor as a means of enlightenment for First Corinthians. Morrison establishes Corinthians as a flat character at first, but once Corinthians attains a job as the maid of the great Michael-Mary Graham, she becomes "confid[ent]" (Morrison 190), she has a sense of "responsibility" (190), and she breaks free from the impression of a "doll" (197) that Porter (her lover) has of her; the labor provided Corinthians a means of defying her father and a way to be economically and socially independent of him. This enlightenment and evolved independence in his sister eventually leads to Milkman questioning his own independence; seeing the sisters that were once just mere shadows that he became adapted to "using," "ordering," and "judging" (215) becoming actual people shocks Milkman and contributes to his own bildungsroman. Morrison's lack of a derisive tone regarding Corinthians maintaining a "lowly" job as a maid and Corinthian's choice of lover being poor directly addresses the immorality and prejudice of social-class structures which both Macon Dead II and modern-day society uphold.


In Chapter 11 of Song of Solomon (1977) by Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Winner, Morrison effectively utilizes chapter 11 as a bildungsroman for Macon III Dead (Milkman). By establishing Milkman's maturity by how he treats Sweet ("[i]f this bath and this woman, he thought, are all that come out of this trip, I will rest easy and do my duty to God, country, and the Brotherhood of Elks for the rest of my life" (285)), by interacting and assimilating with strangers ("[t]hey hooted and laughed all the way back to the car" (280)), and reevaluating the word "Deserve" (276), Milkman finally breaks free from the one-sided relationship with Hagar, the isolation he had been subject to for the majority of his life, and the sense of entitlement that he carried with him due to his father's wealth. This sense of maturity serves to signal the end of Milkman's life shackled by the Dead family name, the rebirth of a new Milkman, and the success of the quest's journey to help the protagonist reach manhood/womanhood. Morrison's tone of awe when Milkman views the world from more mature eyes contributes to the sense of enlightenment that one faces after discovering one's identity.


Chapter 15 in Song of Solomon by renowned Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison, aptly summarizes and delivers the entire moral and purpose of the novel. By utilizing certain techniques such as personification ("[N]ames they got from yearnings, gestures, flaws, events, mistakes, weaknesses. Names that bore witness" (330)), rhetorical questions ("[w]ould you save my life? or would you take it?" (331)), and the motif of singing ("'Sugargirl don't leave me here/ Cotton balls to choke me. Sugargirl don't leave me here. Buckra's arms to yoke me" (336)), Morrison establishes Milkman as a man who is now able to understand the importance of his heritage, a man capable of comprehending society whereas before he was apathetic towards it; furthermore, she now establishes Milkman as a man who finally cares for others and is capable of comprehending the impact each person has had on his life. These revelations that culminate in Chapter 15 serve to complete the quest that Milkman had embarked on and after the final and third baptism, signals the end of Milkman's bildungsroman. Morrison's uncertain tone regarding the ending of the novel serves to encompass the entire novel in one sentence ("[i]f you surrender to the air, you ride it"], leaving the readers with a sense of empowerment and resolve that Milkman himself feels at the end of his journey.