Song of Solomon Precis

By Christina Jeong

In chapters five of the Nobel Prize winning novel Song of Solomon, American novelist Toni Morrison introduces the difference in role that women play, such as both Hagar and Ruth living as dependent women who yearn for the shelter of a man while Pilate defines herself as a woman with strength and radiates independence. Ruth displays protectiveness for her son with words that emit violence, " 'If you are so much as bend a hair on his head, so help me Jesus, I will tear your throat out' " (Morrison 136), which is normal for a mother but her motherly love can be distorted due to the fact of her strange sexual act of breast-feeding her son past the infant stage, while Hagar exhibits dependence on a man through her unconditional love towards Milkman, who abandons her, which catapults Hagar into a murderous rage upon Milkman and declares " 'He is my home in this world' " (Morrison 137), which greatly contrasts Pilate's role in the novel who exclaims " 'Two growed-up women talkin 'bout a man like he was a house or needed one.' " (Morrison 137-138) which displays her disgust towards women who leech off of men with no dignity, unlike herself. Morrison's purpose in comparing the lifestyles of the three women is to present an everlasting theme of independence versus dependence, which can be seen more prominently through the struggles of women than those of men. This purpose of Morrison helps readers to conclude that a woman does not have to always be bonded to a man but instead assert independence for herself and those around her.