Guitar is Soloman's Malcolm X

In chapter 6 of her highly praised novel Song of Solomon (1977), Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison establishes the quiet yet rebellious character Guitar Bains as fictional Malcolm X, a "natural human being" (Morrison 156) who, like Malcolm X, became a civil rights radical after witnessing uncivil deaths of Negroes. Morrison illuminates this comparison by creating Guitar as someone who initially began as a rebellious teenager who initiated in drinking and smoking (similar to Malcolm X's initial upbringing with his involvement in drugs) began to modify his life by substituting alcohol for tea and quitting smoking (Malcolm X changed his life in jail while educating himself) as well as the justifying diction Guitar utilizes for his activity in the Seven Days ("What I'm doing ain't about hating white people. It's about loving us. About loving you. My whole life is love."-Morrison 159) Using racial examples intertwined with fictional racial epithets such as the Seven Days, Morrison heightens these interactions in order to address the dark history of America as well as to mature Milkman with his endeavors in the racial world. Morrison's aggressive tone demonstrated through Guitar's diction to Milkman helps the reader understand a radical African American's view of segregation as one willing to sacrifice his own life for the betterment of a race, much like Malcolm X's aggressive nature in the 1960's.

Chapter 9 exhibits the animalistic and primitive states of men

In chapter 9 of her highly praised novel Song of Solomon (1977), Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison establishes the habitual nature of men such as Macon, Milkman, Guitar, and Porter as primitive and animalistic who, like a dog or wild animal, act without reprocations as well as "mark their territory" by an occasional urination on property. Morrison establishes Macon as an abusive authoritorian over his family, similar to a man he withheld Corinthians from meeting ("Such a man was known to beat his woman, betray her, shame her, leave" Morrison 201) and consequently Milkman grew to follow this aggressive regime ("You are exactly like him. Exactly" Morrison 215) as well as developing Guitar's radical behavior towards "The Man" and Pilate ("His anger was like heat shimmering out of his skin" Morrison 207) ; Morrison also displays the "territorial" aspect of Milkman by his peculiarity of urinating on things such as his sister and the bushes and trees ("What is all this about peeing on people? You've been doing it to us all your life" Morrison 214) similar to a pack of dogs urinating on trees to mark their territory and assert their dominance. Morrison's story revolves around disruptive men and calls to most women to stand up to these abusive and primitive men. Morrison's belligerent tone demonstrates the absurdity of men and women relations in the story and it helps the reader to recognize not only the discriminatory motif but also to establish gender roles in her story.

Singing: the Traditional Way

In her highly acclaimed novel Song of Solomon (1977), national award winning author Toni Morrison acknowledges the influence that singing carries when pertaining to a difficult struggle in life along with orally passing down tradition and family history from one generation to the next. Morrison highlights this ideology by emphasizing the demoralized spirits within major characters (Pilate's depression after Reba's birth, Pilate and Reba after Hagar's death, Macon when staring at Pilate through the window) and illustrates the power of song by elevating their spirit when grieving a monumental deficit in their life--similar to slaves when oppressed by their slave owners; singing also displays the passing of oral tradition and family history, demonstrated by Pilate's "Sugarman" and the children's nursery rhyme, uttering the Milkman's family history. Morrison juxtaposes and parallels the Deads' misery to the misery encountered by the slaves in order to showcase the healing power of a song and its influence of spiritual rebirth. Morrison's sentimental tone expressed through the singer reveals the heartache and pain felt through generations of the Dead family as well as a tale, a tale--contrary to the name--that will never die.

Guitar Bains recipe

3 cups Black Power
2 cups skewed logic
1 cup radical acts
1/2 cup of dignity
1 pint awareness
3 tablespoons of pride
5 drops of spiteful killer
1 pinch of truth
1 dash of love


Directions: Light the flame and set on median high. Put bowl of water on top of flame and let it stay for 5 minutes or until hot water bubbles appear. Mix black power and skewed logic and pour into hot war. Stir slowly until substance settles. Turn flame down into low and continue to let settle. Wait 10 minutes and add in radical acts, dignity, awareness, and pride. Slowly stir until hot, black, bubbling sauce appears. Wait an additional 5 minutes and add 5 drops of spiteful killer and pinch of truth. Pour substance into a cake bin and bake until skewed boy has been made. Finally, add a dash of love (Or not, compatibility may vary)


Connection to theme: Guitar Bains in Song of Solomon exemplifies a static character whose unwilling to change. Guitar's skewed logic and attempt to play the role of God amongst the Caucasian population differs from Milkman's journey to change his views and ability to listen to other voices besides his own. Although Milkman does not sing often, he eventually demonstrates the ability to listen and comprehend song and interpret the history of African culture while Guitar seemingly stays a radical activist who is unwilling to understand any different opinions rather than his own.