Song of Solomon Assertions

Milkman as a biblical character

In her novel, Song of Solomon (1977), Nobel prize winner, Toni Morrison, implies that the plot’s protagonist, Macon “Milkman” Dead, is a representation of the baby from the Old Testament story of Solomon in the way that “Everything [his parents] did seemed to be about him, yet nothing he wanted was part of it” (165), bringing Milkman closer to feelings of abuse and of being the object of a manipulative scheme. Morrison effectively expresses this similarity by supplying Milkman with apathetic tendencies that are clearly derived from his lack of control in the proceedings of his life, as well as the internalized perception that his parents constantly attempt to exploit his existence to their personal advantages, as shown in Macon's admittance to being relieved that "His son belonged to him now and not to Ruth, and he was relieved at not having to walk all over town like a peddler collecting rents" (63), without allowing Milkman to benefit from this unwanted attention. Using the not-so-subtle title of the novel as a pointer, Morrison juxtaposes her story with that of the Bible’s in order to grasp the attention of the public and forcing them into the realization that morals are meant to be practiced, that humans will easily lose themselves and turn a child, a fellow human, into an inanimate object holding worth in only social and economic standing. Morrison uses a didactic yet hopeless tone to illustrate Milkman's distant understanding of his role in his parents' feud, yet he fails to come to terms with his own abilities to remove himself from the complicated equation that is familial relationships.

Song of Solomon Ch.9 Assertion

Magical Realism

In her famous novel, Song of Solomon (1977), Nobel Prize winner and pronounced feminine, Toni Morrison, postulates the possibility that magic and superstitious undertones hold a pertinent influence on the actions of the story's characters through Pilate's confession that she is often inspired "cause Papa told her to" (208), even though he is dead. Morrison enhances this idea via Pilate's journey into adulthood as "she spoke often to the dead" (149) and followed her father's instructions to return to her origins because "you just can't fly on off and leave a body" (147), encouraging Pilate to develop her sense of responsibility and duty to humanity. Morrison furthers the theme of elusive magic by inspiring Magdelene called Lena to confront her brother, Milkman, for having killed a maple tree by peeing on it, when in reality, Lena has lost her docility towards Milkman and her father due to the f act that their actions have reached a tipping point in her patience and compliance. In order to connect the magical strains with reality, Morrison provides a pragmatic and relatable tone while explaining mystical events, which are followed by reassoned and justifiable reactions.

Song of Solomon Ch.11 Assertion

In the bildungsromanesque chapter 11 of Song of Solomon, Nobel Prize laureate, Toni Morrison, instigates the deep, internalized character change that protagonists throughout literature are subject to while experiencing the south and the inescapable "finding yourself" moment that comes with every unexpected migration. Throughout the novel, Milkman Dead has victimized himself as a man who will always be subject to the misery of others, and hopes that he can one day break free of his ties to humanity and live as a single entity, one without the responsibility for those around him. Morrison guides Milkman to the south, to his previously buried family roots, in order to introduce him to the person he would have been had he learned compassion, selflessness, unity, loyalty, or even simple respect. Upon sitting alone in the dark forest, Milkman comes to realize that, perhaps, he had mistreated the people in his life, perhaps "he thought he deserved only to be loved-- from a distance, though-- and given what he wanted. And in return he would be...pleasant? Generous?" (277). Our previously self-centered and disliked protagonist confesses that he thought "[he was] not responsible for you pain; share your happiness with [him] but not your unhappiness" (277), and comes to realize that his father's reputations and material possessions "hampered him" (277). Morrison uses an unveiling and optimistic tone to represent Milkman's apparent change in attitude towards his family and how he should be treating them; he deserves to have them unveil their problems to him because he is their son, his duty is to listen to them. Milkman's trip south is symbolic of the introverted change that has come upon him, from either his baptism or his proximity to the raw power of history and truth surrounding him.

Song of Solomon Ch. 15 Assertion

In the 15th chapter of her award winning novel Song of Solomon, national bestselling author, Toni Morrison, deviates away from flight being a physical accomplishment and conveys the act as a symbol of peace and self-worth; flight is the ability to remove yourself from a physical time and place and instead carry your spirits towards the version of yourself that has eluded you. Through her use of excited diction and dynamic character analysis, Morrison extrapolates that time passes slowly or even fails to exist once it is spent for oneself; Milkman "didn't need no airplane...He could fly his own self!" (328). At home he either acts like a renegade and gets upstaged by Guitar or "attempts" to be a family man and gets rejected by his sisters, and so "he just took off; got fed up" (328), leading him to shed his old skin, discovering his past while mentally editing every conversation in which he regretted his words and actions, especially when directed towards his mother and Pilate. Morrison overstates Milkman's reaction to his newfound knowledge in order to emphasize the protagonist's ability to soar within his happiness, to spring forth into the life of a man who has found himself (Milkman tells Sweet "I'm dirty and I want waaaaater!" (326) in order to evoke his desire for rebirth). Morrison embodies an awe-struck and forceful tone to convey the completed shift that has taken place within Milkman; this confused yet willing man finds himself and his family's past within the forgotten wilderness of Virginia, "Solomon gone home!" (329).