By Natassja Thomas
Song of Solomon's Verisimilitude
In Toni Morrison's book, Song of Solomon(1977), chapters 5 and 7 both imply the verisimilitude of magical elements, which shows that truth is based on personal interpretations. Morrison displays this magical realism using Pilate (not only did I see him die, I seen him since he was shot) and Macon's (they saw a cave and at its mouth stood their father) flashbacks of seeing their father after watching him die and burying him, as well as following and talking with him (You just can't fly on off and leave a body). Using the impossibly real recollections of Pilate and Macon, Toni Morrison sets up a dual world, one real world and one spiritual world, using the siblings, Macon, a representative of the real, and Pilate, a representative of the spiritual, to juxtapose the two worlds; however by allowing Macon, the semblance of the real world to experience the spiritual world by seeing the ghost of his father (he saw the dusty boots of his father standing just on the other side of the shallow pit) and to expose himself as materialistic and abusive man and by showing Pilate, the semblance of the spiritual world, as a strong-willed person content in her spirituality and unnatural uniqueness (having no navel/after a while, she stopped worrying about her stomach, and stopped trying to hide it), Morrison establishes more importance in dwelling and believing in the spiritual world. By using a doubtless tone, Morrison forces the audience and the characters in the book to interpret the Dead sibling's stories and the spiritual dimension that the stories help to set up as the truth.
In chapter 9 of Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon (1977), she suggests that "love" should not be based upon class or rank, but rather the passion a person feels for another. Morrison illuminates this assertion by telling the love story of Corinthians who at first "made her disdain clear" but eventually falls in love with Porter, the guy from "Southside" who is "not good enough for her" based on status, but she also shows this with the relationship between Macon Dead II and Ruth who were never in love (I can't tell you I was in love with her) and marry, one, for Nathan to have a rich, upper class wife, whose dad "was just about the richest negro in this city" and, two, for Ruth to move on from her father after he became suspicious of her clinginess. Morrison illustrates this point to show that the social norm of marrying for class and wealth leaves people miserable and together, like Ruth and Macon, or miserable and alone, like Milkman, Corinthians and Lena; people should search for love no matter race, class, wealth, etc. because love keeps a relationship blooming and growing even through the hard times, but without love to facilitate compromise, arguments become issues, issues become separation and separation becomes divorce. Morrison uses a vulnerable tone to exhibit in her novel that love is hard to ignore and even harder to let go once it is experienced, and because of that it should be the driving force in building relationships with people, rather than superficial, materialistic ambitions.
In Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon(1977), she asserts the idea that in order to achieve an internal flight to personal awareness, you must "give up the shit that weighs you down." Morrison shows Milkman, whose journey towards self-enlightenment makes this novel a bildungsroman, losing his material possessions "he had started out with on his journey," and in the same moments, gaining more knowledge about himself (now 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). Using this dichotomy of losing to gain, Morrison shows how people place too much importance in these material possessions and as a result, lose themselves, but releasing those material things helps eliminate the distraction that blocks people from focusing and reflecting on themselves, which as a result allows someone to take flight through the surface and to the heart of self discovery. By using a reflective tone, Morrison shows Milkman progressing from the child-like state he was frozen in at home by losing the possessions that plagued him there to a man whose journey away from home is allowing him to release some weight and to come that much closer to the ultimate flight: a one-way to the essence of Milkman.
Pilate: the Ariel of the Song of Solomon
In the last chapter of Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon (1977), Morrison finalizes the characterization of Pilate as a magical human being by showing a bird that "scooped something shiny in its beak before it flew away." Throughout the book, Morrison shows Pilate as this mystical creature with no belly button and strong and tall like a tree; she had this strangely, alluring quality, she was strong even in old age and she even transformed into Aunt Jemima getting noticeably shorter. In this final chapter, Morrison finally wraps up that Pilate is not just an ordinary human being, but rather an air spirit, allusive to Ariel in the Tempest, which makes sense if you connect how the birds take her earring to the sky and even how she was related to a tree, which is the closest thing to the sky that's rooted on the earth. Morrison uses a tone of admiration through Milkman to show just how amazing and unusual Pilate is an how this magical being affected everyone with her love and free-spirit an would have "loved more" if she knew them.