Song of Solomon Project
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).
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.