By: Jamila Dyer
What quantifies a man's worth?
In Toni Morrison's esteemed novel, Song of Solomon (1977), she validates that, "Ain't no law for no colored man except the one that sends him to the chair" (Morrison 82). Morrison sets the scene with the black men discussing the murder of Emmett Till, showing the dichotomy of Guitar's and Milkman's differences in opinion, while exposing the racial barriers within the black community-- color-ism, separation instead of unity, etc.-- as well as society during that time period. Morrison includes the conversation between Railroad Tommy and Freddie-- "He from the North... acting big down in Bilbo country. Who the hell he think he is?" "Thought he was a man, that's what," (Morrison 81)-- in order to show the true separation among the African Americans; people were actually conditioned into believing that Till's murder was his own fault because he wasn't following the "Southern Law." Morrison's assertive tone helps the audience recognize the significance of the racial inequalities of our past to minimize them for our future.
Flight: An escape from the world
In Morrison's growth novel, Song of Solomon (1977), she argues the importance of flight as a means of escape to her characters from their own lives in search of self-enlightenment. Morrison sets the scene with Mr. Robert Smith as he has just jumped from the roof of "No Mercy" Hospital, a hospital that does not cater to the African American race, portraying the already important theme of limitations in regards to location. Morrison incorporates the experiences of the other characters of this scene to show how Mr. Smith's personal revelations about leaving affected everyone else's idea of escaping their lives; "Mr. Smith's blue silk wings must have left their mark, because when the little boy discovered, at four, the same thing Mr. Smith learned earlier-- that only birds and airplanes could fly-- he lost all interest in himself." Morrison's foreboding tone helps the audience establish our initial characters and contemplate how this event will alter their lives from that moment.