Song of Solomon

3/11/2014

Women's equality

Toni Morrison’s 1977 African American novel Song of Solomon reveals the prejudice thinking of men against “silly, selfish, queer, faintly obscene women” (123), despite aiding his every desire on a daily basis. She signifies this by examining the relationship between Macon and the women in his family; Macon despises his mother after his father reveals the undertone sexual relationship between Ruth and her father (“that’s where she was..laying next to him. Naked..(73)), yet he does not seek her opinion seventeen years, since he never “had thought of his mother as a person, a separate individual” (75), and throughout those years, his sisters “wash [his] own underwear, spread a bed, wipe the ring from [his] tub, or move a fleck of [his] dirt from one place to another” (215), which he never return any gratitude or recognition of their lives, but fully believes that he needs to decide their rightful spouse (“where do you get the right to decide our lives?” (215)). Morrison these affairs in order to state the prolonged delay of women equality, despite their success of the nineteenth amendment, as if men are giggling at their attempts to wriggle out of their position of inferiority (“ you’ve been laughing at us all your life” (215)). Through her tone, Morrison delivers her frustration at men’s ignorance and refusal to listen women’s thoughts (“ I don’t want to hear it” (215)).

Milkman's Metamorphsis

In Chapter 11 of her acclaimed novel Song of Solomon, winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature Toni Morrison utilizes suffering in order to mark aid Milkman Dead’s metamorphosis from a character full of “ignorance...and vanity” (276) to a responsible adult. As he journeys to the South, he relinquishes the grand objects he relied on for the past thirty-two years: “his money, his car, his father’s reputation, his suit, or his shoes” (277), forcing him to develop enhance “what he was born with, or what he had learned to use” (277); without his grand materials, he reflects on his poor decisions and mindset (“I am not responsible for your pain; share your happiness with me but not your unhappiness” (277)) in his solitude, differing from the party life he prefers, thus causing him to reconnect to nature (“ he tried to listen with his fingertips, to hear what, if anything, the earth had to say…” (279)). Morrison describes his revelation in order to illustrate man’s greed for “everything in this world…[that] will crumble and rot” (247) instead of focusing on his character that he will carry not only throughout his life, but the world beyond his passing. Morrison transfigures the tone from craziness and confusion (he had come here to find traces of Pilate’s journey...how had he got himself involved in hunt…?” (275)) to a sense of calmness and acceptance (“he found himself exhilarated by simply walking the earth” (281)).

Family's History

In her age coming story Song of Solomon, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison emphasizes the importance of family history in the present generation’s lives (“ how many dead lives and fading memories were buried in and beneath the names of the places of this country?” (359)).Many townsfolk throughout the novel celebrate monumental ancestors who impacted their neighborhood by renaming city/town marks related to their famous reputation in their honor: such as Not Doctor Street (“ the only colored doctor in the city had lived and died on that street...his patients took to calling the street… Doctor Street” (4)) , Solomon’s Leap, where“Solomon done fly” (303), and Ryna’s Gulch, where “folks said ‘was woman name Ryna’ crying” (302). She presents this in order to emphasize the importance and consequences of an individual’s action/legacy on their love ones, like Macon, who “as the son of Macon Dead the first, he paid homage to his own father’s life and death by loving what that father had loved: property... “ (300); this relates to the existentialist thought that man does not know what happens beyond the grave, but he contains the power to control the decisions in his life and therefore impacting the lives of their future family, like Solomon and Milkman (“ For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it” (337)). Morrison implies a tone of respect towards the dead and the ones who keep their memory alive, since acting on their honor indicates that the fallen’s lives possess purpose and thus value (“ Pilate had taken a rock from every state she had lived in…. it was hers- and his, and his father’s , his grandfather’s, his grandmother’” (330)).