Song of Solomon

Money Is Freedom

Freedom doesn't grow on trees.

In Song of Solomon (1997), by American novelist, editor, and professor, as well as winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize and 1993 Nobel Prize, and lastly recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, Toni Morrison plants not only the idea that "Money is Freedom" (Morrison 163), but she goes even further by stating that it is "The only real freedom there is" (Morrison 163). Morrison grows this theme throughout the novel as she reveals through different characters: Pilate and Macon Dead III that in fact there is nothing they can do to be freed in life without money -- Pilate expressed the idea of freedom with money as she was hired as a washer-woman for 10 cents a day... and she saved her dimes" (Morrison 145) -- Macon (Milkman) not only lived under his money tree as "he went back into his father's office, got some cash out of the safe, and wrote Hagar a nice letter which ended" (Morrison 99) their meetings, but also later as he needed money to "live on his own," something that "everybody" (Morrison 163) around him had accomplished. For Morrison's characters, stuck in racial oppression, working for money acted as the only viable way of earning freedom in life, be it as moving on, or moving forward. The tone that Toni carries as she reveals the theme "money is freedom" in Song of Solomon is quite depressed, as she also reveals the difficulty that attaining freedom is, for colored skinned people in the era.