Song of Solomon Precis

Critical Analysis by Eunice Choi

Chapter 7

Guitar the Sunday Man

In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison, claims that Guitar's anger at whites and desire to free blacks from oppression may be justified on a psychological level especially growing up poverty-stricken and watching his mother accept money for her husband's dead body was instrumental in Guitar's growing dislike for whites. Morrison establishes by juxtaposing Pilate and Guitar together-- like Pilate, Guitar knows that if Milkman wants to fly, he must first relinquish his extra baggage, including his illusions of independence, his arrogance, and his materialistic values and Guitar tells Milkman "Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."(179)--thus Guitar shares Pilate's innate wisdom; however, he lacks the ability to make rational decisions and the wisdom to temper his knowledge with love which makes him unable to fly because he has not given up his own baggage that weighs him down, such as his hatred of whites. Using her personal opinion, Morrison uses an aggressive and strong tone through Milkman that Guitar's reasoning does not justify his actions, in order to prevent the audience to think that it is simply an act of revenge, when it is a serious crime to be a serial killer. Morrison speaks this message for both whites and blacks because she tries to show both perspectives and say that it is not right to kill.

Transformation of Lena and First Corinthians

In chapter 9 of Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize winner, asserts that Lena and Corinthian are usually classified as passive with no real life, and that they begin to revolt against the oppression in their own home--Corinthians takes a job as a maid to ensure her independence and ability to survive and also takes on a lover from a lower social class and Lena, on the other hand, confronts Milkman with what he was his whole life, someone who uses but does not give back. Lena claims that in one way or another, Milkman has been urinating on others his entire life, and that he is a “sad, pitiful, stupid, selfish, hateful man” without anything to show for himself except the “little hog’s gut” that hangs between his legs (215) and her decision to stop making fake roses suggests that she is no longer willing to live under false pretenses in the sense that the red imitation rose petals may signify false love. Morrison uses an eager and determined tone through Lena's rebuke towards Milkman to show the revolt of the novel's repressed female characters. Morrison intends this message to women in the audience and other abused, subjugated, or abandoned woman in the novel to show that women can have a major but yet important role in life.

Bildungsroman

In chapter 11, in Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison, displays to us a bildungsroman as she describes the maturation of Milkman after his baptism, finding himself in a completely unfamiliar place where his urban life experience is a handicap, where his father’s wealth cannot shield him from harm, where locals tend to dislike him. Milkman forces to re-evaluate his life--the spiritual and metaphorical transformation that Milkman experiences is intensified when he experiences his physical rebirth from Guitar’s attack on him as “he saw a burst of many-colored lights dancing before his eyes...When the music followed the colored lights, he knew he had just drawn the last sweet air left for him in the world.” The disappearance of the physical manifestations of Milkman’s deadness—the undersized leg and the limp that accompanies it—show that he has been cured of his alienation. Morrison uses a firm tone as she exhibits Milkman's new life as he "dies" and is reborn. He is no longer Dead.

Fly

In chapter 15, the theme of flight is exemplified in the novel, Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison as she shows Milkman, the protagonist, jump off of a cliff towards Guitar, and although the ending is left ambiguous, and it is not known if Milkman soars or simply crumbles to his death, it is only known that he attempts to "ride" the air. Thus, in Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison uses the unknown ending of this novel in conjunction with the ever-present theme of flying to emphasize the importance of Milkman's leap off of the cliff; it is not crucial to know if he soars or if he dies, but that he was able to reach such an understanding with his past as to be able to free himself and attempt to fly. Morrison applies a vibrant tone as she's finally set Milkman free-- he can fly without any limitations. She reaches out to the audience as a whole, everybody, to imply that everyone can fly, they just don't know how.