Song of Solomon Precis

Critical Analysis By Christina Imana

Milkman Is a Tragic Hero

In the novel, "Song of Solomon", Toni Morrison, distinguished African American author, suggests that the protagonist, Milkman, can be seen as a tragic hero as he works to lead a life with meaning which will ultimately end in tragedy as foreshadowed throughout the tale. Morrison illustrates this archetype by having Milkman possess the characteristics of a tragic hero as depicted by Aristotle, a noble stature ("You'll own it all"), an outstanding quality (how beautiful he is"), and unfortunately, a tragic flaw or hamartia of egotism ("I'm the one in trouble"). With the characteristics that Milkman embodies, Morrison portrays the idea of flawed character in her protagonist in order to bring forth an idea that readers can resonate with and use as a tool of foreshadowing. Morrison addresses her audience, impressionable teenagers, directly with the portrayal of Milkman because she gifts him with thoughts and feelings, although exaggerated at times, of that of a teenage who is still learning how the world operates and their role in all in a tone that is blunt and ambiguous as interpretation can vary from flighty teenager to flighty teenager.

Song of Solomon Chapter 9 Precis

Ginger Represents Freedom From Ties/Reality

In the novel, "Song of Solomon", Toni Morrison, famous American novelist, asserts that "the ginger smell was sharp, sharp enough to distort dreams and make the sleeper believe the things he hungered for were right at hand" which ultimately acts as a tool for the characters to act without thought or burden and break away from their constricting realities. (Morrison 185) Morrison conveys this idea, first in Milkman and the cat eyed man, as the Dead son and Guitar steal a meaningful sack from Pilate, they are both consumed by the ginger's effects of "complete power, total freedom, and perfect justice" (185); while in the same moment, a Dead daughter has gone against all that she has been taught as she goes to bed with a lowly man and "took deep breaths of the sweet air her brother had been inhaling three hours ago" (202) as another decides to not "make roses anymore"(216). By setting her characters free, Morrison allows readers to see another side of each character in order to foreshadow an event that might bound them once again and establish connections hinted previously. Ms. Morrison connects with an audience of men and women as she reveals the things that bound us and what happens when set free in a whimsical and dreamlike tone, although surrounded by heat references, that only makes readers aware that the dream might soon be over.

Song of Solomon: Chapter 11 Precis

The Hunting Trip Causes a Transformation and Represents Manhood

Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize, in her novel, "Song of Solomon", suggests that the hunting trip Milkman partakes in causes a transformation in our protagonist that allows him to finally become a man later on in life and feel "exhilarated by simply walking the Earth".(281) Morrison portrays this idea of a transformation as Milkman is described differently than previous chapters, sees the world as a place of purpose, and "all he had started out with on his journey was gone", which is symbolic to the burdens previously weighing on Macon being released from him. (277) By subjecting Macon to such a change, Miss Morrison creates a dynamic character that readers can relate to in order to demonstrate that although life had "maimed him, scarred him", Milkman can change as can anyone else.(278) With an insightful and forgiving tone, Morrison forces the audience to empathize with the once self-absorbed man and continue to follow him on his journey to self-discovery.

Chapter 15 Précis

Love Is Freedom

In the novel, "Song of Solomon", Toni Morrison, award winning novelist, rationalizes that although love can be "too heavy" at times and act as a burden in the lives of the characters, it also has the ability to free these same characters. Morrison asserts this idea of freeing love by contrasting characters who struggle under the weight of their emotions, such as Hagar and Ryna, who lose themselves in the search of honest love, and characters who reach a sense of unity within themselves once the love flows through them freely, such as Milkman, who not only loves himself but is grateful for those around him as well, and Pilate, whose final wish was to "a known more people [in order to]..loved more". (336) By showing such contrast, she establishes this theme in order to prove that love does not have to be a constricting act, but one that can set people free so that they can spread their wings and take flight. With a peaceful and knowing tone, Morrison informs her loyal audience of both men and women of the gift that is love and hopes that they see the freedom in it as Milkman has.