Song Of Solomon

Caroline Williams

Guitar compared to Kurtz

Toni Morrison author of Song of Solomon(1977), creates a character, Guitar, that establishes deception and greed which demonstrates similar characteristics as Kurtz from Heart of Darkness. Guitar manipulates helpless Milkman into believing his motivates belong to the right reasons instead of spite and hate "Guitar never said a word...he thought again of how Guitar had looked at Pilate-the jeweled hatred in his eyes."(207&210) , and also allows his actions to take control as money, power, and status become the main prize "Guitar could kill, would kill, and probably had killed" (210), just as Kurtz manipulated Marlow and others along his Congo journey to become the "successful" man he dreamed of becoming. Morrison utilizes the importance of the robbery in order to successful characterize and develop Guitar's character,"don't tell me it wasn't Guitar they was suspicious of... that yellow-eyed ni**er looks like he might do anything...those are the days... one of them Guitar" (207&211). Her assertive tone creates a juxtaposing atmosphere of mystery and assurance "she motioned towards Guitar, who sat there like marble eyes of a dead man." (207), such as the tone Conrad created to describe the power of command Kurtz established, but also his mysterious ways of leading and living.

Guitar as a killer

In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Morrison, winner of the nobel prize, suggests that Guitar forms an inability to separate his mission from the seven days with his murderous nature, "he had just enough time to raise one hand to his neck and catch the wire that fastened around his throat... your day has come." (279) Morrison highlights this assertion by foreshadowing clues that lead to Milkman's ultimate fate, "Just said to give you some good-luck message... your day was coming..." (262) Using these foreshadowing clues from earlier chapters and from Guitar's visit to the grocery store, Morrison creates a questioning of friendship in order to establish Guitar's purpose, "Guitar was here. Had asked for him. But why was he afraid?" (263) Milkman's moment of questioning who Guitar really was leads into a moment of realization for Milkman, "Where was he now?"(264), which strikes fear throughout Milkman.

Milkman abandoning his old life

In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Morrison asserts that Milkman's transformation into a new identity is complete and his previous actions leave him only with regret and remorse for his friends and family that he hurt along the way, "While he dreamt of flying, Hagar was dying." (332) This assertion becomes a reality as Milkman travels home from his quest from finding the gold, his family history, and himself, and transforms him into an even wiser young man, "What could it be, what else could he have done that would turn her against him? Something had happened to Hagar?"(332) Utilizing the previous assertion, we can assume a sense of questioning Milkman makes towards his past character to establish purpose for his new identity, "The cords of his neck tightened...he had hurt her, left her, and now she was dead." (332) This thought process creates a tension between the past, present, and future.