An Analysis Of Milkman's Song Of Solomon

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Is the abandonment of those you love worth the liberation of freedom and responsibility? The liberty to return home and leave behind obligation has its appeal. But, are these tasteless temptations worth deserting your posterity? In Song of Solomon, a young and wealthy African-American, the son of a greedy landlord, goes on a quest in search of his ancestral roots, which first began as a search for family gold. Milkman sets out to Shalimar, Virginia and learns about the “flight” of his great-grandfather, Solomon, who abandoned his family to fly back to Africa and escape slavery. During his expedition, Milkman witness’ the freedom of learning about familial roots through the “flights” of Solomon, Pilate, his aunt, and in the end, learns how to…show more content…
Due to an unloving household, Ruth, Milkman’s mother breastfed him longer than usual, thinking this was the only way to keep them connected and thus allowing someone to pay attention to her. During one of their daily breastfeeding, Freddie, the town messenger, oversees one the encounter and says, “He’d found the phrase he’d been searching for. “A milkman. That’s what you got here, Miss. Rufie. A natural milkman if ever I seen one. Look out, womens. Here he come. Huh!” To start, Macon Jr., also known as Milkman, still being breastfeed at four years old is entirely eerie, granted a normal time frame to breastfeed is six months. Without knowing it, the nickname of Milkman became embedded into Macon Jr’s life. The literal implication of “Milkman” is a person who delivers milk to peoples houses. However, in this sense, Milkman is nicknamed based off of an experience is did not know was happening. Due to his demeanor, Freddie sexualizes the act he saw and portrays this to the rest of the community. “Natural,” stemming from the Latin word natus, meaning birth, gives the undertones of a trivial or rudimentary deed, similar to the basic instinct of breastfeeding. Without being old enough to know…show more content…
Returning from his escapade, Milkman, with his newfound information, reads road signs with interest, a far cry from his reaction to the community when he arrived. He began to think of how many people have died without anybody truly knowing their name and says, “Names had meaning. No wonder Pilate put hers in her ear. When you know your name, you should hang onto it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you do” (329). Although, Pilate’s name has biblical undertones, she is the exact opposite of her namesake. Names provide a means of identity and self-worth, allowing people to create a sense of individuality. Even-though, her name name has negative religious connotations, Pilate embraces her name because it allows her to free herself from the constraints of societal norms. She is able to become her own person and truly find herself in the world. Pilate keeps her name in her ear, so she is able to pass on her character to her kin. Finally, to not allow her name to “die” when she does, Pilate creates an unforgettable essence for her to be remembered by. Talking to Macon, Milkman’s father, Pilate tells how she went back to the cave where Macon and she killed a hunter three years later, to collect his bones and carry them for repentance. She
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