Analysis Of Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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The desire to escape can be overwhelming. Such desires are present in the common African American folklore about “the flying Africans”, where a select few enslaved Africans are able to escape from slavery through their ability to fly. Escapist desires such as those are also present in Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon. Morrison’s, Song of Solomon, follows the path of one such family of “flying Africans” as they discover their family history and their abilities of flight. She utilizes the motif of flight to prove man’s escapist desires in regards to the avoidance of responsibility, abandonment of women and freedom from burdens of racial inequality. By employing rhetorical devices, Morrison demonstrates man’s desire to leave behind responsibility…show more content…
As Milkman reflects upon his relationship with Hagar, he muses, “He wasn’t sure he wanted to keep it up. Keep up the whole business of ‘going with’ Hagar (...) Everybody who knew him knew about Hagar, but she was considered his private honey pot, not a real or legitimate girl friend,” (Morrison 91). By comparing Hagar to a honey pot, Milkman objectifies Hagar by taking away her human qualities and turning her into a resource. In his use of the word “private”, Milkman further demonstrates his possessiveness over Hagar, displaying his ownership while dehumanizing her. When Milkman describes dating Hagar as “business”, he creates a sense of professionalism in their relationship, which is almost purely based on sexual fulfilment. In this language, Milkman creates transactional imagery, implying prostitution, supplementing his idea that Hagar is an object rather than a person. When dehumanized, Hagar becomes a weight that Milkman feels his can drop at any time because she no longer holds any value in their relationship. The objectification and subsequent dehumanization of women such as Hagar, allows men to feel guiltless in their disposal of women because objects are not sentient and therefore cannot be effected by men’s decisions. These men feel the…show more content…
This impact is proven in the epigraph of the novel when Morrison writes, “The fathers may soar/ And the children may know their names” (epigraph). An allusion to the African-American story about slaves who escaped slavery through flight; Morrison utilizes this epigraph to demonstrate the impact that the “flying africans” leave on a community. She discusses how the fathers soar, which is a direct reference to the flying africans of folklore, but also is a reference to the novel and Solomon who left his family to escape slavery. The children knowing their father’s names is also a reference to the motif of children’s song in the novel, due to the fact that the children in the town of Shalimar sing about Solomon and his flight. The knowledge of names also brings in another integral theme of the story which is the power of names. In addition, the power of names and the lasting impact of flight is proven when Milkman thinks about the songs that children sing in Shalimar as well as the names of the stores and people in the town, Milkman reflects, “Everybody in this town is named Solomon, he thought wearily. Solomon’s General Store, Luther Solomon (no relation), Solomon’s Leap, and now the children were singing, ‘Solomon don’t leave me’ instead of ‘Sugarman’” (Morrison 302). The

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