Analysis Of Toni Morrison's The Song Of Solomon

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A situation an individual will commonly find themselves in is their expectation to live up to a standard imposed. However, this individual is often faced with the dilemma of being unable to achieve said standard due to some circumstance that limits their ability to attain it. As a result, an individual traps themselves in a vicious cycle of trying to live up to an impossible standard, only inflicting anguish and despair upon themselves as they fail to attain it. However, in Toni Morrison’s The Song of Solomon, escape from this situation is shown to be possible. The Dead family falls into the exact same predicament Morrison symbolizes the constraints imposed on the characters by their societal expectations, ultimately resulting in the desire…show more content…
Milkman’s vulnerability and sensitivity to the policeman’s touch exhibits his softness in the face of oppression as a direct result of his societal advantages. Milkman is unaware of the societal constraints that have been imposed his race because his wealth has always sheltered him from it. However, this changes when he himself is the victim. With the shelter provided by his wealth removed, Milkman is left helpless at the hands of discrimination. In addition, Milkman also realizes the racial constraints imposed on him by society. Despite his wealthy status, the policeman thinks of him as simply another black man, just another nameless target for discrimination. Essentially, to the white policeman, Milkman is not an individual. Societal expectations of African Americans reduce his identity to his skin color. Milkman is not arrested for doing anything wrong, but rather strictly due to his skin color. Due to the lack of reason behind his arrest, Milkman understands for the first time the unfair treatment as a result constraints imposed upon the African American community. This leads Milkman to attempt to free himself. Milkman’s attempts to gain financial independence through Pilate’s gold are…show more content…
Initially, Pilate is outcasted due to her physical disability. However, this disability is a result of the emotional isolation which she faces as a result of her masculine characteristics. Men who took her to bed “froze at the sight of that belly that looked like a back; became limp even” while “women whispered and shoved their children behind them” (Morrison 148). Pilate’s physical disability is a representation of her emotional isolation from society. Although she still lives within society, her inability to follow the conventions of society leave her emotionally isolated Pilate’s lack of a navel causes both men and women to see her as a freak. Due to everyone having a navel, society perceives her lack of one as outlandish and even terrifying, making her an outcast. Furthermore, shown by the lack of sexual attraction men towards have her, Pilate is perceived as unfeminine by society. However, Pilate is a still a woman and women are expected to act feminine. Similar to how people perceive her lack of a navel as outlandish, people also find Pilate’s lack of conformity to the feminine conventions of being equally as disturbing, highlighting Pilate’s emotional isolation. By being expected to follow normal societal conventions but exhibiting outlandish traits, Pilate is emotionally isolated from society. Constrained by the pressure to live up to societal
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