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Biblical Allusions In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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Toni Morrison frequently incorporates her familial background into her literary works. She is an African-American female author who was told African myths and folktales by her family members, who she credits for “instilling in her a love of reading, music and folklore” (“Toni Morrison”). Morrison is fully in touch with and appreciative of her ancestral background, and because of this, she reiterates these tales in her writings. In Song of Solomon, Morrison employs a wide variety of African cultural traditions and folklores to create a unique narrative regarding an African-American man’s quest for self-discovery and his true cultural identity, one that is absent from his current community. One of the most prominent African myths discussed…show more content…
The most obvious example of a biblical allusion is present in the title, Song of Solomon. In the bible, Solomon is a wealthy and wise king of Israel, and also the son of David (“Solomon”). The book of Solomon celebrates the sexual and loving nature of a relationship, specifically between King Solomon and his alluring black wife, a Shulamite woman (“Song of Songs”). Morrison’s novel also discusses love and relationships between some characters, such as Milkman and his girlfriend Hagar and his parents, which thus demonstrates how Morrison uses the bible to address common themes of life. Morrison presents biblical allusions through the names of her characters. Many of the characters in Song of Solomon are named after individuals in the bible, and Morrison does this in order to reveal a deeper understanding of the characters and their experiences in the novel. For example, the biblical Hagar is Abraham’s concubine Sarah’s handmaiden, and bearer of Abraham's first child who is later ostracized with her son and forced to leave due to Sarah’s jealousy and bitterness (“Hagar”). The Hagar in Song of Solomon has a somewhat similar experience. Her relationship with Milkman starts off strong, but the more she loves him, the more he just uses her to appease his sexual desires instead of establishing a strong, loving relationship with her. Milkman eventually grows out of his former feelings for Hagar, and then abandons her, leaving her distraught and heartbroken. The overarching theme of abuse towards women regarding their comparable experiences is what makes these women’s stories unique in both the bible and Song of Solomon (SparkNotes
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