Unexpected breaches of trust are a recurring theme in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. For example, Milkman attempts to plunder Pilate’s house, despite his close connection with and adulation for her, to cater to his selfish desire for gold. Similarly, Guitar nearly murders Milkman due to his delusions and his own ambitions to obtain the gold. However, one instance of this idea is arguably the most prominent: Macon’s discovery of Dr. Foster’s foibles, and the incestuous relationship between Dr. Foster and Macon’s wife, Ruth. Through the drastic changes in Macon’s personality this leads to, this subplot demonstrates the effects of a betrayal of trust.
In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison utilizes the significance of religious names in the creation of her characters. However, Macon Dead is one of those with an exception. Named after his father in an unfortunate situation his name becomes both his identity and his lack of one. Macon recounts the story to Milkman of how his father was given his name, looking back upon his father in shame. The history of his past drives him to try and find a way to disconnect from it, both the memory of his father and his relationship with Pilate. The name ‘Macon Dead’ represents an inescapable part of his life, in which he recognizes the dissatisfaction it brought him and gives him motivation to change. He runs from everything his father and his sister are, becoming
Written by the great Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon is where the song of African- Americans is sung with the most genuine and sincere voice in utmost entirety. In this essay, the masterpiece will be examined with gender studies approach and cultural studies approach, the function of Pilate and Ruth would be examined in depth, the suggestion that the protagonist should be more loving and caring for others would be fully explained, and the value of this book will be carefully examined.
In the reading “Son” by Andrew Solomon, horizontal and vertical identities are compared and dissected through the lenses of society’s perceptions. A vertical identity is when “attributes and values are passed down from parent to child not only through DNA, but also through shared cultural norms”, while a horizontal identity is when “someone has an inherent or acquired trait that is foreign to his or her parents” (370). Solomon being a gay, dyslexic man brought up as an anti-Jew Jew, has well delved into the controversy of the ethics between what is considered an illness versus what is accepted as an identity.
Throughout literature, most novels incorporate an adventure and an exploration theme about the hero journeying to find their path. In the novel Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, it begins depicting Milkman as a feeble dependent character that relies on his friends and family for all of his needs. However, as the novel progresses the view of Milkman develops into an independent figure through a journey. Milkman’s personality and mindset shift as the purpose of the journey diverts away from gold and greed. He comes to realize what’s important in the world and begins exploring what really matters; his race, family’s homes, and identity in the world.
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.
“You remember what you want to forget and you forget what you want to remember,” (McCarthy 12). With most aspects of life, the horrendous moments are the times that no one can erase. This applied to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Towards the end of the novel when the son loses his father proves to be the most indelible moment with the assistance of the feelings experienced during that part. The son encounters a variety of emotions including loneliness, loss and hope. In enduring these complex emotions, this section was the most remarkable part.
Macon Dead III, commonly known as Milkman, is Ruth and Macon’s son. He is born the day when Mr. Robert Smith suicidal flies off the hospital’s roof and for that reason he is the first black baby born in the usual unmerciful, racist No Mercy Hospital in 1931. As the son of Ruth and Macon Dead, he is part of the upper black society in a wealthy, privileged family. Grown up under these circumstances, Milkman has a traumatized father since his father witnessed the murder of Jake, Macon’s father, trying to protect his land which is in the way of powerful white people as a young guy. Thereby, his family becomes “a victim of social violence and racism in the hostile south of the USA” and this event leaves a deep impression in Macon’s character (Gomez R. 118). So Macon had never experienced a happy childhood and since his mother died in childbirth, he has never had somebody caring for him. Consequently, Milkman grows up without a model father or loving husband.
Within society, materialism is often associated with success and prosperity. In the novel Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, there was a pattern of how even though the most successful characters were also the most materialistic, they were not always the happiest. Two characters that were at either end of the scale of materialism were Macon and Pilate. These very different lifestyles that Macon and Pilate lived, Macon being heavily materialistic and Pilate not at all, caused them to develop different attitudes that were influenced heavily by materialism. Through the analysis of the mystery of Pilate’s and Macon’s lifestyles, Morrison illustrates that materialism destroys people and prevents them from achieving freedom.
Hagar, Pilate, Macon Jr., and Guitar all vie for Milkman’s commitment pulling in him to achieve their goals for him. To Milkman, his life seems to lack an identity in which to base his life’s direction and purpose, “…trying to make up his mind whether to go forward or to turn back. The decision he made would be extremely important, but the way in which he made the decision would be careless, haphazard, and uninformed.” (Morrison, 69-70). Unwilling to commit himself to any one goal, Milkman rejects these options, choosing instead to continue his aimless drifting, cutting himself off from the people who care for him and the African-American community. Without familial ties and history, Milkman lacked the wisdom that comes with knowledge of the past, causing a disconnect between Milkman and his people. Milkman’s journey provides him with the answers to his identity problem allowing his family’s past to provide instruction, and protection, and a certain kind of wisdom necessary in finding his true self. Although Milkman must ultimately define himself, he is also defined by his relationships. He cannot learn these lessons in isolation but only within the context of the present community and relations of
Economic privileges generally blind people to the unfavorable social conditions of their community, as wealth is commonly used as a method of physical escape. As a result, many of those belonging to this socio economic strata continue to live under the illusions of an idealistic identity, as they fear to uncover a past that may disrupt their supposed utopian lifestyle. The rare amount of people who defy and challenge the blindness evoked by economic privileges are usually awarded with a mental awakening in which they will uncover a social purpose beyond the pursuit of materialistic wealth. In the Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison explores the social transition of Milkman, a privileged individual, through the use of a spiritual awakening. Due to
Your identity are the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make you who you are. Your identity helps you find your destiny in life. Without the knowledge of your identity your life will be incomplete. One of the main ways a person can find their identity is by finding out who their ancestors were and what was their purpose in life. Toni Morrison’s Milkman in “Song of Solomon” is a good example of how people can find their identity through their ancestry. Milkman was born into a sheltered, privileged life. He lacked compassion, wallows in self-pity, and he alienated himself from the African-American community. Eventually the discovery of his family history gave his life purpose.
In Song of Solomon, Morrison illustrates internalized racism through appearance, self-worth and love as important components of self-identity. The book Song of Solomon by Tori Morrison is about African Americans who search for their cultural identity. One of the main characters, Macon “Milkman” Dead is isolated from his family, his community, and his historical and cultural roots. His aunt, Pilate and his best friend, Guitar helps on his physical and spiritual journey to reconnect with his past and realize his self-worth. However, he is not the only character who has a hard time coping with her appearance and identity. Steve Marabli once said, “Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for