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The Byrd Family In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison uses the character traits and names of her characters to connect them to real human beings. Several of the characters from the book bear exact similarities to those of their counterparts. In the novel, Morrison displays the Byrd family as a racist family who Milkman is tangentially related to, the Butler family as an oppressive and murderous family that ultimately dies out, alone and listless, and Guitar as the exemplar of prominent black revolutionaries, namely Malcolm X. Through her usage of the Byrd family, the Butler family and the symbolism of Guitar’s character, Morrison blurs the line between what is real and what is so fantastic that it can only be discussed in a work of literature. Late in the novel, Milkman travels to Virginia, attempting to find his family. He meets with a woman named Susan Byrd who upon greeting him, is described having this reaction “She…show more content…
By articulating that oppression is deeply grounded through the usage of the Byrd family, demonstrating the incorrectness of these concepts by showing the vengeance wrought upon the Butler family, and displaying the lengths people will go to to break out of oppression, Morrison weaves a compelling arc of literature, grounded in fact. This model of fact-based fictional characters provides for a more compelling narrative and a demonstration about race. Morrison shows the reader about the racial struggles that Milkman and his contemporaries must face during the novel, however, she parallels this fictional story of race with an equally compelling real one, giving the reader a small part the story of race in the United States. This potent mirroring reinforces her points about these pivotal themes and characters for the duration of the
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