Theme Of Love In Toni Morrison's 1977 Song Of Solomon

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Society often views love as a beautiful concept, a power that can overcome all other conflicts. However, as romanticized as love is, the expectations of all the benefits one could gain from it are far from the reality. Toni Morrison’s 1977 Song of Solomon discusses the foundations of love through the perspective of the main character, Macon “Milkman” Dead, in such a way that undermines the traditional views readers may have. Morrison’s use of love as a motif throughout her novel reveals her message that love doesn’t always reap outstanding rewards, challenging the societal view that grandeur benefits will always arise from loving.
At first glance, several of the characters Morrison develops appear to conform to society’s expectations of love. Pilate, Milkman’s aunt,
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Pilate grew up without much parental support, but the fact that this lack of meaningful relationships did not cause her “real misery” emphasizes just how much she cares about her daughters.The immeasurable love Pilate has for her daughter greatly contrasts the nearly invisible feelings Milkman has for his own close family, yet it would lead one to believe that she would at least gain something over Milkman for her selflessness. Indeed, this selflessness is brought up once again at the climax of the book as Pilate lays dying in Milkman’s arms, telling him to, “watch Reba for [her]”, then adding on, “I wish I’d a knowed more people. I would of loved ‘em all,” as if it was an afterthought (Morrison 336). Even as she lay dying, Pilate’s thoughts are elsewhere, concerning the welfare of her only remaining daughter, instead of acknowledging her own physical state. A majority of society would agree that these numerous acts of selflessness would justify a reward or salvation; yet in this case, Pilate simply

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