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Song of Solomon - A Rediscovery Of The Power Within

Uploaded by Gotskillz on May 22, 2005

Song of Solomon, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison's lyrically written third novel begins with a captivating scene: a man on a roof threatening to "fly," a woman standing on the ground, singing and another woman entering labor. The child born of that labor is Macon "Milkman" Dead III; Song of Solomon is the story of his lifetime journey towards an understanding to his own identity and ancestry.
The Deads are typical examples of Morrison's view of the patriarchal nuclear family and Milkman grows up burdened with the materialistic values of his father and the weight of a racist society. He is a spoiled and self-centered man, driven only by his immediate sensual needs; he pursues money and sexual gratification at all costs.

Much of the novel centers around Milkman's quest for a lost bag of gold allegedly taken from a man who was involved in his grandfather's murder. This search for gold takes Milkman, and his friend, Guitar, a young, black militant, from Michigan to the town of Shalimar, Virginia, a town named for Milkman's grandfather, Solomon, who, according to legend, escaped slavery by literally flying back to Africa on the wind, launching himself from a cotton field and leaving behind his wife and twenty-one children.

Often seen as a myth of male maturation, Song of Solomon also contains the subtext of Milkman's sister, Pilate's rite de passage. Her history embodies the process by which she acquires the very values that will sustain, not only Milkman but the entire black community.

Pilate definitely introduces a quality of enchantment to the book and the circumstances of her birth make her a character of almost mythic proportion. She delivered herself at birth and was born without a navel, something that isolates her from society. Her resulting self-sufficiency and ostracization, however, are the very things that prevent her from being destroyed by the decaying values that threaten her brother's life.

Milkman's belief that his quest south holds the key to his liberation is correct, however it is not the gold that saves him but something deeper, something rooted in the communal and mythical values of his ancestry.

In telling the story of Milkman's quest, Morrison expertly weaves together elements of myth, magic and folklore. The significant silences and the stunning absences in Song of Solomon (and Morrison's other novels) are both profoundly political and stylistically crucial.

Morrison, herself, describes her work as containing "holes and spaces...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   05/22/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (733 words)

Views:   8050

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