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Song of Solomon - A powerful and intricate novel

Uploaded by Gotskillz on May 22, 2005

Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon captures the reader with its first sentence. While a beautifully written story, it is one with which the reader must be prepared to invest some time. Morrison makes her reader dig past the literal meaning to find the figurative because the novel is about much more than what the surface shows. Her prose contains layered meanings that at times can be difficult to grasp due to Morrison's intricate phrasing. Song of Solomon, written in 1977, depicts a divided African American family living in northern Michigan during the 1930's. As with many of her novels, Song of Solomon hits at heavy themes. Within the novel Morrison touches on issues including race, gender, geography, age, the importance of family origins, and the value of human life. With this novel Morrison's aim was to make the reader think about the value and worth of another person's life.

The novel begins outside of a residential hospital, with a man preparing to jump off the building, and women struggling to give birth on the steps below. "The next day a colored baby was born inside Mercy for the first time" (9), this colored child is the main character Macon Dead, nicknamed Milkman. Next, the reader meets the other characters in the novel, including Milkman's mother, father, sisters, aunt, and his close friend Guitar. Milkman's relationship with each of this character is essential to shaping the novel's themes. Although the novel is centered on Milkman, his story is created by the lives of those around him. Through out the novel Milkman struggles to find meaning in his life. He says, "Everybody wants something from me, you know what I mean?...Something they think I got. I don't know what it is-I mean what it is they really want" (222). Milkman's effort to find that `something' takes him in many directions, the most important of these being a journey, in an effort to prove himself in the eyes of his friend and father, in search of stolen gold. What began as lust for money and power turns into something much more for Milkman. On this particular journey he is forced to re-evaluate his life, "They were troublesome thoughts, but they wouldn't go away...his self--the cocoon that was "personality"-gave way...so the thoughts came, unobstructed" (277). The end of this journey brings understanding, and change not only to Milkman, but to all those connected to...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   05/22/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (925 words)

Views:   7109

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