Song of Solomon, by: Toni Morrison I. Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Woofed in 1931. She was born in Loraine, Ohio to an African-American working class family. She always had an interest in literature, and studied humanities at Howard and Cornell universities. She began her career as a novelist in 1970, gaining attention from literary critics and readers for her poetic, expressive descriptions of the Black community in America. She has been honored with numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and the Nobel Prize in literature in 1993, which she was the first black woman to receive.
Morrison own life influenced the novel Song of Solomon through both her personal and historic experiences. She grew up in the mid-1 9005, a time when the civil rights movement was occurring, during which racism and segregation were common. The book centers around these events, and allows readers of all races to gain insight as to what life was like for an African-American of that time period. She also introduces black cultural ideas throughout the book, enhancing the readers ability to understand black America.
Morrison effectively translates her own experiences with racial discrimination into this universal novel so that readers may better understand the viewpoint and culture of African-Americans, specifically during the sass and sass. On a personal level, Morrison modeled the character of Macon Dead after her grandfather, the character of Heady after her great-grandmother, and Guitar after a mixture of her family and friends. II. Song of Solomon takes place during the sass and sass, though it includes flashbacks that date back to the late sass.
The action occurs in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The setting of this novel is important because during that time period, African-Americans were criminate against. The majority of the book’s events center around the concept of racism, a significant issue during the mid-1 sass. In order to fully understand the actions of characters and occurrences within this work, one must recognize the segregation that existed during that era. II. A. A major theme expressed in Song of Solomon is flight as a way of escape from constraint, and the abandonment of others through this decampment. . Mister Smith, an insurance agent, decides to fly from the Mercy hospital building in an attempt to escape his life’s hardships and writes a note saying, ill take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings. Please forgive me. Loved you all” (Morrison 4). 2. Milkman plans his escape from the confinement Of his family and friends to go on a search for his own identity and explains to Guitar, ” I just know tall wanton live my own life. Don’t want to be my old man’s office boy no more… Hager wants me chained to her bed or dead.
Everyone wants something from me, you know what I mean? Something they think they can’t get anywhere else. Something they think I got” (Morrison 222). 3. Susan Byrd describes to Milkman how his great-grandfather flew from his own of Slammer back to Africa in order to escape slavery, leaving his wife and family behind: “He was flying. He flew. You know, just like a bird. Just stood up in the fields one day, ran up some hill, spun around a couple of times, and was lifted up in the air. Went right on back to wherever it was he came from” (Morrison 323). B.
The title Song of Solomon is significant because it defines a song in the novel that describes Milkman Deed’s family history, emphasizing further his quest for self discovery and knowledge of his heritage. 1 . The first time the song about Solomon, Milkman’s great-grandfather, appears in the story is when he hears Pilate and Rebate singing it; however the name Solomon is wrongly translated by them and is sung as Sugarcane instead: “O Sugarcane don’t leave me here/Cotton balls to choke me/O Sugarcane don’t leave me here/Buckram’s arms to yoke me” (Morrison 49). . The second clue Milkman receives about his heritage is through children singing and playing a game in a little town called Slammer, where his ancestors were from. Their song is the “song of Solomon” and describes Milkman’s grandfather and great-grandfather: “Jay the only son of Solomon/ Come baobab Yale, come baobab tamable/Whirl about and touch the sun/ Come baobab Yale, come baobab tamable” (Morrison 264). 3.
Milkman comes to a full realization of what the song of Solomon means, and tells his girl friend Sweet about how Solomon flew home to Africa from Slammer saying, “He left everybody down on the ground and he sailed on off like a black eagle. ‘0-0-0-o-o-o Solomon done fly, Solomon done gone/ Solomon cut across the sky, Solomon gone home! ‘” (Morrison 328-329). IV. Song of Solomon , by Toni Morrison, examines the human condition of mating freedom through the character of Milkman Dead.
As humans, one’s nature is to hunger for independence and the ability to do as one wishes freely without anyone or anything stopping them from doing so. In this novel, Milkman is restrained by his family and friends, leading a very controlled, sheltered life. Naturally, he longs to liberate himself from these influences and to go out on his own to discover himself. After his father reveals to him bad secrets about his mother, Milkman becomes overwhelmed and tired of everyone relying on him: “Above all he wanted to escape what he knew, escape the implications of what he had been told.
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