Song Of Solomon Interpretation


In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Milkman Dead becomes a man by learning to respect and to listen to women. In the first part of the novel, he emulates his father, by being deaf to women's wisdom and women's needs, and casually disrespecting the women he should most respect. He chooses to stray from his father's example and leaves town to obtain his inheritance and to become a self-defined man. From Circe, a witch figure, he is inspired to be reciprocal, and through his struggle for equality with men and then with women, he begins to find his inheritance, which is knowing what it is to fly, not gold. At the end, he acts with kindness and reciprocity with Pilate, learning from her wisdom ...

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he cannot act independently (120). The first lesson his father teaches him is that ownership is everything, and that women's knowledge (specifically, Pilate's knowledge) is not useful "in this world" (55). He is blind to the Pilate's wisdom. When Pilate tell Reba's lover that women's love is to be respected, he learns nothing (94).
In the same episode, he begins his incestuous affair with Hagar, leaving her 14 years later when his desire for her wanes. Milkman's experience with Hagar is analogous to his experience with his mother, and serves to "[stretch] his carefree boyhood out for thrifty-one years" (98). Hagar calls him into a room, unbuttons her blouse and smiles (92), just as his mother did (13). Milkman's desire for his mother's milk disappears before she stops milking him, and when Freddie discovers the situation and notes the inappropriateness, she is left without this comfort. Similarly, Milkman ends the affair with Hagar when he loses the desire for her and recognizes ...

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obtain the inheritance he feels will make him a man. At the end of part 1, his sister Magalene attempts to awaken his sensibilities to this through her diatribe on the effects of his blindness to his sisters' autonomy and their contributions to his well-being (215). He follows her advice, and leaves, not only her room, but the town and the identity he has been molded into by his father.
Milkman leaves to get the gold which he believes is his inheritance, feeling that this will allow him freedom from his family, which he equates with the freedom to at last become a man. He tells Guitar, "I don't want to be my old man's office boy no more" (221-2). His fruitless attempt to gain his ...

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Added: 7/28/2005 10:22:03 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1672
Pages: 7

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