Song Of Solomon: Milkman Dead - Respecting And Listening To Women



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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that
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 ...

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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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Song Of Solomon: Milkman Dead - Respecting And Listening To Women. (2005, May 27). Retrieved December 4, 2021, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Song-Solomon-Milkman-Dead-Respecting-Listening/27567
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"Song Of Solomon: Milkman Dead - Respecting And Listening To Women." Essayworld.com. May 27, 2005. Accessed December 4, 2021. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Song-Solomon-Milkman-Dead-Respecting-Listening/27567.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/27/2005 08:52:47 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1673
Pages: 7

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