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Guitar and The Seven Days Essay

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Perhaps Guitar Bains’ defining characteristic is his firm sense of justice. From the beginning of the novel he demonstrates his devotion to morality. Guitar speaks to Milkman about a fight between Milkman and his father, he expresses the feelings of guilt he had after killing a doe: “When I got up to it…I saw it was a doe. Not a young one; she was old, but she was still a doe. I felt… bad. You know what I mean? I killed a doe. A doe, man” (Song of Solomon, 85). Guitar feels that it is wrong for the strong to fight the weak, whether be it Macon Dead striking Milkman’s mother or Guitar shooting a doe. Milkman’s sense of justice and his distain of the Caucasian race find their roots in his father’s death. After Guitar’s father is cut in half in a workplace sawmill accident, the white sawmill owner gives his mother $40 dollars and the children candy as compensation. This demonstration of the low value many whites placed on African-Americans plants a seed of hatred in Guitar. He can’t even eat sweets without becoming sick with the thought of his father’s death, as he explains to Milkman: “Since my father got sliced up in a sawmill and his boss came by and gave us kids some candy” (Song of Solomon, 61). Although his sense of justice never truly decays, as the novel progresses it is twisted and poisoned by his hatred for white people and begins to manifest itself in a far more sinister way: Milkman belongs to an organization named The Seven Days, which kills white men and women in retaliation for the often unpunished killing of blacks. “I suppose you know that white people kill black people from time to time…I had to do something. And the only thing left to do is balance it; keep things on an even keel…There is a society....


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...rotect residents from acts of police brutality,” at times resorting to violence in order to achieve their goal (Brittanica). Additionally, Morrison clearly models Guitar after Malcom X. Not only do they share similar ideals, but even share the same birth year and state of origin. Earlier in life, Malcom X did not support integration of black and white society, rather supporting the idea of black supremacy and separation. Guitar’s belief that white people are unnatural and evil parallels Malcom X’s early stances. Guitar and The Seven Days are Morrison’s reminder that violence and revenge are never appropriate responses. Guitar begins as a likeable and essentially good character, but falls from morality and allows hate to consume him. Though the reader can sympathize with Guitar and understand the source of his hate, it is clear that what he is doing is wrong.



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