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Essay on African-American American Nightmare in Song of Solomon

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American Dream or African-American American Nightmare

 
  The Declaration of Independence was written so Americans could achieve this dream, but the African slave was never intended to be a part of this American Dream. To the African-American, there were and still are many restrictions that go along with the American Dream.

 

In Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon, Macon Dead craved for the American Dream. He was in denial and believed that he could be just as successful as the white man. Macon desired to own everything, including people. Macon tells Milkman the following:

 

Let me tell you right now the one important thing you'll ever need to know:

Own things. And let things you own own things. Then you'll own yourself and other people too (Morrison 55).

 

Macon must have suffered from a memory loss because when his father acquired a house and land, he was blown five feet in the air. Was striving for the American Dream really worth dying for?

 

Striving for the American Dream ruined Macon's relationship with his family and his community. This is a perfect example of The Dream becoming the American Dream gone wrong or the American Nightmare. Macon lost his family while gaining property and "things."

 

Milkman's dream, on the other hand, was to become a man on his own terms not on his father's terms. He obtains his dream by finding his heritage and learning about his ancestors. Unfortunately, obtaining his dream ends in the ultimate dream, which is death.

 

Morrison's use of magic realism keeps the reader guessing what is real and what is imaginary. Milkman often had dreams or nightmares as a child:

 

He had had dreams as a child, dreams every child had of the w...


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...ll African-Americans ever obtain the American Dream? They still hope for it or it would not be a recurring theme in black literature. By making white Americans aware of black history and black plight, maybe one day African-Americans will be considered "true equals" in white society.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Hughes, Langston. "Dream Deferred". Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama & the Essay. 4th Edition, Published by McGraw Hill, 1998.

Jefferson, Thomas. The Declaration of Independence. 1776. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 4th ed. v.1,ed. Nina Baym et al (NY: Norton, 1994), 729.

King, Jr., Martin Luther. "I Have a Dream." A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Ed. J. M. Washington. Harper & Row, 1986. 217, 219.

Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: The Penguin Group, 1977.

 

 


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