Preview
Preview

Essay on Individual Verses Society in Song of Solomon

No Works Cited
Length: 1100 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Individual Verses Society in Song of Solomon

 
Toni Morrision's novel "Song of Solomon" contrasts the image of a self-made individual with that of an individual who is the product of his or her society. Since society changes, the man who simply reflects his social environment changes accordingly. But “the true individual's self-discovery depends on achieving consciousness of one's own nature and identity”(Middleton 81). This is what differentiates Pilate and Milkman from Macon and Guitar.  There are direct similarities between Milkman's and Pilate's self-discovery. They both achieve their individualistic spirit through travel, literal and symbolic. Not so for Guitar and Macon Dead jr. “Where Pilate's and Milkman's self-discovery is a journey of individuals, Guitar and Macon Dead Jr.are defined and determined by the kind of society they belong to”(Davis 225).

 

            Milkman is the protagonist of the novel and also the embodiment of Morrison's notion of individual self-discovery.  Throughout his life Milkman is pulled in all directions by the people around him. His father wants him to work with him, his mother wants him to go to medical school, Hagar wants a serious relationship, Guitar wants him to accept the Seven Days. Milkman rejects all of these options and drifts away from those who want to direct his life. Milkman gains his self-awareness after he leaves Southside and travels to Shalimar. The journey through Danville profoundly changes him. He looses or damages all of his material possessions before he leaves Danville. “Milkman is symbolically stripped of all of the things that connect him to his life in Southside”(Davis 225). However, it is in Shalimar that he undergoes spiritual growth and gains se...


... middle of paper ...


...dividual struggles for self-definition and self awareness is connected to the discovery of their heritage, their ancestors and their culture. Ultimately Milkman's flight is the discovery of his connection with his ancestry. Toni Morrison believes that individuality without community leads to egotism. But community without individuality is a community without a spirit. Guitar and Macon are conditioned by society. Pilate and Milkman are inspired by community. “Milkman's flight is not a flight away from responsibility it is a flight into true consciousness”(Middleton 113).

 

Works Cited:

Davis, Cynthia A. "Self, Society, and Myth in Toni Morrison's Fiction." Contemporary Literature 23.3 (1982)

Middleton, David. Toni Morrison's Fiction: Contemporary Criticism. New York: Garland, 1997.

Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: The Penguin Group, 1997.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Literacy in Song of Solomon - Literacy in Song of Solomon   Through literacy will come emancipation. But emancipation comes in many forms, as does literacy. The various aspects of academic literacy are rather obvious in relation to emancipation, especially when one is confronted with exclusion from membership in the dominant culture. Most, but not all, of Toni Morrison's characters in Song of Solomon appear to have attained at least a modicum of literacy. But what part does literacy play in the advancement of the individual, and to what lengths will one go to achieve it....   [tags: Song Solomon essays] 918 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Names in Song of Solomon - The Importance of Names in Song of Solomon      Abstract:  In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, names have great implication.  Language is extremely personal and deeply rooted in culture.  Names are an integral part of language, and they help to establish identity, define personality, and show ownership through formal and informal usage.   " 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; / Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. / What's Montague. it is nor hand, nor foot, / Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part / Belonging to a man.  O, be some other name....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1481 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Song of Solomon Essay: Theme of Maturing - Theme of Maturing in Song of Solomon   While Song of Solomon is generally seen as a myth of the male maturation, it also contains the subtext of Pilate's rite de passage and the ritual of cultural immersion. In her history is the process by which she acquires the values that will sustain Milkman and by extension, the black community. Pilate's initiation occurs much earlier than Milkman's. Having been raised in relative isolation in the edenic Lincoln's Heaven, Pilate is abruptly and cruelly cast out as an orphan into the greater reality....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
512 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Personal Freedom Song of Solomon - Search for Personal Freedom Song of Solomon       Personal freedom is the ability to ignore societal and familial influences to find the true sense of self. Individuals are truly liberated when they are physically, mentally, and spiritually free. The search for personal freedom is exemplified in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. The main protagonist, Milkman achieves personal freedom through attainment of knowledge, by confronting his family, and by overcoming the prejudices of society.   Knowledge is a primary factor in the attainment of personal freedom....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1618 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Throughout Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison - Throughout Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison takes the reader on an adventure. Her exquisite writing techniques allow the characters to develop in a manner that is unique yet impactful on the other characters in the story. Morrison uses certain personalities and experiences of characters to represent the generations of African-Americans post slave society. The difference in values and behavior is apparent especially between two characters. Although Milkman and Macon Dead are completely distinct individuals, Morrison uses particular writing techniques to demonstrate how each character influences is each other along with developing their unique journeys as African-American men in the early 1900s...   [tags: adventure, personalities] 674 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Song Of Solomon - The novel Song of Solomon has several recurring themes, including that of sexuality. Morrison effectively demonstrates these sexual themes relating to both sexes. Unlike in her other novels, both the men and women are “searching for love, for valid sexual encounters, and above all, for a sense that they are worthy.”(Bakerman 318) While Song of Solomon gives men a more prominent place, Morrison also shows the desires of women to break away from established society and to create an individualistic life....   [tags: essays research papers] 849 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Search for Freedom in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Song of Solomon, and Push - Search for Freedom in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Song of Solomon, and Push     Many minority authors write about an individual's search for self which culminates in the realization of personal freedom. This has been an important theme in African-American literature beginning with the slave narratives to modern poetry and prose. The concept of freedom has a myriad of meanings which encompasses national political liberty to an individual's own personal freedom. Personal freedom is the ability to ignore societal and familial influences to find the true sense of self....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
3029 words
(8.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The African-American Nightmare Exposed in Black Literature Essay - African-American Nightmare Exposed in Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Song of Solomon, and Push   The American Dream was founded on the concept that "all men are created equal"(Jefferson 729) and that everyone has the capability and resources to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." The Declaration of Independence was written so Americans could achieve this dream, but was not written with the African slave in mind. The African slave was never intended to be a part of this American Dream, therefore, not capable of obtaining it....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2233 words
(6.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Song of Solomon: The Names of a Society - Song of Solomon: The Names of a Society   Think of a time when the black society was still getting used to the word freedom and the white society hated the thought of it. The book Song of Solomon, written by Toni Morrison in 1977, takes place in Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. The book emphasizes the racial and social tensions between blacks and whites between the 1930s and the 1960s. The Dead family goes through many phases of self-discovery throughout the story. In an effort to hide his southern, working class roots, Macon Dead, an upper-class northern black businessman tries to insulate his family from the danger and despair of the rank and file blacks with whom he shares the...   [tags: Song Solomon essays] 1160 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon - Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O Sugarman done fly away Sugarman done gone Sugarman cut across the sky Sugarman gone home......   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2134 words
(6.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]