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Essay on Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

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In Morrison’s novel there is a lot of symbolism with in her characters especially one of the main characters Milkman. While milkman is technically an adult because of his age he retains a childlike persona due to his vanity, fear of responsibility, and his childhood friends. Milkman’s hesitance towards becoming an adult at the onset of this novel changes, through his quest for gold. He matured to an adult that takes responsibility, tries even when he knows that he will fail and surrenders his vanity.
Milkman retains a childlike trait, through his vanity, lack of responsibility, and refusal to leave the past. He always dreams of flying but finds that he has, “Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can’t nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down” (179). Morrison tries to show how conceded Milkman at the beginning of his quest for the gold; he is obsessed with material items and money proving that he will never symbolically fly. This vanity portrays Milkman in the light that of a child. Milkman is like a peacock he wants and has the beautiful tail however; while this tail is gorgeous this vanity weighs it down. At this point in time Milkman sees the gold as a way to help him fly and be free from his father, what he is unable to see is the one thing that he thinks will liberate him, is holding him captive. Milkman avoids responsibility at all costs, after hitting his father he saw, “Infinite possibilities and enormous responsibilities stretched out before him, but he was not prepared to take advantage of the former, or accept the burden of the latter” (68). After hitting his father he felt liberated, he was happy that he protected his mother; he was finally stand...


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...er whether his own soul would avenge Pilate or if Guitar’s soul would. Now for Milkman it was obvious the true meaning of flying. That flying was a great escape, but could not be obtained through material gain. That flying is not an inherent right that is deserved by all. To fly one must surrender the vanity and carelessness that fastens them to the ground. When Milkman stopped dreaming of flying he truly understood what it meant to ride the air.
Milkman is able to grow as an individual, and had matured into adulthood because of his pursuit for gold. Prior to his search he retained vanity, feared responsibility, and tried to remain in the past. Milkman’s ideas change when he meets a group of older men on his quest for gold. He is able to find his identity and grow up to a well-rounded person. Upon Milkman’s return he is a selfless, responsible, and caring man.





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