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Essay on Song of Solomon

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Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon, encompasses many themes that were prevalent in the other novels written in the same time period. Morrison produced this novel in 1977 just as racial issues and discrimination were at its peaks. “She [Morrison] was the first African American to receive the Noble Prize in Literature.” (Milliman 5) However, the setting of the story is in the 1930s when World War II was taking place. The novel is based on an African-American family residing in Michigan who are victims of racism and social discrimination. The story focuses on Milkman Dead, the main character, who is naïve and leaves his family and friends behind to become an independent, wealthy upperclassman. “Milkman discovers the intricacies of his family’s heritage, a discovery that connects him to life and, ironically, simultaneously frees him from life.” (Prescott 8). Milkman starts and ends his journey with his family by overcoming obstacles in his path. Milkman realizes that his identity and race are important to know for his journey and enters a whole new world once he discovers his family’s history.
While Milkman was living at home with his mother and father, he felt as he did not receive the comfort of family as he should. Milkman’s father, Macon Jr., despises his wife and abuses her. Milkman does not stand for this and fights Macon Jr. for his mother, Ruth Foster Dead. Milkman begins to feel uncomfortable after Macon tells him that Ruth imbibed her father’s fingers after his death. Macon Jr. is selfish and greedy about becoming wealthy and drives his family to misery. Macon Jr. is who influences Milkman to go on his own and become wealthy. Milkman, at this point, is confused as to who he is. He does not know in which direction his li...


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The last few lines of the novel indicate all of the obstacles Milkman had to go through to achieve what he wanted on his journey. The journey is a symbol of Milkman being independent and being able to learn how to “fly” just like his great grandfather Solomon was able to. The time period in which Morrison wrote Song of Solomon was tough on racial issues. Having a prize winning novel written by an African American female was an accomplishment during that time as race and gender discrimination were prevalent among many communities.



Works Cited

Milliman, Craig A. "Song Of Solomon." Literary Criticisms, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 8 March 2012.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Knopf, 1977. Print.
Prescott, Jeryl J. "Song Of Solomon." Women’s Literature Series (1995): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Mar. 2012.


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