Fight for Freedom in Toni Morrison's The Song of Solomon

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Fight for Freedom in Toni Morrison's The Song of Solomon


"The scream that boomed down the cave tunnel and woke the bats came just when Macon thought that he had taken his last living breath. The bleeding man turned toward the direction of the scream and looked at the colored girl long enough for Macon to pull out his knife and bring it down the old man's back. He crashed forward, then turned his head to look at them. His mouth moved and he mumbles something that sounds like 'What for?' Macon stabbed him again and again until he stopped moving his mouth, stop trying to talk and stopped jumping and twitching on the ground" (pg. 171). This is an excerpt for the novel The Song of Solomon (1987), by Toni Morrison. Macon one of the main characters, only a child at the time, kills a man whom he thinks is threatening him and his sister's, Pilate, life. After killing the man the two children travel to the man's camp where they discover three bags of gold. Macon also sees, " the dusty boots of his farther" (pg 170). Becoming alarmed, Pilate says, "It is Papa!". To her cry a voice whispers 'sing, sing'. Macon greedily packs up the gold while Pilate searchers frantically for their farther. After a terrible fight the two separate. Ironically years later they end up living in the same small Michigan town. Macon and Pilate hate and their family secret all the while still grows in differnt directions. Macon moves on with his life and marries Ruth. The couple have three children, Lean, First Corinthians, and Macon who receives the nickname of Milkman.

Milkman being interested in Pilate granddaughter, spends a great deal of his childhood at Pilate's house--despite his fathers disapproval. After living at home for the past thirty years Milkman becomes swamped with his family secret. His farther claims that Pilate stole the gold from the man his killed camp sight. And Pilate claims the bag of her 'inheritance' only to be bones. Becoming frustrated, Milkman sets out to find the truth of his family fude. Toni Morrison's mystery novel keeps the readers curiosity,as she write her storyline about the lifestyle of a black society in the 1980's. Within this black society, the people are pursuing their freedom. Toni theme of her novel is freedom, and each character can only obtain their freedom by one of two paths.

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Those who pursue it through wealth are darkened with a crul heart, while those who seek it though family and community is rewarded with joy and success.

Guitar is is the first example. From the being Guitar searched for belonging. His farther, "got sliced up in a sawmill, " (pg. 61) so he was raised by his grandma. Trying to fit in socially, Guitar is never accepted. He even joins a murder's club, the Seventh Day, to try to fit in. Wither Guitar is black or white, he believes that money will grant him his freedom, even if that means killing his best friend for it. Guitars greediness is
really exposed when he accuses Milkman for, "took[ing} the gold" (pg.295). Guitar than begins to hunt Milkman. Striving to take his life. Guitar's evil character becomes apparent becuase of his thirst for wealth. Unfortuntly instead of the freedom that he seeks, he only is mislead into killing and suffereing.

The second example is Macon, Milkman's father. Macon is driven by idea that, "Money is freedom, its the only real freedom there is"(pg. 163). Owning most of the town Macon uses his wealth to make himself free from the racial world. After believing that the bag his sister Pilate posses is full of gold his greediness sets in. "He turned to his son full faced and licked his lips. 'Macon[Milkman] get it and you can have half of it; go wherever you want. Get it. For both of us. Please get it, son. Get the gold" (pg. 172). The only real freedom Macon seeks, has turned him into a selfish and evil character.

The last example is Milkman. Milkman seeks his family and community. After being told the many different stories of the family secret, he sets out to find the truth. His ceriousity is first sparked when his mother talks to
him. " I know he never told you that he killed my father, " she contined, "and that he tried to kill you" (pg. 124). Trying not to believe his farther is a murder, Macon listens to Pilate when she tells him the story of her 'inhertance'. The bag she posses, is not gold like Macon believes, but the bones of the man that he murdered. Milkman leaves the town of Michagan and travels in search of his family history. He mets up with Susan Byrd, and learns the story of Solomon leap, solving the puzzle to his search for family.

Milkman freedom is obtained once he learns that his father really is a murder. The man that his farther stabed over and over again, was indeed his grandfarther. Pilate had carried her farther's bones, only waiting for a proper barrial. Solving the family puzzle set Milkman's sole free. He had just like his grandfarther, " surrendered to the air," believeing that, "[he] can ride it."



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