Song Of Solomon

  • Length: 1072 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

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

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document


From Beginning to End
     Toni Morrison begins her novel Song of Solomon in a very unconventional way. Instead of introducing a setting or characters, she retells an incident that without further reading is for the most part incomprehensible. As readers we notice later on in the story the references made throughout the book that relate back to the introductory pages. Some of the main themes such as oral traditions, naming, and especially flight are introduced in the first six pages and are further developed in a very similar format throughout the book.
     One of the outstanding themes, oral tradition, is used to retell events throughout the book in a manner consistent with the beginning. On the first page we are introduced to an insurance agent by the name of Robert Smith. We shortly thereafter learn that he will "fly" form the top of Mercy Hospital. On the Wednesday of his flight a group of fifty people gather around the building to witness this event. While waiting for his "flight" or jump a woman in a contralto voice begins to sing the words "O Sugarman done fly away/ Sugarman done gone/ Sugarman cut across the sky/ Sugarman gone home…"(6) This lady simply describes Robert Smith's flight "home" which we later learn is really him committing suicide. Much later on in the book Milkman is listening to a group of children singing "O Solomon done fly away/ Solomon done gone/ Solomon cut across the sky/ Solomon gone home."(3) In this song Sugarman, or Robert Smith, is replaced by Solomon, or the Great Grandfather of Milkman. The song describes his "flight" from Shalimar, his home town, and the events that happened after his "flight." In general, oral traditions are used in this book to retell past events for both our understanding and for the characters. They take the form of song, story, and fairy tale and are very important to the meaning of the story because they are a major medium of narration.
     Naming is utilized throughout the book for the purpose of creating identification and symbolism for the characters and places. On page four a brief description is given about the history of Mains Ave., or Not Doctor Street., as called by the Southside community. It is called Not Doctor Street. because a prominent black doctor had once lived there, and the people living there always referred to it as Doctor Street.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Song Of Solomon." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Jun 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=86641>.
Title Length Color Rating  
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]
The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon Essay example - The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon The character Pilate in Song of Solomon is portrayed in the role of a teacher or "guide". She tends to be a spiritual leader as well as a spiritual guide for Milkman and the rest of the society. It could be argued that she is the main cause of Milkman's liberation and better being. She represents the motherly love and gives the spiritual education that Milkman needs, in order to go through the monomyth process. She teaches Milkman the necessities of life not with severity but rather by means of being her own self....   [tags: Song Solomon essays] 811 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Flight in Song of Solomon - The Importance of Flight in Song of Solomon     Flight is a major theme in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. “Flight echoes throughout the story as a reward, as a hoped-for skill, as an escape, and as proof of intrinsic worth; however, by the end this is not so clear a proposition”(Lubiano 96). Song of Solomon ends with ‘flight’ but in such a way that the act allows for multiple interpretations: suicide; "real" flight and then a wheeling attack on his "brother"; or "real" flight and then some kind of encounter with the (possibly) killing arms of his brother....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
990 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong 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]
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]
The Double Minority in Song of Solomon Essay example - Typically minority groups are thought of in the context of race; however, a minority group can also consist of gender and class. The struggles facing a minority group complicate further when these different facets of minority categories are combined into what is sometimes called a double minority.  Throughout their writing, African American women have exposed how being a double minority changes the conditions of being a minority. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the African American female characters demonstrate the impact of having a double minority status....   [tags: Song of Solomon Essays] 829 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Minorities in Song of Solomon - Minorities within Minorities in Song of Solomon   In a study about minorities, the groups that are differing from the dominant culture are seen as homogeneous. But, if we look deeper into the groups, we can see that there are distinctions among the minorities concerning lifestyle and social status. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon the author provides examples in the background of the story that shows people with differential identities of the general identity of the minority group.   The character Macon Dead and his family is represented as differing from the society they live in with their social status....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1015 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Control in Song of Solomon - Fight for Control in Song of Solomon     The idea of complete independence and indifference to the surrounding world, symbolized by flying, stands as a prominent concept throughout Toni Morrison's novel Song of Solomon. However, the main character Milkman feels that this freedom lies beyond his reach; he cannot escape the demands of his family and feel fulfilled at the same time. As Milkman's best friend Guitar says through the novel, "Everybody wants a black man's life," a statement Milkman easily relates to while seeking escape from his sheltered life at home....   [tags: Song Solomon essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1022 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Emmett Till and Song of Solomon Essay - Emmett Till was only fourteen in the 1950s when he was brutally murdered in a Mississippi town. Two men were accused of the murder. Many of the racial issues that went on in the Till murder and the court case also were portrayed in Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon. Emmett Till's life was somewhat the same as a typical African American with all the prejudice he had to face. At the time newspapers, both black and white owned, had different ways of looking at the murder, and such differences in views form a structure for Morrison to use Till's life to portray Macon Dead's life in a racist society....   [tags: Song of Solomon Essays] 853 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Flight in Song of Solomon - Theme of Flight in Song of Solomon   Clearly, the significant silences and the stunning absences throughout Morrison's texts become profoundly political as well as stylistically crucial. Morrison describes her own work as containing "holes and spaces so the reader can come into it" (Tate 125), testament to her rejection of theories that privilege j the author over the reader. Morrison disdains such hierarchies in which the reader as participant in the text is ignored: "My writing expects, demands participatory reading, and I think that is what literature is supposed to do....   [tags: Song Solomon Toni Morrison essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1580 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches




When the local council discovered this, they preoccupied themselves with the enforcement of the street's proper name. A sign was created which said "had always been and would always be known as Mains Avenue and not Doctor Street.(4)" And so it was called Not Doctor Street. The whole scenario was due to a small misunderstanding between the back and white populations of the community. A similar event occurred to Macon Dead's father, also known as Macon. While registering at the Freedmen's Bureau, he was helped by a "drunken Yankee," and we are told of his inaccurate recording of Macon's information. "A literal slip of the pen&#8230;as Milkman Dead." Here, as Jake was giving his name, and the "Yankee" wrote down the incorrect information and thus created for a different identification. This was done in a similar manner as the naming of the street. It is clear that there is a gap in communication between the black and white community and this can be seen in many places in the book
     Perhaps the most outstanding theme in the story is flight. It is used in both the introduction and the rest of the novel as a symbol for freedom. As described earlier, Robert Smith's jump, or flight however it is interpreted, is a result of his feelings towards a small group of men known as the "Seven Days." This group consists of seven men, one for each day of the week, who imitate crimes committed by white men towards black people. Crimes are replicated by the person belonging to the day the original was committed. Robert Smith was a member of the group for a while. Since no one knew this it was anyone's guess as to why he was committing suicide, but as it was revealed to the reader and it is understood that his purpose for suicide was to escape this group, because of the mental stress it had caused him. To free him himself from the agony he chose "flight" as a method of achieving freedom. A similar event occurs at the end of the book to the main character, Milkman. Milkman returns to Virginia with his aunt, where she is killed by his best friend at the top of a mountain. He jumps of the cliff towards his aunt's assailant, and although it is not clear whether he truly can fly or is just leaping to his death, either form would justify a meaning of freedom from his current life of hatred and misunderstanding in his family to a better one of detachment from it. Thus, we can again see how the beginning clearly relates to the rest of the novel, this time in a very similar format, in terms of the physical aspect - suicide or flight - and the mental aspect - reasons for committing the act -.
     Clearly through these examples we can see how effectively Toni Morrison introduces complicated ideas into the beginning and later explains them instead of developing them from the start in a clearer manner. Oral tradition, naming, and flight are some of the main ideas that are carried through but other ideas like that of the supernatural are also important in explaining some of the events that occur throughout. Altogether this method is very effective to those who can survive the confusing beginning. Sometimes in life, we encounter problems and dilemmas that at first seem very confusing, but as we proceed in deciphering them we can make sense out of the confusion. A psychoanalyst deals with his or her patients in a very similar manner. They listen to the disorder in their patients minds and them must clarify what they are thinking and help them with their problems. This too occurs for me when doing my math homework. At first the problems don't make sense but after looking at them and trying to understand everything comes together and makes sense. Although we don't like to think in this way, it seems that we often find ourselves dealing under there circumstances more frequently than we think.


Return to 123HelpMe.com