The modern world is full of events, some of which are intolerable to a person, particularly when they consider their family history. The exponential development of capitalism has transformed the human race into a greedy being that is only obsessed with money production and has no regard for family and social ideals. Lack of material rights in a family has often lately angered many individuals, leading them to partake in inhumane acts such as suicide, murder, or even joining terror organizations or criminal gangs. Toni Morrison’s novel A Song of Solomon depicts the majority of these events. This paper looks at the activities that have occurred in the real world that connects to the theme of wealth and privileges in the novel.
The article will focus on the issue of wealth accumulation through industrialization and its impact on the social and environmental well-being. The current global warming and family dysfunction around the world are associated with the desire for material accumulation and love of money at the expense of social responsibility. Greed for money in the modern world caused by capitalist nature has led to environmental degradation and poor parenting. This situation connects to the novel Song of Solomon in that, in this book Macon Jr. and his father was more concerned with wealth accumulation at the expense of their children. His father even changed the name and forgot about their lineage to concentrate on wealth creation.
Luis Fernando Gómez Gutiérrez has explored some of the issues in the novel A Song of Solomon key among them being wealth which is tied to dysfunctional family. Poverty in Ruth Foster Dead’s home renders her son Milkman Dead isolated and unhappy (Gómez R. 119). As a result, Milkman Dead decides to seek a different life away from his family and is easily convinced to steal some coins from his aunt. Lack of wealth, therefore, makes him go an extra mile in such of money (Gómez R. 119). In the modern world, most individuals have joined terror groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda in promise for cash(Ruoting and Fangchao 275). The recent terrorist attacks in Europe such as the one in Manchester in mid-2017 in an apparent confirmation of desperate individuals who are out to make riches through unethical means.
Wardi, Anissa J creates a picture of increased production of sugarcane that is depicted in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon in an attempt to amass wealth (Wardi 547). These plantations led to the mass slavery of the less fortunate individuals like Guitar to hate sugar as he links it to his father’s death at the sawmill. From her book Song of Solomon Morrison depicts the current tendency of the industrialists and contemporary investors who use the less privileged as they strive to make more wealth (Morrison). Many people have died in the United States from collapse or leakage of coal mines just in the same way Guitar’s father died in the sawmill in search of income (Wardi 547). Another intriguing event related to wealth creation is the BP oil leakage at the coast of US some years back which led to substantial environmental pollution. The extent of this damage has never been revealed to the US citizens as the government tries to protect the wealth and reputation of this company which is an essential player in the energy sector (Ruoting and Fangchao 275). Just like sugarcane plantations in the Atlantic World in the Song of Solomon, energy has become as important in the current world as it is the key to wealth creation through industrialization and therefore, organizations will continue exploiting sources of power irrespective of their harmful effects (Wardi 547). Despite all the calls by environmentalists, some countries are still adamant on utilizing all possible sources of energy at the expense of environmental health. Such arrogance can only be compared to the character of Macon Dead I who changes his name and cares less about the family background. Current industrialists never bother of their origin and habitat so long as they can make money, they will do everything within their reach to get it (Ruoting and Fangchao 275).
Lisa A. Keister argues that wealth accumulation is significantly dependent on the family structure and ethnic origin of most Americans (Keister). Nonwhite Americans struggle to make ends meet as compared to their white counterparts. Similarly, in the book Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Macon Jr. is more concerned about the accumulation of riches at the expense of his family. He does not even care about his family history and background (Morrison). On the other hand, Guitar becomes frustrated due lack of money and believes that Milkman Dead had shortchanged him on his share of the loot (Keister). He even tries to kill Milkman Dead on several occasions until he accidentally kills Ruth Dead by a stray bullet. Family frustrations and poverty has contributed immensely to the current state of misuse of guns in the United States. Just in the past two months, a gunman killed very many people at a shopping mall in the US out of frustration (Heo, Grable and O’Neill 209).
Fletcher Judith argues that the search for material value and love money is to blame for family dysfunctions in the United States as she analyses the work of Toni Morrison; Song Of Solomon and its characters (Fletcher 405). Macon Jr. concentrates entirely on his love for money to the extent that he forgets about his daughter and sister (Morrison). He stumbles into gold as he after killing the white man just before his father Macon Dead I was murdered. This occurrence changed his childhood mentality to wealth creation with no consideration of human welfare.
“Gold,” he whispered, and immediately, like a burglar on his first job, stood up to pee Life, safety, and luxury fanned out before him like the tailspread of a peacock, and as he stood there trying to distinguish each delicious color…” (Morrison)
He is also ignorant about his family background since wealth is all that matters. Most children have grown to become drug addicts in the United States as a result of parental negligence. Parents focus on their career so much at the expense of their parenting role (Fletcher 405). The children a left to look after themselves in most cases and they use the opportunity to explore the world around them though in a contrary manner. In the process of knowing their surroundings, most young people meet drug peddlers some of which are their peers (Keister 521). They are easily influenced by using and selling these items, and before knowing it, the youths find themselves in drug trafficking gangs (Keister 521). However, Pilate is very lucky since her son Milkman Dead use his explorative journey to learn more about the family background. Nevertheless, Guitar, in his endeavors to find wealth through a shortcut by becoming Milkman’s accomplish in the unsuccessful attempt to steal Pilate’s gold, indulges in hatred resulting in murder (Fletcher 405). His desire to take Milkman’s life is evident in Part 2 chapter 10 Milkman points him out of darkness and shouts;
“You want my life?’ Milkman was not shouting now. ‘You need it? Here.’ Without wiping away the tears, taking a deep breath, or even bending his knees—he leaped.” (Morrison)
All these misfortunes face him due to lack of proper parenting as the dad was dead and the mother was so concerned with wealth creation.
Green David argues there is an unequal distribution of wealth in the world and this is the leading cause of crime in the most country (Green and Owens 848). This is evident in the Song of Solomon by the fact that Ruth Dead is poor while her brother is wealthy, blacks are also poor than their white counterparts in the US. More Pilate wearing that old quilt is an indication of low income, and she is not willing to hide her identity in the same way Ruth Dead does.
“The singing woman . . . had wrapped herself up in an old quilt instead of a winter coat.”
Rice 2004, focuses on modernism which has created capitalism in most countries in the world hence everyone is only concerned with their economic development at the expense of others’ welfare (Rice 572). This is also the case with the society of Song of Solomon where Macon Jr. only cares for his wealth at the expense of the daughter. Furthermore, Rice highlights the various challenges the African Americans undergo in the modern world, as they try to be alienated to the lifestyle of wealthiest people in the society (Svizzero and Tisdell 222). This argument is significantly supported by the action of Ruth Foster Dead, who tends to wear expensive clothes as a way of escaping the truth of her low financial status.
Williams agrees with Green on wealth disparities in the society only that he views the issue from the ethnic perspective (Williams). Most African Americans in the Song of Solomon are so poor to deliver their children to the hospital, and that is why Milkman becomes the first an only child to be born in Mercy Hospital.
“The singing woman . . . had wrapped herself up in an old quilt instead of a winter coat. Her head cocked to one side, her eyes fixed on Mr. Robert Smith, she sang in a powerful contralto.”
Pilate sings in response to Robert Smith who intends to fly out of the being and end his life after unsuccessfully fighting for the rights of African Americans. Pilates, wearing an old quilt is not just for her pride of their tradition but also indicates the economic status of the black Americans (Curtis Jr). According to Williams, this situation still exists in the current America, where most of the privately owned wealth and property belongs to the whites. The prosperous communities are only concerned about how to amass more money irrespective of the damage their actions may cause the environment (Svizzero and Tisdell 222). After all, they are assured of better healthcare in luxurious hospitals something the poor group cannot afford.
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