Toni Morrison’s book “Songs of Solomon” highlights the most significant and meaningful themes to readers, especially young people. The nuances of the themes and their use in the story represent an impressive piece of artwork that Morrison employs to compel the readers’ interest. Many have criticized the inclusion of this book in the modern American education program, citing the sexual abuse and profane filthiness shown by certain main characters in the play, such as Milkman Dead. Despite these claims, (Izgarjan 305) describes the book as a wake-up call to the current challenges affecting Afro-American cultures. Ideally, the author uses mythology and metaphors to express the difficult situation and dilemmas that befall these communities thus readers may not want to miss the experience of racial stereotype and social problems explained in this letter. Additionally, this letter tends to focus on human behavior pointing from the ensamples of characters in the book to gain make a point.
The book features the main protagonist Milkman Dead to give meaning and relevance of racial stereotype in the Afro-American culture. The blacks are known with their culture of naming and the depictions of the names in relation to their cultural origins. In this letter, the readers cannot miss the interplay of characters from the system of naming which is somewhat relative to the book of the bible “songs of Solomon” demonstrating the theme of love and religion. The initial impression of this book demonstrates the biblical aspect based on the nature of the song stemming from its title. The bible hosts the same title as Songs of Solomon as presented by Tony Morrison albeit some translators identify it as “Songs of songs”. The biblical perspective on the songs of Solomon illustrates the love of God toward men and women. However, many people have confused the context of the message passed from the bible and today relate some of the verses to induce sexual romance with each other. Lack of close interpretation of the messages from the biblical perspective has seen most of the youths misuse the focus of Solomon (Izgarjan 319). Systematically, Morrison Toni tables a unique method of naming the characters in her book which closely relates to the biblical characters that are familiar to most of the Christian believers. Characters such as Pilate, Magdalene, Hagar and First Corinthians have been explicitly used in the book to express the theme of ethnical stereotype (Bogatin 26). “In fact, Morrison selects biblical names for many characters in the novel, “to show the impact of the Bible on the lives of black people, their awe of and respect for it coupled with their ability to distort it for their own purposes” (Bogatin 24) However, Toni Morrison uses these characters in his book Songs of Solomon to give a substantive implication on the role of the Bible in the life of the black community and their interpretations and distortions. In this culture, women have been used to shape the success of men in the Blacks community. “The success of Milkman’s journey depend largely on the string of female bodies, figuratively and literary that he lives along his path” (Bloom 23).
There exist internal racial discriminations depicted from the characters in the book. Milkman Dead is raised from a rich a family under the supervision and nurture from Ruth and Macon. Tracing from the birth and naming of Milkman, it is interesting to note that, name play an important role in the revelation of slavery and oppression in this community. During his birth, all the black children were expected to register with the Freedman Bureau which represented the abolition of slavery. Traditionally, the name of Milkman is well known to her mother Ruth and Pilate who saved him from his father’s evil intentions of abortion. Milkman is depicted as an influential and unpredictable character in terms of his childhood behavior and relations. At some point he witness his father oppress their tenants but this does not affect him either. Thus the barbaric actions of Macon give the essence of complicated nature of power of humans. Milkman colludes with his friend Guitar at some point to steal what is purported to be a bag of gold in Pirates house despite the warm welcome he receives from Pilate (Bloom57). Analytically, for one to acquire a moral behavior there must be parental guidance and spiritual interventions from the religious leaders for them to remain upright. However, these parameters go contrary to milkman idiocy as he turns to be violent. In some instances, he sexually molests his girlfriend Hagar and finally terminates their relation, an act that leaves her heartbroken. The peak of race in this context is enormous in the South . The other notes as follows “It is the land of blood and death, of slavery of countless generations of Africans”( Bloom 14). Morrison Toni expresses the existence of racism in the Afro-American communities and its impact on the lives of the Blacks. The impact of the racial stereotype and hatred led to merciless killing of the Blacks neighboring the White’s community. The old Macon Dead is a victim of this circumstance when he becomes shot before his children by the white landowner. The fact that Old Macon was a successful farmer drives jealousy and malice to the landowner who had an intention of throwing him out of his firm. The implications of this racism are important for the students because it reminds them of the evils of such wars. Essentially, the book tries to foster universality amongst students to ensure prosperity of peace and unity in America (Izgarjan 311).
In summary, however, in the event that this book is struck out of the curriculum, the students are at risk of misunderstanding some of the provocative topics such as sex, violence and suicide themes that have been employed in this book. The students will miss the universality and the expression of spiritual transformation that are vital in their youth. The book, however, encourages the students to embrace unity and parental guidance tailored through religion to coexist with each other. Therefore, Morrison’s book “Songs of Solomon” is a fundamental book that will assist the present and future students to understand the contemporary issues such as such as racial stereotype, internalized racism and nature of humans among others that affect the daily lives of Americans. Historically, this book explains the originality and diversity of the Afro-Americans religion and cultures with close reference from the Bible. The main protagonist in the play, Milkman Dead has been used in the book to express the themes of sexuality and realism which are important topics in student life.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. Infobase Publishing, 2009.:1-209.
Bogatin, Rachel K. Religion, myth, magic, and folklore in Rabbit, Run, and Song of Solomon. Diss. Rutgers University-Camden Graduate School, 2011.:1-38.
Izgarjan, Aleksandra M. “METAPHOR OF FLIGHT IN TONI MORRISON’S NOVEL SONG OF SOLOMON.” Journal for Languages & Literatures of the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad/Zbornik za Jezike I Knjizevnosti Filozofskog Fakulteta u Novom Sadu 6 (2016):305-322.