I seem to be really enjoying the novels chosen for my American Literature module this semester. ‘Song of Solomon’ by Toni Morrison is yet another novel that focuses on racial issues. If you are a dedicated reader, you will recall that I review ‘Quicksand’ by Nella Larsen a few weeks back, and that I enjoyed that experience too.
The novel focuses on the Dead family, and their relationships to one another. Milkman Dead is the protagonist of the tale. The reader is invited along on Milkman’s journey to unravel family secrets. There is a lot Milkman does not know; why is he’s nickname ‘Milkman?’, why can’t he visit his aunt Pilate? What is Guitar hiding from him? and what is in that green duffel bag? The story brings to light tensions among the African American community, along with showing a self discovery tale that connects Milkman with his family’s history.
Image taken from Keeping up with Mr Jones
Obviously, from the introduction to this post, I loved it! Morrison has secured a spot on the list of authors whose works I want to read more of. I found Milkman’s friendship with Guitar to be very interesting. They both represent different ideology’s but they somehow find common ground with one another. The racial element in this book was expertly developed. Milkman and Guitar, although from the same town, come from vastly different upbringings. Macon’s relationship to his sister was also very intriguing. Morrison developed the family aspect of the book well, and it is this exploration that adds to the tone of the novel.
“Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?”
Overall, aside from race, this is a story about connections. Connections between you and your friends, your relationship to your family, your feelings toward your significant other. Life is full of connections, some we cherish, some we severe so hard and quick, we are unaware of the effect of that lost thread, tying us to someone we once knew, now lying limp on the floor.
Below is a video I found of Morrison speaking about her inspiration for the novel. I found this very pleasant to watch, and I feel you may also enjoy it!
I found this video on visionaryproject‘s YouTube Channel.
If you are interested in reading the novel, below is a link to the novel on the Book Depository.