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The Novel “Song of Solomon”

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    Song has several recurring themes,including that of sexuality. Morrison effectivelydemonstrates these sexual themes relating to both sexes. Unlike in her other novels, both the men and women are”searching for love, for valid sexual encounters, and aboveall, for a sense that they are worthy.”(Bakerman 318)

    While Song of Solomon gives men a more prominent place, Morrisonalso shows the desires of women to break away fromestablished society and to create an individualistic life. Pilate is one of the most apparent characters in herjourney to explore her sexuality and womanhood. She isportrayed by Morrison as a strong and a somewhat rebelliouswoman. She establishes something extraordinary during thattime, economic independence. In the process “she rejects thetraditional image of woman by cutting off her hair…andwearing clothes functional to her way of life.”(Mickelson316)

    Even though this is all true, Morrison never lets usforget that Pilate is a woman planted in the reality ofblack society. Ruth also yearns to escape the shackles thathold her down as a married woman. In the opening scenes ofthe novel, Ruth shows us her trivial concerns dealing with astain on the table. Ruth “… talked endlessly to herdaughters and her guests about how to get rid of it – whatmight hide this single flaw on the splendid wood…She hadtried them all.” (Morrison 11)

    As insignificant as theywere, these were Ruth’s concerns. Yet the stain has a deepermeaning symbolizing the scar that Ruth has, but ferventlyattempts to cover up, from her married life. We learn thatHer husband never loved her and they haven’t been intimatein years. “When Ruth was naked and lying there as moist andcrumbly as unbleached sugar, he bent to unlace her shoes.

    That was the final delight, for once he had undressed herfeet, had peeled her stockings down over her ankles andtoes, he entered her and ejaculated quickly. She liked itthat way. So did he. And in almost twenty years during whichhe had not laid eyes on her naked feet, he missed only theunderwear.” (Morrison 16)

    As she dealt with the rejection ofher husband, Ruth searched for sexual satisfactionelsewhere, eventually turning to her son, Milkman. “He wastoo young to be dazzled by her nipples, but he was oldenough to be bored by the flat taste of mother’s milk, so hecame reluctantly, as to a chore, and lay as he had at leastonce each day of his life in his mother’s arms, and tried topull the thin, faintly sweet milk from her flesh withouthurting her with his teeth.” (Morrison 13)

    Ruth recognizedthat the breastfeeding was wrong, but let her desire cloudher better judgement. Milkman is used as a pleasure toyuntil the abuse is discovered. Ruth is once again left in astate of sexual deprivation.Most novels deal only with women and revolutions butMorrison “…deals not only with the woman who breaks awayfrom the established society…but with the black man whoyearns to fly…” Milkman is avidly searching for a womanand a sense of security, and as opposed to the women, hissearch is surprisingly successful.

    The audience neverquestions Milkman’s ability to love, yet we see the problemshe has recognizing it. Hagar, who was only considered a”lady friend”, was an important individual in Milkman’slife. They had an indescribable bond, yet they never pursueda relationship beyond a physical one. “Everybody who knewhim knew about Hagar, but she was considered his privatehoney pot, not a real or legitimate girlfriend- not someonehe might marry.” (Morrison 91) Not until he meets Sweet,does he learn about love and passion. The relationship thatthe two develop is both sexually and emotionally fulfilling.

    Here he learns that love is a mutual feeling necessary for ahealthy relationship. Guitar on the other hand is guided bya different type of love, a love for the black race. He isso devoted to the black cause, he turns violent, randomlymurdering whites. This love is driven by the void createdwhen his father died and although Guitar’s love sharplycontrasts that of Milkman, they both use love to fill a gapin their life.

    Song of Solomon uses sexual themes to explain a searchon which every character embarked. Milkman, Pilate, Ruth,and Guitar, among others, are looking for love and sex totake the place of all that is missing in their lives. Sex isused as a solution to such various problems as lonelinessand insecurity. We learn through this novel that sex andlove are individually complex yet somehow always connected.

    Topics including flight, sexuality, and religion arediscussed throughout the entire book. Morrison subtlyconveys different lessons and morals with these themesthrough names, symbols, etc. Ultimately, this novel dealswith initiation and exploration in society. She combinesthese subjects with the conditions of blacks in society tocreate a story of people and their trials in life.

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    The Novel “Song of Solomon”

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