by Joshua Loveday
SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison centers around a young black man name Macon Dead III, nicknamed Milkman because his mother nursed him past infancy. His father’s past as the son of a freed slave is obscure, and his father likes to maintain the ignorance and willful forgetfulness of that past. It is his father’s sister—Macon’s aunt Pilate—who relates the tale of the gold they lost after the death of their father. When Milkman sets out to find this long-lost gold, he discovers his family’s forgotten black history, represented by a remembrance of people’s names. “Names that had meaning . . . When you know your name, you should hang on to it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you do.” Milkman understands that much of black history has been forgotten, just like the original names of black men and women were lost when they were renamed by white men.
Milkman’s father’s obsession with wealth accumulation is represented by the long-lost gold and becomes a metaphor for what he can never have—the white man’s privilege. Morrison acutely portrays his resulting internalization of both the racism against black people and sexism against women in the man’s deeply-flawed persona.
The title refers to a song the children sing that becomes an unconscious cultural connection to their past. Milkman discovers the song, his ancestral connection to it, and the myth that hides behind it. “Some of those Africans they brought over here as slaves could fly. A lot of them flew back to Africa.” The book ends with a typical postmodern stop, having Milkman finally recover his past but without the reader finding out if he lives or dies as his best friend Guitar takes another aim at him with a rifle. Despite this, Morrison’s masterful use of prose, her poetic juxtaposition of vocabulary and her vivid interplay of cultural imagery makes this an absolute joy to read.
4 thoughts on “Book Review: SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison”
I am sure he is a great author. Can’t wait to read his next book soon. Hurry and get it published! ❤️❤️
The review is so impressive on so many levels.
As a white male, you give such insight into the realities of those who’ve been oppressed for millenia, such as black people and women. This tells me that you are ‘woke’. But, not only are you woke, you eloquently describe the state of those (in the book) who are oppressed, that it tells me you have more than just a passing understanding of what it MEANS to be oppressed. Furthermore, you easily demonstrate your sympathy toward members of society that have been forced into a way of being by those more powerful, who ‘make the rules’ (so to speak).
Kudos to you for having the ability to really ‘see’ others.
Why did you choose this particular book to review? How do you choose any of the books you review?
Thank you so much! I’ve always loved Toni Morrison, ever since I read BELOVED. This is one of my older blogs. I’ve switched to reviewing novels that have recently been published.
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I’m really impressed with all you read. You are very well rounded and eclectic in your tastes – at least in books. Okay, I’m heading right over to my blog and see if……..😏