The Importance Of Names In Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon

891 words - 4 pages

The Importance of Names in Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon

Toni Morrison’s award-winning novel Song of Solomon is full of very interesting, deep symbolism. Macon Dead III, nicknamed “Milkman,” is a very symbolic character throughout the novel. His character is not only symbolic, for so is his name. Also, Milkman’s paternal aunt, Pilate, has an extremely significant and symbolic role in the novel. To her father, she represents the child who killed her own mother and took away her father’s wife. Seeing that Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death, the name Pilate seems to coincide with her father, Macon Dead’s, opinion. Ironically, though, Pilate is a good person and is murdered in the end, just as Jesus was by Pontius Pilate. Another important character in the novel who portrays a great deal of symbolism is Guitar, Milkman’s best friend. Guitar is named after something that he is ultimately unable to attain. “I saw it when my mother took me downtown with her. I was just a baby…I cried for it, they said. And always asked about it.” This unreachable goal accurately describes his character throughout the novel. He is never able to overcome the obstacles that stand in his way or to reach the goals he has set for himself. Toni Morrison intelligently uses the characters Milkman, Pilate, and Guitar to successfully portray a great deal of symbolism throughout her novel.

“A milkman. That’s what you got here, Miss Rufie.” Milkman is given his name for a very logical reason: his mother nurses him until he is an adolescent. Freddie discovers this and gives Macon III his new nickname that will stick with him for the rest of his life. The name Milkman is symbolic in that it represents the other man in his mother, Ruth’s, life; it represents her need for another man because she simply cannot get what she feels she wants and needs from her husband. Consequently, she turns to her son to provide her with the comfort and love she is lacking.

Also, Milkman symbolizes his mother’s strong dependence on him. She does not feel needed by her husband or her other children, so she nurses her son for many years beyond infancy to feel that she is needed, as mother, by her son. The fact that she depends so heavily upon her son reveals the numerous insecurities she has about herself. It is the character and the name of Milkman Dead that enlighten readers of these highly significant facts and symbols throughout the novel.

Though Milkman is a very symbolic character in Song of Solomon, he is not the only one. Pilate also has both a very symbolic character and name. First of...

Find Another Essay On The Importance of Names in Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon

Usage Of Love In "Song Of Solomon" By Toni Morrison

954 words - 4 pages Usage of Love in Song of SolomonThe main goal for an author is to grab the reader's attention and keep them interested in what they are reading. This pushes the author to write with a theme that all readers can relate with. The usage of love is a perfect example. It allows readers of all ages to relate on a personal level and become intimate with the novel. Different pieces of literature do this in various ways. In Toni Morrison's Song of

A Sick Love in Toni Morrison´s Song of Solomon

1441 words - 6 pages In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison constantly shifts the setting of the novel, tone, style and theme to frame Hagar’s character in the novel as a round character revealing her weaknesses due to a love obsession also foreshadowing her upcoming decay. Hagar being one of the central characters of the story is also a very contradictory character who as a child was an independent, intelligent, realistic and unattached girl with the freedom that her

Milkman's Transformation in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon

686 words - 3 pages Milkman's Transformation in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Milkman experiences many changes in behavior throughout the novel Song of Solomon. Until his early thirties most would consider him self centered, or even self-loathing. Until his maturity he is spoiled by his mother Ruth and sisters Lena and Corinthian because he is a male. He is considered wealthy for the neighborhood he grew up in and he doesn't socialize because of this. As

Destructive Love in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon

1766 words - 7 pages Destructive Love in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon When an emotion is believed to embody all that brings bliss, serenity, effervescence, and even benevolence, although one may believe its encompassing nature to allow for generalizations and existence virtually everywhere, surprisingly, directly outside the area love covers lies the very antithesis of love: hate, which in all its forms, has the potential to bring pain and destruction. Is it

"Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison

715 words - 3 pages "Flight in the Song of Solomon"Throughout literature it has been common for authors to use allusions to complement frequent motifs in their work. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Milkman learns that his desire to fly has been passed down to him from his ancestor Solomon. As Milkman is figuring out the puzzle of his ancestry, he realizes that when Solomon tried to take his youngest son, Jake, flying with him, he dropped him and Jake never

Throughout Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

804 words - 4 pages John Burdick English 3 4/8/14 Throughout Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison takes the reader on an adventure. Her exquisite writing techniques allow the characters to develop in a manner that is unique yet impactful on the other characters in the story. Morrison uses certain personalities and experiences of characters to represent the generations of African-Americans post slave society. The difference in values and behavior is apparent especially

Faith, Belief and Human Experience in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

2126 words - 9 pages particularity and effectiveness that Morrison had made use in this particular novel was what made the role of myths very effective. It was her precise and conducive means of realizing the importance of each myth and folktale which then had enabled her to completely embed all of its aspect in her magnificent story. By giving Morrison’s characters the names coming from biblical of mythological figures, she was able to compare them to epic heroes whose experiences had transcended the cultural and temporal boundaries of the world. In Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, she was able to show how names affect both oppression and liberation.

Listening to Women, Being a Man. Speaks of Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon"

1666 words - 7 pages In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Milkman Dead becomes a man by learning to respect and to listen to women. In the first part of the novel, he emulates his father, by being deaf to women's wisdom and women's needs, and casually disrespecting the women he should most respect. He chooses to stray from his father's example and leaves town to obtain his inheritance and to become a self-defined man. From Circe, a witch figure, he is inspired to be

The Song of Solomon

2940 words - 12 pages importance in Song of Solomon, because they are among the only fixed repositories of history--and even names are not particularly fixed. Milkman's family takes its name from the first Macon Dead, who was given his name by a drunken Yankee soldier at the Freedman's Bureau. Milkman recovers his true name, Jake, and also discovers that, in the town of Shalimar, Virginia, his family's history is diffused into the very geography in place names and

song of the solomon

1374 words - 6 pages Not everyone knows there true identity yet, we go through a series of life tests and have to go searching for ourselves for who we really are and our purpose in life. In the book Song of the Solomon, by Toni Morrison she tells a story of a man by the name of Macon Dead III, also known as Milkman. This character has been sheltered his whole life by his mother and father, in results from being sheltered, he tends to take on ways of his father

On the Categories of Love in Toni Morrison’s Love

1351 words - 6 pages love, and Eros love are clearly expressed by characters In Toni Morrison’s Love. Junior Viviane’s love for Cosey can be considered as more or less an agape love. Heed and Christine are characters who expressed phileo love, even though they later became enemies. The romantic relationship between Junior and Romen is a perfect example of eros love. As the novel begins, agape love was expressed. Junior Viviane developed a strong affection for Bill

Similar Essays

The Juxtaposition Of Ruth Foster And Pilate Dead In Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon

1165 words - 5 pages Toni Morrison juxtaposes Ruth Foster and Pilate Dead, in Song of Solomon, to highlight the separate roles they play in the protagonist Milkman’s journey. Early in the novel Morrison, uses the juxtaposition of Ruth Foster and Pilate dead, when she tells of the flight of Mr. Robert Smith from Mercy Hospital. Ruth Foster, not yet described as such, is known as the “dead doctor’s daughter” (5). During this scene her insignificance is made clear

Essay On Names In Song Of Solomon

1520 words - 6 pages The Importance of Names in Song of Solomon      Abstract:  In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, names have great implication.  Language is extremely personal and deeply rooted in culture.  Names are an integral part of language, and they help to establish identity, define personality, and show ownership through formal and informal usage.   " 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; / Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. / What's

Time In Toni Morrison's "Song Of Solomon"

1751 words - 7 pages The history of Black America is one that has been stolen, lost and largely forgotten over the past two centuries. Through slavery and more recently the Apartheid-like era of Jim Crow laws, black history has been clouded over with oppression and hatred. Toni Morison's Song of Solomon is an attempt to explore the muddled path of history through the confused life of Milkman Dead. Morrison places Milkman in a world full of characters that are

The Importance Of Pilate In Song Of Solomon

2064 words - 9 pages In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison gives us a list of characters whose lives all revolve around the basic principle that completes us all, love. Morrison's most grounded character is Pilate Dead. Although Pilate may not say much, she is one of the most important and beloved characters in the story. She is loved not only by Milkman but also by the readers. As Morrison says “[Pilate is very large] because she is like something we wish existed. She