Milkman’s Search for Identity in Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon tells the story of Milkman Dead’s unwitting search for identity. Milkman appears to be destined for a life of self-alienation and isolation because of his commitment to the materialism and the linear conception of time that are part of the legacy he receives from his father, Macon Dead. However, during a trip to his ancestral home, Milkman comes to understand his place in a cultural and familial community and to appreciate the value of conceiving of time as a cyclical process.

The Deads exemplify the patriarchal, nuclear family that has traditionally been a stable and critical feature not only of American society but of Western civilization in general. The primary institution for the reproduction and maintenance of children, ideally it provides individuals with the means for understanding their place in the world. The degeneration of the Dead family and the destructiveness of Macon’s rugged individualism symbolize the invalidity of American, indeed Western, values. Morrison’s depiction of this family demonstrates the incompatibility of received assumptions with the texture and demands of life in black American communities.

Pilate Dead, Macon’s younger sister, provides a marked contrast to her brother and his family. While Macon’s love of property and money determines the nature and quality of his relationships, Pilate’s sheer disregard for status, occupation, hygiene, and manners is accompanied by an ability to affirm spiritual values such as compassion, respect, loyalty, and generosity. Pilate introduces a quality of “enchantment” into the novel.

The circumstances of her birth make her a character of supernatural proportions. She delivered herself at birth and was born without a navel. Her smooth stomach isolates her from society. Moreover, her physical condition symbolizes her lack of dependence on others. Her self-sufficiency and isolation prevent her from being trapped or destroyed by the extremely decaying values that threaten her brother’s life.

Before Milkman leaves his home in Michigan, he perceives the world in materialistic, unyielding terms that recall his father’s behavior. Indeed, the search for gold that sends him to Virginia reveals his perception that escaping from his past and his responsibilities and finding material treasure will guarantee him a sense of his own identity. Milkman’s assumption that his trip south holds the key to his liberation is correct, although it is not gold that saves him. In his ancestors’ world, communal and mythical values prevail over individualism and materialism; when he adopts their assumptions in place of his own, he arrives at a more complete understanding of what his experience means.

Milkman’s development rests partly on his comprehending the ways in which his life is bound up with the experiences of others and partly on his establishing an intimate connection with the land for which his grandfather died. These accomplishments attend his greater achievement: learning to complete, understand, and sing the song that contains the history of his family. Milkman comes to know fully who he is when he can supply the lyrics to the song Pilate has only partially known.

The song, which draws on African and African American stories of blacks who escaped slavery by flying back to Africa, explains Milkman’s lifelong fascination with flight. When Milkman learns the whole song and can sing it to Pilate as she has sung it to others, he assumes his destiny. He understands his yearning toward flight as a way in which his ancestral past makes itself known and felt to him.

Milkman’s sense of identity emerges when he allows himself to accept his personal and familial past. His quest critiques the faith in self-sufficiency for which his father stands. Through his story, Morrison questions Western conceptions of individualism and offers more fluid, destabilized constructions of identity.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business Studies
Thank you very much for a good job done and a quick turn around time.
Customer 452615, March 31st, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Excellent job
Customer 452773, March 9th, 2023
ACC/543: Managerial Accounting & Legal Aspects Of Business
EXCELLENT JOB
Customer 452773, January 10th, 2024
Social Work and Human Services
Great work I would love to continue working with this writer thought out the 11 week course.
Customer 452667, May 30th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
perfect
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
History
Don't really see any of sources I provided, but elsewise its great, thank you!
Customer 452697, May 8th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, July 17th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent job! got an A, thank you
Customer 452773, May 24th, 2023
fin571
EXCELLEN T
Customer 452773, March 21st, 2024
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and help
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
History
Looks great and appreciate the help.
Customer 452675, April 26th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
excellent job!
Customer 452773, May 25th, 2023
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp