Cultural Identity in The Song of Solomon

Throughout literature, it has become mundane for countless authors to use recurrent themes in their works. In Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, there is a vibrant illustration of the very prevalent principle of identifying one’s self by examining one’s legacy and ancestry. The primary character of Toni Morrison’s novel, depicted by Milkman (Macon Dead, Jr.), negotiates the fantastic and the realistic as he journeys from the innocence that once was to the total, unmitigated awareness of his heritage, origins, and ultimately, his identity.

Before Milkman ventures from Michigan, he perceives life as a materialistic, obstinate world; the ideals of which he conceptually receives form his father. Being the most emotionally challengeable character in the novel, he experienced all of the troubles of a dysfunctional family at an early age. Carrying multiple onuses of a burdened household on his shoulders, Milkman only grew dissatisfied with the relentless struggle to maintain mental stability while under the influences of his moneyhungry father, and his mother’s strange family relationships.

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When all else fails, Milkman decides to venture to the South in search of gold; however, he finds himself in Shalimar, Virginia, the nucleus of all that is pure and profitable to the developing image inside. Milkman’s development begins to peak when he establishes an intimate, somewhat “child-like” connection, with his growing correlation between the land and his family-especially concerning the aspects of flight, in which he was interested as a child. Furthermore, upon learning the lyrics, and meaning behind a song that Pilate had so often sang, O Sugaman, Milkman, in a sense, found a missing link lying within it, and in doing so, he reaches an understanding of his place in a deeply cultural, demonstrative circle of positivism.

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Milkman’s destiny was fulfilled when he realizes that his inquisitiveness with life revolved around the past that he had known nothing of, but had always knew was there. His sense of identity emerged when he accepted the inexorable fact that without discovering his people, he would never discover himself. The most precious conception that Milkman grasped hold of was the wisdom that he had learned to confront his quandaries instead of mastering the supreme art of escape- flying.

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Cultural Identity in The Song of Solomon. (2022, Sep 20). Retrieved from

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