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The Song of Solomon is a provocative novel that was published in 1977 and written by author, Toni Morrison. This is a story that follows a young man through his life and the struggles of an African American boy who lives in Michigan. The novel starts when the main character, Macon Dead III, is just a young boy who is still breast feeding from his mother. The audience quickly becomes privy to the information that Macon is nicknamed “Milkman” because of the fact that he was still breastfeeding through his toddler years. The fact that Macon was breastfed until an older age is important information because it helps to define his relationship with his mother. The main character and his relationships with his mother, and women in general, play a significant role in the development of the plot.
Macon, or “Milkman,” has a dependent relationship with his mother that earns him the reputation of being a momma’s boy. His mother, Ruth Foster Dead, is an extremely powerful and strong willed woman through out the entire novel. The relationship that Ruth has with the men in her life is a truly unique depiction of women in literature. Macon’s mother tends to be domineering and controlling of the men in her life. However, Macon’s sister is the complete opposite type of personality of his mother. Pilate, Macon’s sister, is portrayed as being a kind and gentlewoman who becomes soft and nurturing in her relationship with Macon. This is a great reference for literature that has opposing characters that surround a foundational character. The children were all raised to look out for them and learn how to take care of one’s self since they were children. This causes distance to grow between the siblings. There is a theme of death being what cuts the main characters free from the troubles, challenges, and strife of living and growing up in their particular situations.
The novel is truly one of the most influential and eye-opening stories that came from the 1970’s. To follow a young boy through the entirety of his life that ends in speculated suicide is extremely compelling and attention grabbing. There are many lessons and morals to be learned through out the study of the text, and all of the characters have an integral role in the investigation of the subtext. There are references to slavery, religion, and challenges in family life through out the entire novel.