"Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison.

Essay by mattyJRHigh School, 11th grade May 2003

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"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 arrived with his father to their destination. Milkman spends the later part of his life trying to learn how to fly and how to connect him self with his past relatives. He recognizes what is necessary in life and what he needs to do in order to "fly".

Song of Solomon opens with the image of attempted flight, as Robert Smith promises to "take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings (p.3)."

Pilate does not save him, but she sings him to his death. "O Sugarman done fly / O Sugarman done gone," and he "had seen the rose petals, heard the music (p.9)." Milkman Dead, born the next day in Mercy Hospital, the first colored baby ever to claim that distinction, must have been marked by Mr. Smith's blue silk wings, for "when the little boy discovered, at four, the same thing Mr. Smith had learned earlier-- that only birds and airplanes could fly-- he lost all interest in himself (p.9)."

Years later, Milkman and his friend, Guitar, are amazed by the mysterious appearance of a peacock over the building of the used car lot where they stand. As the bird descends, Milkman mistakes it for a female, but Guitar corrects him. "He. That's a he. The male is the only one got that tail full...