Toni Morrison begins her 1977 written novel: Song of Solomon in a very non traditional way that was different from most authors. Toni narrated her stories but introducing the incident. Some themes such as oral traditions,naming, and especially flight are introduced in the first six pages and are further developed in a very similar format throughout the book.
One of the incredible themes,oral tradition, is used to retell events throughout the book in a consistent manner with the beginning. On the first page we are introduced to an insurance agent by the name of Robert Smith. We shortly learn that he will "fly" from the top of Mercy Hospital. On the Wednesday of his flight a group of fifty people gather around the building to witness this event. While waiting for his "flight" or jump a woman begins to sing the words "O Sugarman done fly away/ Sugarman done gone/ Sugarman cut across the sky/ Sugarman gone home;"(6) This lady simply describes Robert Smith's flight "home" which we later learn is really him committing suicide. Much later on in the book Milkman is listening to a group of children singing "O Solomon done fly away/ Solomon done gone/ Solomon cut across the sky/ Solomon gone home."(3) In this song Sugarman, or Robert Smith, is replaced by Solomon, or the Great Grandfather of Milkman. The song describes his "flight" from Shalimar, his home town, and the events that happened after his "flight." In general, oral traditions are used in this book to retell past events for both our understanding and for the characters. They take the form of song, story, and fairy tale and are very important to the meaning of the story because they are a major medium of narration.
Perhaps the most amazing theme in the story is flight. It is used in both the introduction and the rest of the novel as a symbol for freedom. As described earlier, Robert Smith's jump, or flight however it is interpreted, is a result of his feelings towards a small group of men known as the "Seven...
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