Song of Solomon

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Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon is a novel that progressively unfolds the maturation of Milkman Dead through a parallel with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is during his quest for gold that Milkman initiates a desire for self-actualization and begins to grow from an self-centered, immature boy into a established adult. In what begins as a journey for financial gain, Milkman becomes captivated with an obsession to pursue his family history, and as a result, becomes enlightened with a rich sense of family history and, in the end, a strong understanding of his self-worth. Milkman began to outgrow his childhood at age twenty-two, mostly in part because of the excessive pampering that took place during the early stages of his life, paralleling levels one and two of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: physiological and safety needs. Born into a lineage of a wealthy doctor and real estate owner, Milkman lacks consideration for anyone but himself. He becomes rather dependant on his family for all of his basic needs, and it is because of such that Milkman struggles to escape the first tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: physiological needs. Maslow described such needs as the most basic and natural in the hierarchy. One cannot move on to other needs until these are fulfilled. But being that Milkman was in essence born into the first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy, his development on the Hierarchy of Needs can begin with level two: security needs. These needs are all but fulfilled for Milkman as well, as he was born into the heredity of a secure job in his father’s business as well as a sheltered environment. Milkman’s true quest is to outgrow these first two stages of Maslow’s Hierarchy. As Milkman seeks the lost gold, he begins to uncover his family’s history and takes significant steps towards the third tier of Maslow’s hierarchy, social needs. These needs include the desire to be loved and to belong, and when Milkman begins hearing stories about his...
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