Song of Solomon Essay

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There are some characters in literature that begin like a seed, small and simple in certain context, but they grow with insight and understanding into a completely new being. Often times, this development of the protagonist is seen as the most crucial element in the progression of the text. This growth is the central purpose of the character and the novel. In Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, protagonist Milkman Dead embarks on a journey to discover truths of his family’s origin. Most importantly, the journey becomes two-fold, making a profound impact to prompt the growth and development of Milkman’s character as a whole. Various events associated with the Shalimar journey serve as turning points for Milkman, breaking his dependence on his father, establishing new relationships through newfound selflessness, and drawing out his passion and drive for life.

The journey to Shalimar not only physically detaches Milkman from his father, Macon Dead, but inside Milkman, it also serves as the movement that propels his strive for independence. Milkman becomes aware that Macon provides everything for him. He says to his father, “I’m still living at home, working for you – not because I sweated for the job, but because I’m your son. I’m over thirty years old” (163). Milkman has been completely dependent on his father in every aspect. This suggests that he is still a child, not mature enough to steer his own life. Even in a previous attempt to leave and pave his own road, Milkman needs to ask his father to pay his way for a year because he has achieved nothing and cannot help himself. This reliance on his family, primarily his father, comes to a halt as Milkman leaves for Shalimar, alone. The pivotal moment is emphasized at the point where he is driving: “…sitting behind a steering wheel… He was his own director – relieving himself when he wanted to, stopping for a cold beer when he was thirsty…” (260). The start of the journey symbolizes the beginning of Milkman’s growth....
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