Song Of Solomon Literary Analysis

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Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (1977) is a juxtaposition of classical myth and folklore that is deeply rooted in African American history and folk culture. Unfortunately, much of the criticism of Song of Solomon has tended to focus more on classical myth in a strict literary sense and less on the profound folk cultural context on which her writing is based1. Susan L. Blake says in her article “Folklore and Community in Song of Solomon” that the title of Morrison’s third novel is derived from a well-known Gullah folktale. In this folktale a group of African slaves in the New World rise up one day from the field where they are working and fly back to Africa (Blake, 77). Milkman Dead, the protagonist of Song of Solomon, is searching for his freedom …show more content…
Song of Solomon is based on a story that Morrison heard from her maternal grandparents and it is imbued with folk myths and legends from the African Diaspora. The author draws on Afro-American legends about Africans who could fly and who used this marvellous and magical ability to escape from slavery in America. Stories about Africans who either flew or jumped off slave ships as well as those who saw the horrors of slavery when they landed in America and in their anguish sought to fly back to Africa are very popular among the Afro-Americans. In Song of Solomon the main feature of Morrison's narration is her use of folk culture in the forms of superstitions, children’s games, songs, rituals etc. Morrison recognizes that folklore can more directly convey the truth than relying on the analytical descriptions based on Western logic and traditions. She wanted to utilize the black folklore, especially the magic and superstitious part of it, in her texts because black people believe in magic and it is part of their heritage. This is the reason for using flying as the central metaphor in Song of Solomon . Throughout the novel Morrison questions the imposed values and perceptions of the dominant culture. As an alternative, Morrison tries to offer a cultural knowledge and belief situated in black American's African traditions and heritage. Morrison's essay Rootedness: Ancestors as Foundation explicates the relevance of past history and ancestral heritage in rebuilding the present of black culture. In her works she validates that past is something that cannot be erased from a black man's/woman's world. But the black cultural past often lies hidden under the influence of dominant culture. Once this submerged culture gains proper exposure it thrives and flourishes conjoining in the recreation of a cultural present situated in the past. Thus the Deads too, though

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