Love And Destruction In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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Love is often seen as the cause to many positive things, but when it is misunderstood, it can become a destructive force. In Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon, the love between characters is the powerful source of many of the deaths in the story. The book follows the maturation of a boy nicknamed Milkman Dead who is born from a loveless marriage into “a really strange bunch” (76). He is surrounded by many people driven by this powerful feeling: a friend who kills in the name of love, Hagar -- his cousin’s -- drive to murder him if he doesn’t love her, and the love his aunts feel for Hagar that prevents them from helping her. The characters’ misunderstanding of love causes them to blur the line of demarcation between love and destruction. …show more content…
For them, “All they knew to do was love her” (308). They loved her, but that was the only thing they knew how to do for her. They thought that the best way to express that was to “spoil that child something awful” (312). Their love was warped by this one-dimensional way of treating Hager. When Hagar’s feverish drive to kill Milkman fades, she becomes depressed and despondent. Pilate and Reba attempt to help her in the only way they knew -- “they offered her all they had: love murmurs and a protective shade” (315). Rather than help her break from obsession she had for Milkman, Pilate and Reba could only dote on her. That was all they knew how to do. They were so blinded by the intense love they had for Hagar that neither “told her the things she ought to know” (307). Instead, they “spent everything getting Hagar the things needed to fix herself up” (316). They thought that pampering her would solve the issue, instead it leads them to depleting all their resources because they loved her too much. Pilate and Reba’s overpraise doesn’t help Hagar. Instead their love does the opposite; it blinds them from the best way to help her. Hager’s disconsolate hopelessness leads to her death, and Pilate and Reba’s warped love for her cannot stop this. Their misunderstanding of how to love Hagar leads to her destruction and their own

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