The Role Of Guitar In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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Oftentimes, authors create certain characters to resemble a reality, as in the case of Guitar, from Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon. Guitar Bains, the main character Macon “Milkman” Dead III’s best friend, is an African-American man living in a time of great discrimination. It is likely Morrison creates Guitar in attempt to represent the feelings of many African-Americans during this time, specifically Malcolm X. Malcolm X was an American-Muslim minister and human rights activist. Most of his work is from 1946, when he joined the Nation of Islam while in prison, until his assassination in February of 1965, by three members of the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam is also referred to as the ‘Black Muslims.’
His autobiography, The
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While Guitar and Milkman are discussing, Milkman compares him to Malcolm X, and suggests he joins Malcolm X’s following: “You sound like that red-headed Negro named X. Why don’t you join him and call yourself Guitar X” (160). Milkman compares Guitar to Malcolm X because they are arguing about The Seven Days, specifically the morals and justifications for the existence of the group. Milkman discovers similarities between the two, for example, they both believe violence should be used to their advantage as a counter attack. Malcolm X once stated, "It doesn 't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don 't call it violence when it 's self-defense, I call it intelligence” (Malcolm X). Neither of them necessarily want the situation to have the only solution as murder, but both Guitar and Malcolm X think of violence as a retaliation tool. This connects to the events in Song of Solomon when Guitar explains about his reasoning: “The ratio can’t widen in their [white people] favor” (158). Here, Guitar explains that violence is used in order to “keep the ratio the same” (155), so that the white race cannot overpower the blacks. Furthermore, Guitar justifies The Seven Days by explaining they do not kill just to kill, they murder to keep the …show more content…
Morrison demonstrates her views on the problem through Milkman, who constantly disagrees with Guitar’s participation in The Seven Days. By using members of The Seven Days, she exhibits her views. Morrison falls on the peaceful side of the spectrum, more so than the violent side, for she believes violence dooms people. Robert Smith, a suspected member of The Seven Days, jumps to his death in an attempt to fly. In his first appearance in the story, Henry Porter, another member is seen sitting drunk in a windowsill contemplating death by gun. Lastly, Guitar transforms into a complete psychopath who thinks his head always has to be on a swivel. The people we meet that are suspected members of the gang all change into someone they were not before, and it is the violence that corrupts them. Morrison does this so she can prove that in the long run extreme violence will not solve problems, just create

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