The Symbol Of Flight In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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Register to read the introduction… According to the myth, Solomon launched himself into the air, “cut across the sky,” and “gone home” (Morrison 303). While Solomon achieved total freedom through flight, his escape scarred the family members he left behind, including twenty-one children and his wife, Ryna, who “fell down on the ground…[and] threw her body all around” in grief (Morrison 303). The story of Solomon’s flight, which serves as the motivating factor behind Milkman’s quest, is also the community member’s primary “evidence” with regard to the possibility of human flight. The residents of Shalimar, Virginia, who have grown up hearing the story of Solomon, do not view it as a myth, but treat the story as fact – Solomon took flight. Overall, his flight is a physical demonstration of the freedom that is achieved when a person escapes confining …show more content…
Milkman recognizes that human flight is impossible, causing him to feel alienated from the rest of his community. Throughout his childhood and into his adulthood, Milkman doubts the possibility of human flight and remains abnormal in the eyes of others. At age thirty-two, Milkman's alienation from his community and the strain of his family's emotional turmoil cause him to long for escape. So, in an attempt to feel included and accepted by his family and neighbors, Milkman embarks on a journey for self-discovery. Although his flight frees him from his community and Not Doctor Street, it is a selfish act in that it causes Hagar, Milkman’s cousin and lover, to literally die of heartbreak. When Milkman first begins his journey, he gains his first experience of actual flight on an airplane. However, even then “the wings of all those other people’s nightmares flapped in his face and constrained him” (Morrison 222). In actuality, the majority of Milkman’s fantasies about flight come in the form of dreams, evoking an image of …show more content…
He immediately returns home to reveal the news to his father, Macon Dead II, and his aunt, Pilate. Only after discovering his heritage is Milkman able to believe in the concept of human flight, allowing him to final achieve acceptance by his community. Despite his efforts, it is only when Milkman begins to believe in the reality of human flight and returns home that he is no longer isolated. However, for Milkman to achieve flight, he must give up “the shit that weighs [him] down” and surrender all of his male vanities (Morrison 179). In addition, it is also crucial for Milkman to atone for his abandonment of Hagar and his family, escape from his father’s authority, and embrace Pilate, who is most likely the one “applauding and watching” in Milkman’s dreams of flight (Morrison 302). Pilate was also the only character who was able to achieve flight “without ever leaving the ground” (Morrison 336). In the last lines of the novel, Milkman surrenders to and rides the air, and whether he reenacts the suicide of Robert Smith or delivers himself into “the killing arms of his brother,” Milkman escapes through flight (Morrison

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