Song of Solomon

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“Bringing Literature to Life”
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“Song of Solomon explores the quest for personal and cultural identity. Inspired by the African-American folk tale about enslaved Africans who escape slavery by flying back to Africa, Song of Solomon tells the story of Macon “Milkman” Dead, a young man alienated from himself and estranged from his family, his community, and his historical and cultural roots. Milkman is mentally enslaved and spiritually dead. But with the help of his eccentric Aunt Pilate and his best friend, Guitar Bains, he embarks on a physical and spiritual journey that enables him to reconnect with his past and realize his self-worth.

According to Morrison, Song of Solomon is about “a man who learns to fly and all that that means. But it’s also about the ways in which we discover, all of us, who and what we are. And how important and truly exciting that journey is.””


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Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1996: In an effort to hide his Southern, working class roots, Macon Dead, an upper-class Northern black businessman, tries to insulate his family from the danger and despair of the rank and file blacks with whom he shares the neighborhood. The plan leads his son, “Milkman”–a named he earned after his mother nursed him well past the proper age–onto a path exactly opposite the one his father had hoped. Milkman is driven into the arms of a violent, lower-class woman, into a clandestine circle of blacks who repay white violence in kind and into an awareness that he can fulfill his own potential by understanding the mistakes of his ancestors as they relate to his own.

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