The Politics of Gender in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon
The IUP Journal of English Studies, Vol. XI, No. 4, December 2016, pp. 30-42
Posted: 2 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 26, 2017
Toni Morrison’s novels are deeply embedded in the African cultural heritage and primarily concerned with the experiences of African American women, whose quest for individual identity is integrally intertwined with a sense of community and cultural history. Therefore, it is not surprising that women of color play prominent, strong, and powerful roles in her novels. Morrison’s Song of Solomon is one such novel where the main protagonist, Milkman’s development is framed by the sacrificial stories of three women important in his life. On the surface, these female characters are shown to be living pathetic lives where rebellion is almost impossible. Their lives are constructed around men’s desire or fancy. However, if one goes deeper down the surface to examine these female characters critically, then one would find that in reality, these women play a huge role in reconstructing cultural memory and demonstrating the importance of the past to the male protagonist. This paper critically looks at Morrison’s Song of Solomon in order to establish that the ultimate experiences of these black women are not the loss and sufferings endured by them in the name of slavery, racism, and gender. Instead, their creative voices that connect one generation to another are the true markers of the potential of their womanhood.
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