Essay on Individual Verses Society in Song of Solomon

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The Individual Verses Society in Song of Solomon

Toni Morrision's novel "Song of Solomon" contrasts the image of a self-made individual with that of an individual who is the product of his or her society. Since society changes, the man who simply reflects his social environment changes accordingly. But “the true individual's self-discovery depends on achieving consciousness of one's own nature and identity”(Middleton 81). This is what differentiates Pilate and Milkman from Macon and Guitar. There are direct similarities between Milkman's and Pilate's self-discovery. They both achieve their individualistic spirit through travel, literal and symbolic. Not so for Guitar and Macon Dead jr. “Where Pilate's and Milkman's self-discovery …show more content…

For the first time he feels an emotional and nourishing connection with a woman He adapts to and becomes accepted by the people of Shalimar. He gains a sense of self and truly discovers his identity, he has finally able to free himself from "..the shit that weights <him> down"(Morrison page #).

Whereas Milkman finds his place and identity through a journey and through self-discovey, Guitar finds his place by immersing himself in society. He grew up with Railroad Tommy and the people in the Barbershop. This group of men spent their time discussing and complaining about the injustices that were being done to black men. Guitar reflects the views of urbanized black men, defiant of white power and authority, and militant in their convictions for change. Morrison intentionally contrasts Milkman with Guitar to show that the individual is better off discovering his/her self outside of society. We aren't supposed to like the Seven Days. There is a coldness and a negative connotation surrounding the barbershop and the Seven Days. Guitar is aware of the problems of society, but he is incapable of expanding beyond the limited views of the Days, and eventually this brings him to consider killing his best friend.

The same contrast between individual self-discovery and society's conditioning can be found in two other main characters: Pilate and Macon Dead Jr. Just like Milkman, Pilate traveled

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