Song of Solomon - What's in a Name? Essay

909 Words Oct 15th, 1999 4 Pages
Toni Morrison's award-winning novel Song of Solomon is full of very interesting, deep symbolism. Macon Dead III, nicknamed "Milkman," is a very symbolic character throughout the novel. His character is not only symbolic, for so is his name. Also, Milkman's paternal aunt, Pilate, has an extremely significannot and symbolic role in the novel. To her father, she represents the child who killed her own mother and took away her father's wife. Seeing that Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death, the name Pilate seems to coincide with her father, Macon Dead's, opinion. Ironically, though, Pilate is a good person and is murdered in the end, just as Jesus was by Pontius Pilate. Another important character in the novel who portrays a great deal of …show more content…
The fact that she depends so heavily upon her son reveals the numerous insecurities she has about herself. It is the character and the name of Milkman Dead that enlighten readers of these highly significannot facts and symbols throughout the novel.
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<br>Though Milkman is a very symbolic character in Song of Solomon, he is not the only one. Pilate also has both a very symbolic character and name. First of all, her name is derived from the biblical name of Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to death on the cross. This name is very symbolic of her father's feelings toward her. Although her father does not purposely choose her name, considering he can't read, it quickly comes to signify the fact that her father feels that Pilate killed her mother, seeing as that her mother died during childbirth. Ironically, however, Pilate is murdered at the end of the book when she and Milkman go to give her father a proper burial.
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<br>Pilate also represents a great deal more than a murderer. She has a large part of her mother's spirit in her because although, physically, her mother dies while giving birth to her, part of her soul enters Pilate, so part of her literally lives in her daughter. Therefore, when Pilate is killed during the burial of her father, it shows that both she and her mother are tired of life, they have both lived it to the fullest, and they both want to rest in peace with Pilate's father.
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