The Influence Of Identity In Song Of Solomon

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Names hold a significance and they tell a story. Even though one story may be different from the next, that name still holds a legacy and can form an identity. Morrison is able to show readers that her “characters must find their ways through the morass of that which defines them” (Lubiano 589). Morrison also shows how many characters become effected negatively when they cannot make sense of their own identity, just as many African-Americans may have faced when becoming free and may still face today as some struggle to know where their ancestors came from. Morrison is able to paint a picture of some of the effects that may have occurred early on in America’s history and she does so, vividly. She also pushes readers to question why the…show more content…
Critics also tend to discuss the identity of female characters such as Pilate, First Corinthians, or Hagar, even when the novel focuses immensely on male characters. Even though many critics may not see this, Toni Morrison intentionally reveals that naming is a significant aspect of her novel as she specifically names her characters. Toni Morrison creates her characters lives around their given names to show the importance of African-American identity. Furthermore, Morrison focuses predominantly on her African-American male characters to emphasize how and why males must know their identity. Knowing their identity will enable African-American males to live their lives fully.
During the mid-20th century in America, it was difficult to know who one actually was as they could only base their information on what their relatives knew which could have been blurred and altered as evidence was passed down from generation to generation. Some African Americans were able to discover bits and pieces about themselves yet unfortunately many were left without answers and without ties to their past. Many characters throughout the novel question their name or identity. Nevertheless, Macon Dead Senior does neither. As he was a slave most of his life, Macon Dead Senior only looks ahead toward freedom. In 1869, Macon Dead Senior finally registered for freedom yet "the man behind the desk was drunk” (53). As a result, his name became “Dead”.
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