English Literature Essays – Soloman Macon Dead Women

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Soloman Macon Dead Women

Female Archetypes

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison was a narrative of development and growing. “In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison depicts her characters’ attempts to research the cardinal struggle informing all her works—the destiny of more or less stiff ways of understanding and of making significance in a ‘universe’ characterized by utmost fluidness, ” stated Theodore Mason ( 176 ) .

This was no truer than how it applied to the adult females that were present throughout the narrative. There were three female originals in the narrative that converged into the bosom of Hagar: domestic, natural, and combination. Together, but in disagreement, the female originals came together and made up the universe and circumstance of Hagar.

The domain that the Macon Dead adult females inhabited and the first female original was domesticity. Nowhere was the “Cult of True Womanhood” more corporal than in Ruth, Corinthians, and Magdalena. Although the characters each played their ain alone function within the household and had distinguishing characteristics, what tied the adult females together in the Macon Dead household were their relationships with work forces and the nucleus virtuousnesss or muliebrity.

Harmonizing to Barbra Welter, true muliebrity is characterized by qualities of piousness, pureness, submissiveness, and domesticity, all of which the adult females in the Macon Dead family had ( 151 ) . The Macon Dead adult females served as house servants in their family, contrasting aggressively with the functions of Pilate, Reba, and Hagar. Ron David provinces, “Pilate’s house ( with Reba & A ; Hagar ) was the Maternal Household where everyone was free and equal ; Macon’s house was the Paternal Household, arranged in hierarchy from Boss to Invisible” ( 86 ) .

This meant that life for the Macon Dead adult females was simply a province of being, and they were supposed to back up and encompass the lives, non of their ain, but of their male household members. For illustration, in a rendezvous that developed between Magdalena and Milkman about duty and functions, Magdalena stated “When you slept, we were quiet ; when you were hungry, we cooked ; when you wanted to play, we entertained you …You have yet to rinse your ain underwear, spread a bed…or move a bit of your soil from one topographic point to another” ( Morrison 215 ) . Magdalena non merely stated her discontent with the Macon Dead family, but besides illustrated how her being centered on Milkman’s wants and demands.

The Macon Dead adult females did non hold an independent being off from functioning work forces. They were tied to their functions at the disbursal of their ain lives because that was what they learned from their female parent. Jill Matus stated that Ruth was “fiercely protective of her boy when his life is being threatened by Hagar, she however does small to forestall her girls being pressed every bit little as she was” ( 82 ) . Therefore, Magdalena and Corinthians were every bit much topic to subjugation as their female parent was, and they seemed wholly unimportant to the novel and to the Macon Dead household, but “when Corinthians woke up one twenty-four hours to happen herself a forty-two-year-old shaper of rose petals, she suffered a terrible depression which lasted until she made up her head to acquire out of the house” ( Morrison 189 ) .

It can be inferred that remaining at the Macon Dead family could hold caused Corinthians decease and continued the oppressive rhythm that her female parent endured. As a balm on their non-existent lives and as a signifier of flight, Ruth, Magdalena, and Corinthians sought consolation in nature. There were the rose petals ( unreal love ) of Corinthians, the tree ( growing ) of Magdalena, and the garden ( freedom ) of Ruth that served as their flight from world. In these mercantile establishments, the Dead adult females could mime growing, something they were non able to make populating in Macon Dead’s family. Ruth had a garden that served as her mercantile establishment where she planted flowers.

This served as a signifier of flight for her because of the oppressive environment she lived in. Even though Milkman noticed how unhappy his female parent was, even while seting, he failed to do the connexion that it was because of her life with his male parent. Milkman was stating Guitar that “The point is that she wanted to set those bulbs in. She didn’t have to. She likes to works flowers. She truly likes it. But you should hold seen her face. She looked like the unhappiest adult female in the universe. The most miserable” ( Morrison 104 ) . The same state of affairs was true for Milkman’s sisters. Harmonizing to Jill Matus, “Lena and Corinthians, inhibited and diminished by their male parent, exist to demo the overpowering effects of the combination of strongly inhibitory forces such as black patriarchate and white racism” ( 83 ) .

Not merely did Ruth function as an illustration, but everyone else in the place that was non male served as an illustration excessively. Magdalena, who became the least developed of the three adult females, had one minute where she talked about the maple tree and its symbolism. Magdalena stated, “the flowers I’d stuck in the land, the 1s you peed on—well, they died, of class, but non the branchlet. It lived. It’s that maple” ( Morrison 214 ) . Magdalena said “of course” in mention to the flowers holding died. Because of Milkman’s oppressive behaviour, the flowers that represented freedom were snuffed out ; nevertheless, the branchlet grew into a tree.

This gave hope to Magdalena and besides calmed the fury she felt towards her brother. Her response, “I wanted to kill you. I even tried one time or twice” ( 213 ) . In kernel, despite the Macon Dead women’s mercantile establishments that symbolized wished-for freedom, even as characters in Song of Solomon, they were still secondary and ne’er truly manifested or developed outside their function. It was deserving observing that whether Morrison meant it as a warning or non, the Macon Dead adult females all survived, whether it was a humble being or non.

Unlike the Macon Dead adult females, independent, natural, and fabulous were the features that described the 2nd type of adult females in Song of Solomon. These features are personified in Pilate and to a lesser grade in Reba. “Although there is something free and exciting about her family of adult females, its nutritionary and other eccentricities, fantastic vocalizing, and hand-to-mouth being, Pilate’s line neither thrives nor survives, ” said Jill Matus ( 84 ) . The adult females in Pilate’s family, who identify as the antithesis to the Macon Dead adult females, were ferociously independent and did non reply to work forces.

Furthermore, because the Pilate family had no work forces to reply to, this frequently allowed them to make their ain regulations, wonts, and behaviours. This was most apparent in the manner that Pilate’s household went about their day-to-day lives. To get down with, Pilate supported herself from the merchandising and devising of vino which was illegal at the clip because they lived in a dry county. Additionally, the Pilate family did things otherwise. For illustration, there were ne’er any repasts that were planned, and Pilate may or may non bake hot staff of life, depending on if she felt like it, and at that place was Reba cutting her toenails with a kitchen knife ( Morrison 29 ) .

Happenings like these were something that likely ne’er happened in Milkman’s family ; his male parent was commanding, and there were his female parent and sisters to take attention of things like dinner. Since Pilate lived without any male invasion and was frequently rejected by society, independency was something that Pilate had to get in order to last. In add-on, before Pilate became the adult female she was, she frequently tried to suit in with society and nab herself a hubby or fellow, frequently stoping with the work forces detecting she had no umbilicus, going disenchanted, and go forthing her.

When Pilate recounted the narrative of her younger old ages to Ruth, she told of such an juncture. As a consequence, “Pilate refused to get married the adult male, who was eager to take her as his married woman. Pilate was afraid the she wouldn’t be able to conceal her tummy from a hubby forever. And one time he saw that uninterrupted flesh, he would react the same manner everybody else had” ( Morrison 147 ) . This physical difference helped to account for Pilate’s personality and now irregular behaviour, harmonizing to society. “Because she lacks a umbilicus, Pilate is ostracized by many of the people she meets on her travels through Pennsylvania and Virginia.

She overcomes this banishment by agencies of the power of love and self-knowledge, ” said Theodore Mason ( 183 ) . This provided for the model and the inner-strength that Pilate had and besides developed, in a manner, in Reba. As a consequence to this unusual life style that the Pilate family relished in, “…there are no others like her nor does she hold female posterities who will raise and possess her for their futures” ( Matus 84 ) . Because Pilate was so alienated from society, Jill Matus believed that it was what led to the terminal of her household line of descent, without a footmark left of her on Earth ( 84 ) .

The consequence of the domestic adult female merged together with the natural autonomous adult female is the 3rd female original seen in Song of Solomon. Hagar best exemplified this 3rd original and stood in resistance to the Macon Dead adult females and her ain family. Populating with her female parent at Pilate’s house, Hagar had already adopted some of Pilate’s features, but, in the terminal, she still struggled with her ain muliebrity. A instance in point was how Hagar chased and obsessed over Milkman and their lost love.

Frequently, Hagar found herself dwelling about Milkman first thing is the forenoon: “It literally knocked her down at dark, and raised her up in the forenoon, for when she dragged herself off to bed, holding spent another twenty-four hours without his presence, her bosom round like a gloved fist against her ribs. And in the morning…it yanked her out of a sleep swept clean of dreams” ( Morrison 127 ) . Even in Hagar’s dreams, she struggles to accommodate the two halves of her personality.

Hagar maintained her independent personality by ne’er holding tried to get married Milkman, merely every bit long as they were still lovers, she was all right. However, Milkman believed otherwise. When remembering one Christmas about Hagar, he thought about how she was no longer appealing, largely because she was so willing and gave in easy and ne’er put up much of a battle any longer to kip with him ( Morrison 91 ) . Milkman thought, “Now, after more than a twelve old ages, he was acquiring tired of her” ( Morrison 91 ) . Milkman seemed to wholly lose that point that since it had been a twelve old ages and she ne’er pressured him to get married her already, she was non likely to get down coercing him now. It was non until after her rejection that she began exhibiting marks of the domestic female.

In her last manic effort to win Milkman’s love, Hagar illustrated how she had a deformed position of self-image and was non able to run into the criterion of beauty that she believed Milkman had. In one of the most memorable lines in the narrative, Hagar exclaimed, “No wonder… Look at that. No admiration… Look at how I look. I look atrocious. No admiration he didn’t want me” ( Morrison 308 ) . Without any function theoretical accounts to look up to, she struggled in the center between these two criterions of life. She, unashamedly and unembarrassed, tried to throw herself at Milkman’s pess one last clip, but alternatively died of a broken bosom.

In a response from Toni Morrison about her character Hagar, she said it is exactly because she lacked the appropriate function theoretical accounts that she is incognizant of how to move. Morrison said, “Her girl Hagar had even less of an association with work forces as a kid, so the patterned advance is truly decreasing of their abilities because of the absence of work forces in a alimentary manner in their lives ( Morrison qtd in Awkward 144 ) . It is deserving observing that Hagar personified more closely today’s modern adult female, seeking to make a equilibrating act between domestic homemaker and independent equal. In the terminal, she died, the full Pilate family died, and all that was left were the adult females in the Macon Dead family, disgruntled and unsated.

Not merely was this novel a typical bildungsroman in the manner that it detailed Milkman’s life, Morrison’s ideas on female functions and development can besides be inferred, nevertheless subtle. Not surprising, this novel was written and published around the clip of the 2nd moving ridge of the women’s rights motion. Song of Solomon is a narrative that non merely dealt with the difficult daily issues a black household faces, but besides has feminist undertones that can non be ignored. Even in modern-day America, the faces of these female originals can still be seen. Unfortunately, in Song of Solomon, nevertheless, these female functions converged into a vertex of discouragement and regret—Hagar, the knife-wielding, rejected lover.

Plants Cited

Awkward, Michael. “ Unruly and Let Loose: Myth, Ideology, and Gender in Song of

Solomon. ” Negociating Difference: Race, Gender, and the Politics or Positionality. Ed. Houston A. Baker. Black Literature and Culture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. 137-154.

David, Ron. “ Song of Solomon. ” Toni Morrison Explained: A Reader ‘s Road Map to the

Novels. New York: Random House, 2000. 73-98.

Matus, Jill. “ Song of Solomon: raising Dead male parents. ” Toni Morrison. Ed. John Thieme.

Contemporary World Writers. Manchester: St. Martin ‘s Press, 1998. 72-84.

Morrison, Toni.Song of Solomon. New York: Vintage International, 2004. 3-337.

Mason, Theodore O. “ The Novelist as a Curator: Narratives and Comprehension in Toni

Morrison ‘s Song of Solomon. ” Toni Morrison. Ed. Harold Bloom. Modern Critical Views. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999. 171-188.

Welter, Barbara. “ The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820-1860. ” American

Quarterly18Summer 1966. 151-174. JSTOR. 28 Mar. 2008 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //links.jstor.org/sici? sici=0003-0678 % 28196622 % 2918 % 3A2 % 3C151 % 3ATCOTW1 % 3E2.0.CO % 3B2-H & gt ; .