Song of Solomon

Materialism and Flight: Symbols of Restraint and Freedom 12th Grade

In Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, flying appears as a symbol of freedom, most notably in the African legend of Solomon, who released his son Jake to fall to the evils of American slavery while he flew away to freedom. Even though the story takes place in the post-slavery era, virtually none of the characters are able to liberate themselves and take flight. The pursuit of the hopeful ideals that developed during the Civil Rights Movement seems to almost hold down the black characters as much as slavery did. They pine endlessly over revenge, personal growth, wealth, education, and love. As the characters begin to gain wealth and power, some turn into greedy machines, living only to turn their labor into money and property. They win freedom from slavery, and alongside that, they also gain what has burdened the affluent population forever: money. While the American Dream results in the pursuit of a happy family, a house, and a good job; many of the black characters pursue a slightly different “African-American Dream” that entails freedom and power. Many become so engrossed in their wealth that they estrange family, friends, and lovers. Though money seemingly offers freedom in American culture, Morrison reveals the negative...

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