Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon Summary and Analysis of Chapters 6 & 7


Guitar finally discloses the reasons behind his secretiveness and political interests. He is part of a society called the Seven Days, who kill white people for every time black people are killed and their white killers go unpunished. Composed of seven men, each man is responsible for one day of the week. The Seven Days society tries to make each revenge killing resemble the original. For example, if a black woman is raped and murdered, the Seven Days will at random choose a white woman to rape and murder. Each revenge killing takes place on the same day that the original killing took place. Guitar is the youngest of all the men in the society.

Guitar explains his reasoning to Milkman, stating that he is only trying to keep the ratio of blacks and whites equal, and that whites are unnatural because they enjoy killing for fun. Stating it is in white people's chromosomes to murder, Guitar says no white man is immune from the blood running through his veins. Guitar claims that Hitler only killed the Jews because there were no blacks around. It is therefore necessary for the black people to avenge themselves since they cannot take legal action like the Jews did.

Milkman contradicts Guitar's points by asserting the fact that there is no scientific data stating whites have a different genetic makeup. Calling Guitar crazy, Milkman points out that some whites have made great sacrifices for blacks. He then suggests Guitar follow Malcolm X's lead and change his name to Guitar X. When Guitar replies he doesn't care about names, Milkman says that Malcolm's point is to show whites that blacks do not have to accept their slave name. Guitar answers that the slave name does not bother him but slave status does.

In Chapter Seven, we turn to Milkman and Macon. Having spent his entire life under his father's roof, Milkman asks Macon if he can take leave for a year to focus on his personal ambitions. Although Macon resists and comes close to pleading with his son to stay, Milkman compares him to Pilate and her green sack hanging from the ceiling.

Suddenly, Macon is no longer interested in Milkman's departure but wants to know everything about the sack that supposedly contains Pilate's inheritance. He tells Milkman the story of what happened when his father died, this time not leaving any details out.

The narrative switches to a flashback. After the death of their father, Pilate and Macon find themselves homeless. Fortunately, they are rescued by Circe, the midwife who delivered them both; Circe hides them away in the mansion she works in right outside of Danville. Pilate and Milkman stay there for only two weeks, not able to bear the four walls closing in on them. Pilate pierces her ear and begins wearing her infamous earring constructed out of her mother's brass box. Once Pilate's ear heals, she and Macon escape to the joyous outdoors and have a ball. Soon, however, they are wandering around frightened with no definite plan of action until they see a ghost of their father motioning at the entrance of a cave. They spend the night there but in the morning Macon realizes they are not alone. Inside is an old white man. Scared, Macon kills him and discovers gold underneath the man's green blanket. Imagining a life of luxury, Macon plans on taking the gold with him until Pilate dissuades him, saying that taking the gold would look like a motive for killing the man. Pilate and Macon then begin to fight and Macon leaves the cave, and waits for Pilate to come out. Three days later, when the coast is free from hunters, he enters the cave only to find Pilate and the gold gone.

Macon becomes convinced that the green sack hanging in Pilate's house is the gold. As he licks his lips, he tells Macon to get the gold. If Milkman is able to get the gold, Macon tells him he can have half of it and can do whatever he wants.


Guitar's anger at whites and desire to free blacks from oppression may be justified on a psychological level. Having to grow up poverty-stricken and watching his mother graciously accept forty dollars for her husband's dead body was instrumental in Guitar's growing dislike for whites. Even as a child, Guitar is ignored by a snotty white nurse who clearly considered blacks to be beneath her. However, Guitar's own reasoning in itself does not justify his actions. His belief that whites are unnatural and will all want to kill blacks for fun is absurd and scientifically untrue. Therefore, one can assume that his motive to kill whites is simply an act of revenge.

Ironically, Guitar's own actions can be considered "unnatural" as he exhibits traits of a serial killer. Guitar has already morphed into a reckless killer and we can that through his reply to Milkman. When Milkman asks if Guitar will one day kill him, Guitar answers that he doesn't kill Negroes. Milkman himself realizes that Guitar doesn't say he will not kill Milkman, but instead Negroes. This impersonal attitude towards another human being suggests Guitar is already become an out-of-control murderer.

The manner in which Chapter Six ends foreshadows the future outcome of Guitar's reckless attitude. When Milkman acknowledges he is afraid for Guitar, Guitar replies that he is afraid for Milkman, too. As there was no need for Guitar to be afraid for Milkman, his reply almost sounds like an ominous warning. Inharmoniously, Guitar's day is Sunday, a day in the Christian religion reserved for God and leisure.

Macon is obsessively intrigued by Pilate's sack, and tells Milkman the story of what happened after their father died. Interestingly, the story is not told in dialog, with Macon speaking, but is summarized by the narrator. Toni Morrison's decision may suggest that the narrator has an inner motive to tell the story. As objective as the narrator has been, one cannot assume that the narrator has summed up exactly what Macon said. Therefore, the story about the gold in the cave may be unreliable.

Macon's pleading attitude in asking Milkman to go get the gold emphasizes his obsession with wealth. It has been over fifty years since Macon began believing his sister stole the gold, and he still has not forgiven her. Macon is blinded by his desire for money, and therefore cannot see that his pattern of thinking is illogical. One can assume that Pilate, a good and honest woman, would not have stolen the gold.