Song of Solomon - What's in a Name?

919 words 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…

He is named after something he wanted very badly as a child: a guitar. The fact is that he could not have the guitar, though. Throughout his life, Guitar struggles to accomplish many ultimately unattainable goals. The goals he sets involve helping himself, though, and himself only. Those who get in his way are dealt with in different manners. At one point, Guitar even tries to take the life of his best friend, Milkman, who is initially drawn to Guitar because of his maturity. He makes Milkman feel older and more grown up. Also, Guitar is the only person who Milkman doesn't mind being called his nickname by. He says that when Guitar says it, "it sounded clever, grown up." Because Guitar is never satisfied, he continues to do harmful things in hopes of fulfilling his goals. This causes him to murder Pilate, to ignore his best friend, and to eventually try to kill his best friend.
<br>Indeed, Toni Morrison uses many symbols in the characters' names and personalities to accurately portray the many conflicts and strains between characters throughout the novel. She also uses these symbols to help depict the complex characters of Pilate Dead, Milkman Dead, and Guitar. These symbols also reveal the many weaknesses of each character. The combination of these elements brought together by Toni Morrison's very unique writing style is what makes this novel such a distinguished work of American


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