Lopez 1 As children soar their way into adulthood every experiences they will go through will play an important part in their journey. We will all experience joy, love, hatred, and pain in our individuals lives that make us become the person who we are today and the future. Our character can only be created by our individual life experiences that will create those bonds, life skills, and memories. We will want to share our “findings” with others so they can understand a piece of ourselves. Our most explicit experiences is created by a trail we go through to show us how we learned and grown .
In Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, the time of the youngest Dead, Milkman (Macon Dead III) as he transition from a black man into a benevolent adult will find himself different from humanity. Since everyones transition is different, everyone is an individual and no two people goes through the exact same experience. Milkman will reach his come of age by initially understanding that his nickname, “Milkman”, does no convey his true image, by grasping the idea that he can become aware of himself through other characters in the book and through his long long past.
The lost legacy of his ancestor showed the racism that afflicted Milkman’s alienation. When one dies, another one is born; Robert Smith an insurance agent leaps off a rooftop in attempt to fly, plunges to his death. Milkman was born the next day who will take Robert Smith’s destiny and will be trying to fly. “A milkman. ” “with a name he was never able to shake and that did nothing to improve either one’s relationship with his father. ” (pg 15), Milkman was born into this world with someone giving his identity, he didn’t have a choice to forge himself as a person to reate a name for himself.
At a young age Milkman learned that humans cannot fly “that only birds and airplanes could fly – he lost interest in himself. ” (pg 9) That realization to Milkman blossom his alienation and misogynist. Milkman has inherited his father (Macon Jr. ) Lopez 2 attitude which his father didn’t saw the world in black and white, he saw it green. “He didn’t mean it. It happened before he was through. She’d stepped away from him to pick flowers, returned, and at the sound of her footstep behind him, he’d turned around before he was through.
It was becoming a habit – this concentration on things behind him. Almost as though there were no future to be had. ” (pg 35) Macon Jr. is passing the sin of minsogynst to his own son between his sisters (Lena and Corinthians). Society has told a black man to be controlling over a black women because they “own” them. Milkman’s indifference to his sister will cause pain to them. Macon Jr. will convince Milkman that the “power of money” will escape the color of his skin. Milkman is beginning to lose his race because his father is craving his own path for him.
The hatred drive that Macon Jr. had, started when his father (Jake/Macon Dead I) was killed by white men when he was a child. Macon Jr. was indignant with his father because he didn’t want to learn how to read which cause him his death. The death of his father lead to Macon Jr. ‘s greed to own property to forsake his race who wants to share those thoughts into Milkman. The strong movement that manipulates Milkman’s coming of age was Guitar (Milkman’s best friend) who fights for justice in an injustice world.
Guitar lectures Milkman on how he can’t fly away from his skin as he states, “You’re right, Milkman. You never in your life said a truer word. This definitely is not Montgomery, Alabama… Exactly. Now you know something about yourself you didn’t know before: who you are and what you are. “(pg 104) Milkman doesn’t get offended of the injustice in this world within his race. The death of Emmet Till doesn’t bring him hatred but he realize the hate of how Guitar feel. A black man life can be taken away from him for any reason, such as whistling to a white women.
Guitar is putting a mirror in front of Milkman to show him that he can’t escape who is and what he is: a black man that can “buy a Lopez 3 plant ticket” (pg 104) since Milkman saw the world in green just like his father, he can run away from the racial tension in the world but can’t run away from the color of his skin. Guitar wants to help Milkman how to find himself and know himself because no matter where Milkman is in this world, even in the “North Pole” (pg 117) no one will accept him the way he is.
Milkman’s indifference to the color of his skin will make a wasted black man and Guitar is worried for his friend that he might end up as a dead corpse on the ground. Guitar trusted Milkman to let him know that he was in a secret society which was called ‘Seven Days’. The Seven Days were composed of seven black men including Guitar to bring a balance ratio in the world. Whenever a black person is killed by whites and nothing is done about it by the white men laws or courts, a random white person are executed in the same manner as the black person was killed.
Guitar fights this injustice world with vengeance which his habit will make him strike Milkman. “I don’t mean that why. I don’t mean they want your dead life; they want your living life... Everybody wants the life of a black man. ” (pg 222) this foreshadows a scene when Guitar is hunting down Milkman to take his living life away from him. Guitar’s greed forces him to try to take his best friend life. Guitar was an exceptional person became he can save milkman life and take it away from him.
Guitar teaches Milkman in order for him to fly, Milkman must let go his arrogant way, to be free from his independent life so the burden can be drop from his feet and make him soar through the sky. “P-i-l-a-t-e” the name who order to kill Jesus, is the peacock in Song of Solomon who does all the flying for Milkman. She is Milkman’s aunt who was the one that brought Milkman into the world. Before Milkman was even born into the world his own father was trying to take his first breath. The condition of Milkman being born into the world was everyone was trying to Lopez 4 take his “living life”.
Milkman wouldn’t even have the chance to choose what to die for if his own father and “best-friend” was trying to take that freedom away from him. Milkman purpose on Earth was to never leave the ground so that Pilate can fly. Pilate and Macon Jr. were disconnected because Macon Jr. was jealous of Pilate since their father wrote “one word in his life – Pilate. ” (pg 53). After their father died, Pilate wander on a twenty years adventure to seek her family past and the experience that she was able to gain within those twenty years made her a strong women that resembles both Africa and America heritages.
When a black women shows characteristic of strength in the 1930’s – 1960’s it tells society that a black man is weak, that the black man can’t dominant and tame a strong black women. Once a strong black women attack a black mans manhood, she attack his pride and ego. This is why Macon Jr. resents Pilate because she cannot be tamed, she’d already attained freedom and liberty. Pilate lived through the true “American Dream” by obtaining her own wealth unlike Macon Jr. who inherits his wealth from Ruth (Milkman’s mother).
Pilate’s wisdom has enable her to lead someone who is in the need of guidance, in this case is to help uplift Milkman’s dead soul. Milkman begins to self discover himself when he “followed in her tracks” (pg 258), Milkman will follow Pilate’s legacy to crave his path by discovering his family origin. In finding his own family heritage he hopes he find some love and comfort, the same love and comfort Pilate gave him. “She watched you like you were her own. ” (pg 126), Pilate’s loving nature fortified Milkman that allowed him to escape his death countless times. Macon Jr. convinces Milkman to steal Pilate’s gold, Macon Jr. llowed himself to get into Milkman’s mind to show him how he can obtain power by having greed.
Macon Jr. warns Milkman that Pilate “… was a snake. ” (pg 165), in this case this was not true. Pilate protected the people she loved by any means necessary. Milkman betrayed Pilate when all she ever does was loved him and took him Lopez 5 under her wings. The only women he ever love was Pilate, so when she died he abandoned his callous ways. Milkman felt sympathy for his family and regrets his treatment to his family When a bird swoops up and grabs her box, Milkman understands that Pilate spirit is always flying and touching the ground.
What does it mean to be wise and old? Is it by having all the knowledge in the world or having the experiences to show yourself how to love or hate? Milkman has proven himself that he can live in a world in negligence just by turning his world into green. Necessarily, it’s not wrong of Milkman to make himself isolated from the racial hatred that rom around his surroundings through his wealth. By making his own legacy in finding his ancestor footsteps he obtained strength, youthfulness, and love that comes from his African-American cultural traditions. Milkman learned through Pilate that humans can fly like the birds and airplanes.