Publication Year

1993

Keywords

Literature, Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, slave narrative, gender, African American

Disciplines

African American Studies | Comparative Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Women's Studies

Abstract

Toni Morrison's novel Song of Solomon chronicles the journey of Macon "Milkman" Dead into the heart of his past where he encounters a gold symbol and a "talking Book." The early Afro-American slave narratives establish the trope of the talking Book, symbol, and journey as literary conventions. Morrison "Signifies" upon these conventions to create a feminist revision. She hinges her feminist revision on the multiple definitions of flight in the "song" of Solomon. The men who "flee" like the characters in the narratives lead destructive lives, while the men who appreciate the women who preserve the pat, soar. Morrison's feminist revision emerges by comparing Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s documentation of the literary conventions of the slave narratives to Song's use of them, defining Signifyin(g), evaluating Morrison's Signification, and finally examining the characters in Song of Solomon.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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