A Sick Love In Toni Morrison´S Song Of Solomon

1441 words - 6 pages

In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison constantly shifts the setting of the novel, tone, style and theme to frame Hagar’s character in the novel as a round character revealing her weaknesses due to a love obsession also foreshadowing her upcoming decay. Hagar being one of the central characters of the story is also a very contradictory character who as a child was an independent, intelligent, realistic and unattached girl with the freedom that her mother and grandmother “passed on” to her. They had no attachments or necessities for support from men as white women and many black women did during and before the Civil Rights movement, yet (she) “loses” power over her will for a “love” that drags her to death. Although, Hagar possessed identity of a black child due to freedom, she was also a spoiled child who lived with nothing, yet desired everything just as a white spoiled child who would ask and be pleased. It is presumed by many characters that this was the cause of her failure and inability to recover.
Thought out the novel, Morrison constantly shifts setting to emphasize the passing of time; for instance the novel begins in Mercy Hospital, 1931 in Michigan with Milkman’s birth then as time passes by it takes place in different streets such as “Not Doctor Street,” the barbershop place and “Darling Street.” Each place is given a significant name symbolizing the people who live in there. However, when it comes to Hagar, the setting surrounding her character is basically “Darling Street” where she lives with her mother and grandmother, Guitar’s place (where she sees Milkman), the mall where she “buys her beauty” products and the hair salon. Since she is not the main character of the novel, Morrison acknowledges the reader of Hagar through the narrator or Milkman’s thoughts in the form of flashbacks. For instance, in Ch. 4 Milkman debates on what to buy Hagar for Christmas without giving her ideas of marriage, then there is a flashback after he starts thinking how Hagar “babied him, ignored him- did anything she felt like” (p. 103) to then transport back to the time they first slept together when she made fun of him by saying “[she] would watch the lump grow in a little boy’s pants” (p. 108) and to finally come back to the present when he does not feel love or interest for her anymore. This happened at her house and it is there in Pilate’s house that most of her appearance takes place. She stays living with her family after her late thirties instead of getting married or moving out, as expected by society. This can be seen as Morrison trying to link the lack of setting given to Hagar as a way to portray Hagar’s lack of coming of age or maturity since she is not too mobile to adventure to other places, this might be also linked to her- not wanting to move away from her mother’s and Pilate’s protection and continue being an eternal spoil child. Finally, it is at the mall, the street on her way home and at her room where she collapses in delirium after...

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