Eternal Identity Essay

1095 words - 5 pages

In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the transformation Milkman undergoes when he visits Shalimar to learn about his family history is a critical part of the book which I found difficult to understand and relate to at first. Milkman, the main character, is superficially very different from me, being from a different age group, a different ethnicity, and a different time period. Yet, Milkman’s unspoken quest of self-identity is not one foreign to me. When I lived with my grandparents in China, my grandfather’s devotion to science help me find my own identity and my own goals in life. When I realized that Milkman sees in his family history a sense of identity, I understood why he makes such effort to learn his family’s past and Morrison’s reasoning behind leaving the novel’s ending open to the reader.
On my first reading, I saw only the plot points of the novel. At age 31, Milkman ventures into a cave in search of the lost gold of an old man whom his father killed, motivated by the greed that characterizes his personality. However, when the gold is nowhere to be found, Milkman’s greed seems to have suddenly vanishes and he embarks on a strenuous journey to find out his family history. Milkman’s character seemed fake to me. He makes such an effort to discover his past, which his distant and cold personality has no reason to value. This personality is exemplified when Milkman chooses to focus on his own problems rather than the dangers of racism after the lynching of Emmett Till. During Milkman’s stay in Shalimar, Morrison includes in the plot multiple minor events seemingly unrelated to the ending, including the introduction of the character Sweet, a prostitute who Milkman befriends. Aside from providing Milkman with clues regarding his family history, Sweet’s purpose seemed questionable. The two swim naked in a lake, portraying a naive and intimate relationship that Milkman wouldn’t want. What befuddled me even more was the ending of the novel. At the very end, Milkman leaps off a cliff at his assassin Guitar, but Morrison tells us nothing more about what happens next. Whether Milkman or Guitar dies is left open to the reader. Why would Morrison leave such an important plot point outside of her narration? Finally Milkman’s choice to try to fly off the cliff also seemed unrealistic. Why does he suddenly believe he can fly?
When rereading the Song of Solomon, I noticed how childish Milkman was until the very end of the novel. Milkman, even at age 31, is living with his parents, working for his father, and foreign to intimate relationships. The first time he leaves the protection of his family, he makes rash decisions, getting into bar fights and going hunting without any prior experience with shooting a gun. It is clear that Milkman is not an independent adult despite his age and lacks purpose in his life. He didn’t know what defines him, a key part of growing up.
Unlike Milkman, the first time I faced the question of my goal in life was when I was...

Find Another Essay On Eternal Identity

Search for national identity Essay

1073 words - 4 pages The Search For National Identity Nationalism is the attitude members of a nation have when they care about their national identity. Nationalism can also be the love of a country and the willingness to make sacrifices for it. Just as a person’s identity is affected by other people and the events in their life, a nation is affected the same way. There have been many people and events that have affected the national identity of America. There were

The Nature of Identity Essay

1435 words - 6 pages every single day from after school till ten thirty seems like to much but to me it still seems like I’m missing something still. However, my eternal identity is also a funny, talkative guy who tries his best to get alone with as many people as possible, not because I want to fit in but for the reassurance that I do not have to watch my back because of childish fights. Life is to short to regret and make enemies that are foolish and uneducated. To

Comparing Christianity & Hinduism

988 words - 4 pages both the existent and the nonexistent" (Shattuck) and responsible for establishing the earth, sky and atmosphere the creator and the primary cause of reality in Hinduism. The Question of Identity – There is no sense of identity in Hinduism, because humanities identity is considered part of the ultimate reality. Hinduism believes men and women are manifestations from a "division of Brahman into two aspects one male and one female" (Shattuck). The

Synthesis Essay

977 words - 4 pages stereotypes can be overcome. Education helps an individual to create a self-identity and dissuades them from conforming to the stereotypes that society places on them. “As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish…It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It

θρησκείες VS. الأديان

1032 words - 5 pages faith alone, you can be saved. With a good afterlife Christians believe that you go to an eternal heaven. And with a bad after life you go to an eternal hell. Christians Houses or worships include Churches, Chapels, Cathedral, Basilica, or Meeting Hall. Their day of worship is on Sunday. Their religious leaders include priest, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, pope, pastor, minister, preacher, and deacons. Their major sacred rituals include baptisms

In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

1024 words - 4 pages the novel is not ordinary light, but one that illuminates the void of darkness. Just like the moths that Patrick is intrigued by that only tend toward light at night, Patrick only seeks light when there is none around him. Patrick continues his eternal search for light because he has none of his own to emit. The central theme behind many stories is the loss and regaining of identity. Patrick has no identity of his own, and his only way of


1296 words - 6 pages universe with constantly shifting element. He believes the world is much like fire, is constantly changing, eternal transformation. With this belief, he concluded that everything is flux. In the river example, the philosopher stated that: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” (Classical Wisdom Weekly). No one can step into the river twice without changing the condition. By the speed of

The Idealistic Centerpiece of American Heritage

1771 words - 8 pages “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” are the words that symbolically represent the notion that America is a land that opens its doors of freedom and equality to all. Many individuals from all backgrounds sought this land for its eternal promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, along the way some persons were at odds with finding an American identity due to the color of their skin

Gendered Identity in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act of Union’

585 words - 3 pages Gendered identity in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act of Union’ In 1801, the political Act of Union created a legislative bond between Great Britain and Ireland, bringing Ireland under British control as part of the “United Kingdom”. Within the poem ‘Act of Union’ Heaney draws upon the double meaning of this titular phrase to compare the long lasting effect of this lawful union with an act of sexual domination. Within the work, Heaney anthropomorphizes

Disney Films: The Little Mermaid

1884 words - 8 pages another man with permission from her father. In Andersen’s tale this element is absent; allowing an element of female liberation for the main character that is potentially inspiring for young women, liberation through oneself, not through a man. Ariel is seemingly “incapable of autonomy. Disregarding the motivation of Andersen's original mermaid, who wants human form so that she can gain an eternal identity, Disney has its mermaid take human form so

Personal Identity

2162 words - 9 pages they are exactly the same, then the object itself is the same. God’s identity is indubitable, as he is eternal and unchanging. Finite intelligences and Bodies each have an exact beginning, and when you compare the current finite intelligence or body to its beginning you can understand its identity. An object cannot have two distinct beginnings in time and space, and two objects cannot share in one beginning. As such, finite intelligences and

Similar Essays

Movie: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

1532 words - 7 pages In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stresses the importance of memory and how memories shape a person’s identity. Stories such as “In Search of Lost Time” by Proust and a report by the President’s Council on Bioethics called “Beyond Therapy” support the claims made in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) meet on a train

Philiosophical Analysis Of Eternal Sunshine

1147 words - 5 pages mid-proceedure that he would rather keep these memories as they remind him of how happy he was with her. He does not want to lose her yet he is aware that he is running from an unattainable entity. The realisation of future ignorance compounds his sadness and regret. Eternal Sunshine also explores how memory loss can equate to a loss of identity. Issues of personal identity arise throughout the film and compel the viewer to examine whether

In Order To Reach Nirvana In Buddhism, There Is No Self

1054 words - 5 pages parts. All of these parts however are not an eternal soul however; none of the parts of Nagasena will be reincarnated. The attempt argue this points out that your self is not dependent upon these parts for its existence. Parts of your physical self can be lost and you still retain your identity therefore something must be providing that identity. This does argument does a good job of disputing Nagasena’s argument for no self. My argument

John Locke’s Theory Of Personal Identity

2378 words - 10 pages are exactly the same, then the object itself is the same. God’s identity is indubitable, as he is eternal and unchanging. Finite intelligences and Bodies each have an exact beginning, and when you compare the current finite intelligence or body to its beginning you can understand its identity ( Essay,II,2). An object cannot have two distinct beginnings in time and space, and two objects cannot share in one beginning. As such, finite intelligences