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The Double Minority In Song Of Solomon

829 words - 3 pages


Typically minority groups are thought of in the context of race; however, a minority group can also consist of gender and class. The struggles facing a minority group complicate further when these different facets of minority categories are combined into what is sometimes called a double minority.  Throughout their writing, African American women have exposed how being a double minority changes the conditions of being a minority. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the African American female characters demonstrate the impact of having a double minority status.

The female characters in Song of Solomon exhibit the difficulties for double minorities. Macon Dead and his family are a prominent, middle-class African American family. Although slavery has been over for a long time, the Dead's house has a feel of a prison. Macon seems to be the master of his house, and the women in his family seem to be trapped under his rule. Macon's control over his family is revealed in these lines:

 

Macon kept each member of his family awkward with fear. His hatred of his wife glittered and sparked in every word he spoke to her. The disappointment he felt in his daughters sifted down on them like ash...The way he mangled their grace, wit, and self-esteem was the single excitement of their days. p. 10-11

 

These sentences give the impression that Macon has killed the spirit of his wife and daughters. His cruelty is an anticipated excitement because that is the only stimulation they have throughout the day. Furthermore, these lines give a sense that the women in the Dead household are voice less and choice less under the money and rule of Macon.

 

Macon's daughter First Corinthians also exemplifies the struggles of African American women. First Corinthians acquires a college education and is well traveled. These seem to be the right tools to get a good job and a good husband. However, because she lacks drive, First Corinthians waits for the job and husband to be handed to her. At the age of forty-two, she realizes that her hopes of getting married are slim, so she decides to seek employment. Despite her education, she does not have the proper qualifications for a teaching job. Consequently, First Corinthians becomes a maid, which she hides from her family. Also, she hides her education from her employer as described in these lines:

Corinthians was naïve, but she was not a complete fool. She never let her mistress know she had ever been to college or Europe or could recognize one...

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