The Importance Of Control In Toni Morrison's Song Of Solomon

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Desperate for Control Humans fear what they cannot control. Thus, for their own security and peace of mind, they constantly seek control. The characters in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon are no different. In fact, they feel the instinctive desire for control more poignantly than others because they are African Americans living in the South under white oppression. Because of this situation, characters utilize countless devices to gain feelings of control in their lives. Morrison employs motifs of naming, money, and death to exhibit the many subtle and drastic measures which humans will take to gain control. Both the first gift granted to an individual and the last thing they leave behind on Earth is their name. Accordingly, the one who names or nicknames an individual exerts a significant amount of control over them. The situation through which the Dead family obtains its name begins a long line of poorly chosen, inescapable names. A drunken white man fills out Macon Dead I’s registration papers incorrectly, but Macon is illiterate, so, he does not catch the mistake. If Macon were more learned, he could have exerted some control by noticing the mistake and having it fixed. Instead, he remains oblivious until his wife reads his papers and tells him to keep the name, thus exerting her own control over…show more content…
Morrison uses many devices in Song of Solomon to show how her characters fight against the inevitable to exert even the most insignificant levels of control over their lives. However, as time has proven, attempting to control things such as death and other people is a fruitless enterprise. The majority of the characters who fight for control end up dead or in a similarly tragic condition. But they continue to fight until their very end, accentuating the universal truth that humans are all truly desperate for
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