In the novel, Toni Morrison has vividly depicted the theme of women and their place in society. Women in Song of Solomon demonstrate obsession in their love of the men in their lives and rely on them for shelter and protection. As depicted in the book, it is typical to observe women confined in their marriages and social positions while striving to survive. Morison shows that while men are associated with flying and fleeing, women demonstrate loyalty to their husbands. In some occasion, women experience loss of their lovers and therefore prevented to embrace sexual expression and love. The author further portrays women as substantially dependent on their husbands for both financial and emotional assistance. She succeeds in doing so through the characters such as Macon Dead II and his wife, Ruth.
Marriage in Song of Solomon
Inside the Macon household, there is a table and on this table is a large watermark, which Ruth uses for assurance she is alive. Emotionally, Macon Dead II has abandoned Ruth to the point where she needs a physical reminder that she is alive. They stopped sleeping together in their 20's when the girls were just toddlers. The Macon's have this dining table which bears a watermark she intentionally lets get there. As the keeper of the lighthouse and the prisoner, she regarded it as a mooring checkpoint, some stationary, visible object that assured her the world was still there and that this was life and not a dream. Ruth and Macon's marriage can be compared to a lighthouse and its prisoner. Notably, the lighthouse is the marriage and Ruth is the prisoner. As depicted, Ruth is demonstrating passiveness towards Macon. Her apathy shows her emotional abandonment because marriage is about compromise not giving completely into the other person. Other than these, Milkman has been taught by his father about ways of pissing women off. In other words, women in the Song of Solomon are observed as people who can be put in a certain periphery of the mind. It is depicted in the passage below:
He didn't mean it. It happened before he was through. She stepped away from him to pick flowers, returned, and at the sound of her footsteps behind him, head turned around before he was through. It was becoming a habit-this concentration on things behind him. Almost as though there were no futures to be had (Chapter 2).
Motif of Weak Women in Song of Solomon
Conceivably, The Macon is on a road trip going to look at beach houses, and Milkman needs to use the bathroom. "I guess we better stop," Ruth says out loud. Macon does not slow down the car. Later on, Macon glances at her in the mirror and slows down. "Whos going to take him?" Ruth fiddled with the door handle. "Not you," Macon said to her. Ruth looked at her husband, parted her lips but did not utter anything (34-35). Ruth was going to take Milkman, but her husband refused thereby making him stay there. Milkman urinates on himself inside the car. Ruth didn't try to argue or fight back. It shows how passive and emotionally weak she is.
With nobody touching her or even looking as though they do like to touch her (125), Ruth was emotionally abandoned as she wanted someone to return the love she had been giving out. In actuality, the thought of having to proceed in that state for the rest of her life frightened her. If her husband emotionally supported her, she would have been happier. Ruth's husband has physically abandoned her but continued to remain together for the duration of the book. It illustrates that in this marriage, the couples had not been together romantically in two decades. Morrison is trying to show this through the relationship of Ruth and Macon Dead II. He demonstrates that women rely substantially on men for making their lives happy. In this sense, the fulfillment of Pilate's character is the symbol of strength, empowerment and strong women in the Song of Solomon. Ruth continually seeks out Pilates advice. It is crucial to the story because, without Pilate, Milkman would not have been born. Pilate assisted her not to depend on her husband for support in a time of need. In its actuality, this illustrates that Pilate is a tool for the author's motive of spreading the word about women being substantially dependent on their husbands. Pilate advises the two women to leave Milkman alone because he dislikes them. They are demonstrating reliance on men for support, and Pilate is going against it. Later, Morrison makes a connection to strength and Pilate through Ruth and Macon.
Role of Women in Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison substantially utilizes her character to depict various themes such as personal determination and motive. Her analysis of the marriage between Macon and Ruth adequately represents the theme of women abandonment. Ultimately, she uses the relationship between the couples to show the dependence of women on their husbands. Through her character, Pilate acts as a symbol of the strength of women. Abandonment is not just a physical circumstance but can also be a mental or emotional state, which is something that people should keep in mind when interacting with others.
In Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, different women characters such as Pilate are depicted as the heroine. In reality, Pilate encounters a series of events that play a crucial role in her life, by shaping her personality and freedom for pursuing different decisions in the environment she lives in. Ideally, she succeeds in developing a foundation for her life from the moment she is born. At first, she is a washwoman but later becomes a successful entrepreneur. Contrary to Macon, who acquires his wealth through family inheritance particularly from Ruth, Pilate demonstrates supernatural abilities where he strives to complete her life journey without receiving any reinforcement from other people. In reality, she is a courageous woman who accepts the whole responsibility of her life and her future life. Despite being a white or male, her achievements are both discounted and go unrecognized by the black community.
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