Aisha Rapant
Essay
Song of Solomon

Flipped Meanings

Darkness represents evil and dishonesty and whiteness represents good, purity and honesty, right? In the novel Song of Solomon , Toni Morris uses her unique style of writing to portray the two colors differently . Within the setting of the story, taking place during the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movemen t of African Americans, Morris makes clear the racial division of the people throughout the use of symbolism .
The name of the protagonists in this novel have interesting names, and when thought about, have an irony to them . Milkman and Guitar are very good friends, but are almost complete opposites . When you think of milk, it's a very simple, white, pure, healthy substance . It pours smooth, and is made to be an important source of vitamins to most people . However, in the story, Milkman is not that . Milkman was a colored boy born into his wealth as a child, and was raised surrounded by money . His father wanted him to join the real-estat e business, and his mother wanted him to go to business school . Within his own personality, he is also very materialistic, self-centered, and close-minded to women, anyone inferior to him, and the division of race . Even though it looks like he must have it going good for himself, he is not content with himself . You could almost call him spiritually dead . Milk will go "wherever the party is", and eventually sets out on a quest for gold because he isn't happy . On the other hand, Guitar is Milkman's mentor . When you think of Guitars, you might see the dark imperfections of the wood, or how loud it is . It takes a while to master such an intricate instrument . In contrast, Guitar grew up in poverty in the South . Because of this setting, Guitar has a keen sense of awareness, and tends to be someone to look up to . "Wise and kind and fearless", he is said to be to Milkman . In fact, you can say that Guitar was the instrument in helping Milkman achieve freedom later in the novel .
The characters, themselves, even represent this idea . It is very much prevalent in The Seven Days . This is a formed hate group of black men, including Guitar . The idea of whites killing blacks infuriates them so much that they reciprocate, and punish the white person the same way . To them, the same hateful acts and violence are deemed worse than if a black person initially committed it . It's not the act of violence that is seen as infuriating, it's the fact that it's coming from a white person . This thought of general hatefulness is also seen briefly through Guitar's interactions after the saw mill accident with his father . The mill's white foreman offers the family almost no sympathy or financial support for his loss . Instead of life insurance, the man gave his mother fourth dollars, and what was bought from it was a peppermint stick "'to tide you and them kids over . '" The action of that alone was enough to make Guitar feel sick . There is a general hatred seen towards the man after . Tension often arises between white and colored individuals, but the most evil seems to stem from white individuals .
Coming off from the peppermint sick given to Guitar in compensation with his father's death, many items in the story associating white, and dark colors create the sense of diversity and represent the time period . Within the peppermint sick, the colors were described as "bone-white and blood-red" , and in a spiral . This story can go back to the times of Malco m X and Martin Luther King Jr during the racial fight for inequality between colors and blacks . While Martin spread the idea of non-violence, Malcom X condemned the use of violence to gain back the rights of the colored . The red in the candy represents the blood and hardships within this revolution, and the white represents those who tried