Aisha Rapant
Capsule 1
Song of Solomon

Flipped Meanings

Throughout centuries, the colors black and white have been used in literature to signify differences in situations and characters. Typically, black represents darkness, sadness, and evil, while white represents lightness, innocence, truth, and overall good. In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison represents the two colors differently, making you understand the significance of the story. Black is considered normality, and white almost always is lead to something terrible.
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, whom 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 sort of thought 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. There's a general hatred seen towards the man after. Also, I see significance in Milkman's name as well. Even though his name represents purity and simplicity, him as an individual is self-centered and very materialistic, going along with the luxurious life he's lived.
In addition to the characters, animals are directly related to the symbol of whiteness. Both the white bull and peacock had not so pure meaning behind them. First of all, the bull created the fate of Freddie's mother, whom died giving birth to him as she saw a police officer walking towards her that eventually turned into the white bull. The encounters between the divided subject in the book make whites seem powerful, and not in a good way. Finally, there was the incident with Milkman, Guitar, and the white peacock. Chasing, and wanting to catch this bird was a straight reference to the books epigraph, "The fathers may soar and the children may know their names." The peacock is all fancied-up; not allowing it to take flight. In this book, flight means freedom. This mainly relates to Milkman, when Guitar states, "Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can't nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down (179)."Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.