The novel, Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison illustrates Milkman maturing, who in the beginning is the representation of an undeveloped young man living freely. Soon, however, while wanting to satisfy his malicious, self-centered father, he begins to go on a quest for his Aunt Pilate’s gold and is appalled to contrive more through his experiences. Through the folktales he finds himself on a spiritual journey lead by Pilate and her singing, for his individuality and heritage entice him into going on a quest to learn more about his family legacy. Throughout his expedition, he recognizes the vital relation between his past and future.
Before Milkman begins his journey, he notices a white peacock which is a symbol of arrogance. The colors within the peacock maintain its narcissism, meaning that the coarse animal is a comparison of American society where the white male are superior. The peacock also cannot fly, representing Milkman’s inability to have freedom considering he is held down by his family expectations and being unable to discover his identity and withholding all troubles because of his lack of guidance.
Milkman’s relationship with Hagar was exciting to him because he had never encountered anyone like her before. She is unique in her way considering that the relationship between women in the novel is not discovered, while also depicting how Hagar connects with others. After Milkman begins his quest, he decides his women, Hagar, is of no use to him anymore. His portrayal of their long-term relationship being a cheap sexual affair that has lost its gleam, his use of rude language to describe the relationship, and his cruel connotations to Hagar reveals his thoughtlessness and disregard for Hagar’s feelings because of his lack of maturity. Hagar is persuaded that Milkman has abandoned her because she does not meet his expectations of the perfect woman, thus, determines to change herself into what she imagines as Milkman’s image of an “ideal woman.” Milkman’s decision to travel to Danville for Pilate’s gold demonstrates that he is not only in search for a bag of gold but to find his identity and ancestry.
In Danville, Milkman meets Reverend Cooper, a family friend, who leads him to the cave containing Pilate’s gold. Milkman’s encounter with Reverend Cooper embark turning point in ‘his’ development of his identity. Milkman is welcomed by his father’s inheritance and people. Through the fatigue, immersed in nature, deprived of the weight of certain belongings, Milkman’s body is left without spiritual guidance, knowledge, or development. Throughout his journey, he encounters many people whom inform him about his past family members. Susan Byrd is humiliated of her heritage and is embarrassed of being linked with Milkman; however, she delivers crucial information about his family. She informs him of Solomon’s flight. The flight overwhelmed Ryna and was left to her to raise so twenty-one children on herown. When Milkman first visited Susan, she was unwilling to give him any information about his family history. However, during the second visit, Susan is much more eager to converse with her cousin and tells him about the legend of Solomon’s Leap.
Milkman and Pilate travel to Virginia to bury Macon Dead’s bones, which is shown near the cliff of Solomon’s leap. Solomon leaped to freedom leaving all his loved ones and belongings behind. Milkman to comforted Pilate before her last breath by singing Solomon’s songs. After Pilate dies in Milkman’s arms, Milkman stands up in anger, fearless of Guitar to prove his growth in maturity and bravery. Milkman discovered his identity, and realizes it is his duty to follow through with his family’s name.