Personal freedom can be characterized to be the predilection that discounts ancestral and societal beliefs so that one may find themself.. In Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon, there is a strong theme of fight for freedom advocating Thomas C. Foster’s chapter “Flights of Fancy” in his novel How to Read Like a Professor. The authors’ uses of asserting metaphor flight as a metaphor and incendiary role that facilitates different understandings of the flight theme. The complexity of the flight motif in Toni Morrison’s novel requires the use of several literary-theoretical frameworks, such as allusion, to support the structure of magical realism and the practice of marginalization in Foster’s entirety of the theme “flight is freedom” (Foster 136).
Morrison puts the universality of flight as one of the human impulses that can be found in Western, African and Afro-American culture, thus providing validity to its characters and their ability to fly. The motif of flying begins with Solomon’s epigraph which tells “the fathers may soar… And the children may know their names” (Morrison 171). This quote can be noted to support the theme of flight as a way of escape or freedom.. While flight can represent itself as a way of freedom from situations, this can wound the ones left abaft. Solomon’s flight game him the opportunity to flee from slavery, but in return, he had to abandon his only wife with the responsibility over twenty-one of his children. While Milkman’s (Solomon’s son) flight from Michigan frees him from the dead environment and slave encryption of Virginia, his flight is also selfish because he leaves Pilate (Milkman’s aunt) there in isolation causing her to leap to her death. The novel’s epigraph attempts to build the connection between flight and freedom by including the hardships and conformity slaves and African Americans abided to and how this affected them.
The comprehensive handling of flying as something actual and not only just a metaphorical occurrence drives Song of Solomon to the influence of biblical archetypes (magical realism). The characters in Morrison’s novel accept human flight as common and normal. As an example, bystanders come by to watch Pilate’s “flight.” This motivates her instead of preventing her upsurge, showing that the bystanders do not see this as an attempt to suicide: “Milkman closed his eyes and opened them. The street was even more crowded with people… After a while he realized that nobody was walking on the other side of the street” (Morrison 220). The onlookers behave as though Pilate’s flight for freedom might have been possible. The novel applies magical realism to its context because it pictures the idea of human flight as common and normal. Foster bolsters this idea stating, “What does it mean to say that someone who remains physically earthbound has been able to fly? It’s spiritual…” (Foster 135). “Flight is imagination… flight is freedom” (Foster 136).