My internal oral presentation topic will be about the representation of flight throughout the book. In the novel, flight is used as a symbol of escape. Each character that chooses to fly means that they were only trying to escape their hardships. The book begins by telling the readers a story of fathers who abandon their children and it later ends with Milkman’s flight. Throughout the novel, we are frequently presented with men who fly off, leaving women behind. Morrison states “He disappeared and left everybody. Wife, everybody, including some twenty-one children. And they all saw him go” (322) As previsouly mentioned flight may be a represenatation of escape, and by escaping your life you usually leave behind certain things. Flight can also further represents escaping from one’s reality.
In Milkman’s case he is escaping from racism and all the things that are holding him down, for example, his relationship with Guitar, his relationship with Hagar and his fear of not being able to fly. Morrison states “Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can’t nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly you gotta give up all the shit that weighs you down” (179). Morrison is trying to deliver a message to us through Guitar and the message is that letting go of everything unnecessary in life is the only way for a person to reach this “flight.” In chapter 8 the author states “I don’t give a shit what white people know or even think slave names don’t bother me, but slave status does.” (160) The author tells us about how Guitar had a plan to kill white people and he also said that his plan was out of love, later in the chapter he revealed that it is about flying away from all the prejudgment and getting freedom from slavery. In chapter 10 Morrison states“ the airplane ride exhilarated him, encouraged illusion and a feeling of invulnerability. High above the clouds” (220). This quote explains how the flight is Milkman’s way to escape from his home and his responsibilities.
Morrison also states “ in the air, away from real life, he felt free, the wings of all those other people’s nightmares flapped in his face constrained him” (220) The author used this quote to state the fact the narrator is telling the readers. In chapter 11 little kids started singing the following song “Jay the only son of Solomon , come booba yalle come Booba tambee, whirl about and touch the sun , come booba yalle come booba yalle”. (264) Milkman heard children near him sing the Song of Solomon and he immediately started remembering the painful memories of his childhood when he was told that he will never be able to fly. Humans have been fascinated with the idea of flight. As one watches a bird fly, he cannot help to want for the same ability. In this chapter, Morrison was constantly telling us how traumatized milkman is by his childhood experience when they told him that he would never be able to fly at such a young age and that fear is one of the many things that is holding him back and that caused him to lose all interest in himself.
Milkman was holding him himself down by letting others control his life. Morrison uses flight as a means of escape to portray not to carry so much weight and eliminate all the bad things that weigh us down. Overall, flying served as a symbol for escaping from life’s hardships.