Search for Personal Freedom Song of Solomon
Personal freedom is the ability to ignore societal and familial influences to find the true sense of self. Individuals are truly liberated when they are physically, mentally, and spiritually free. The search for personal freedom is exemplified in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. The main protagonist, Milkman achieves personal freedom through attainment of knowledge, by confronting his family, and by overcoming the prejudices of society.
Knowledge is a primary factor in the attainment of personal freedom. This includes not only scholarly education but also awareness of historical heritage and familial legacy. The fact that African-Americans were held in human bondage cannot be forgotten; it has to be remembered and passed on through rememory. Moreover, literacy gives minority cultures a voice to reach out to others with encouragement and hope.
Milkman has a high school education which he took for granted. For Milkman to achieve personal freedom, he needs to search for his ancestral roots. Milkman's father, Macon Dead, Jr., denies Milkman his rememories because Macon assumes that achieving the American Dream means erasing his past. However, as stated above, Morrison believes Milkman has to remember; he has to know his past in order to know his self. His father taught him that Athe one important thing you'll ever need to know: Own things. And let the things you own own other things. Then you'll own yourself and other people too@ (Morrison 55). Macon falsely leads Milkman to believe that "You'll be free. Money is freedom Macon. The only real freedom there is" (163). Milkman buys into his father's fallacy as he too frantically searches for the gold that will supposedly set him free. Up to this point, Milkman is only concerned with drinking, sex and hanging out with his buddies. However, he eventually realizes that money will not satisfy what is missing from his life. He therefore, begins his search for his sense of self. Milkman metamorphosizes after his journey into his ancestral history which gave him the means to become personally free.
A second element essential for personal freedom is the ability to break familial ties that hinder or restrain us on our individual journeys. Milkman had the courage to leave his family to discover his sense of self. Everyone is affected by childhood events, but it is important that these incidents do not prohibit us from discovering our true selves. David Willbern in "Reading After Freud" states that "[p]atterns of expectation, satisfaction and frustration in early life provide templates for the gradual construction and emergence of self" (Willbern 160). Milkman aspires to evolve from their childhood nightmares to actualize their personal freedom.
Although Milkman lived in the Twentieth-Century and is not physically a slave, he is repressed by his family. Milkman's parents love him; however, Morrison refers to their love...