Dr. Carolyn Ayers
LH105 Origins of Human Thought and Culture
Short Answer (D) Examination
In relation to the character in Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon, Hagar in the Bible is abused and mistreated by Sarai the wife of Abram, much like the way Milkman disrespects Hagar in the novel. Translated as “forsaken” in Hebrew, Hagar represents the victim of a selfish individual’s actions; Sarai sends Hagar into exile after she discovers Abram conceived a child with her despite the fact that Sarai herself was barren, and Milkman uses Hagar as an object of sexual satisfaction rather than a human being with natural rights. He does Hagar a disservice by considering her body “so free, so abundant, it had lost its fervor. There was no excitement, no galloping of blood in his neck or his heart at the thought of her” (91). In the Bible God tells Hagar that her legacy will live on through the descendants of her son Ishmael and “they will be too many to count” (Gen. 16:10). This can also be compared to Song of Solomon by Milkman’s acceptance of Hagar’s death as a result of his immature actions, thus prompting him to carry around a box of her hair as a memorial to her life. Question Two
The novel Song of Solomon is above all else a story of love and the journey of discovering peace within yourself. Morrison seeks to provide a connection not only between her native African folk culture, but also with the corresponding book in the Bible “Song of Songs” otherwise known as “Song of Solomon.” The characters’ names in the story express some of the past grievances each of them carries with them, “names they got from yearnings, gestures, flaws, events, mistakes, weaknesses. Names that bore witness” (330). The use of song as a means of expressing emotions is more effectual than ordinary language, and so this story sings to us about a person’s discovery of love and acceptance of oneself, and furthermore the many lives that were touched as a...
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