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Research Paper - Drury 1 Summer Drury Mrs. Bailey English...

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Drury 1 Summer Drury Mrs . Bailey English 1102 April 2 , 2008 Race, Class, and Identity in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon In Toni Morrison’s novel , Song of Solomon , each of the characters develops differently because of the way race and identity and race and class consciousness are integrated . The main characters are black , and with the setting being in the 1930s, they are highly discriminated against . People today find it much easier to identify themselves with a specific group because the discrimination towards minorities is far less than it was in the 1930s . However, the characters in the book did not have that luxury and were forced to figure out their identities with only the help of the people in their immediate community , with little or no help when they went in search of themselves on their own as Milkman did . Today, race doesn’t automatically specify which social or economic class a person is in as it did in the book . Today, a person of any race, or gender, can work their way to the top and become be a multi-millionaire or be dirt poor and barely hanging on . In the 1930s, class determined all this for each and every person before they were even born. It didn’t matter how much was accomplished in a lifetime , if the color of their skin was black that was how they were viewed by the world . Each of the characters deal with these elements in a different way and it causes them all to turn into different people . Throughout the novel , all of the characters go through obstacles that cause their sense of identity to be lost upon them and their race plays a major part in it . Many of Morrison’s novels have a strong racial theme in them, and she supports other authors who decide to tackle this
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Drury 2 touch subject. In this novel, she doesn’t shy away from the pressures that black people faced before the Civil Rights Act was passed. Rosemary O’Neil author of the article “Toni Morrison Talks About Fiction’s Depiction of Race” from the Chicago Maroon quoted Morrison’s answer to how she describes the lingering racial prejudice and difference, it is because it is “born of ages of political insistence and social habit” (qtd. in O’Neil). This is true for the characters in this novel because they each have to fight the social and political battles of a black person to be heard. The characters have to battle through different complications , both from within and from outside sources , in order to make it through and find themselves at the end of the book. One example of a character trying to find himself in the book is Guitar . Guitar doesn’t like being black , but he accepts it as fact that it can’t be changed. However, since he can’t change the color of his skin , he and a group of other black men decide to try to even out the playing field by killing whites whenever blacks are killed . It is a true case of “an eye for an eye,” as they try to do it on the same day of the week and in the same or similar manner as the black was killed
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Research Paper - Drury 1 Summer Drury Mrs. Bailey English...

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