The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon
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The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon
The character Pilate in Song of Solomon is portrayed in the role of a teacher or "guide". She tends to be a spiritual leader as well as a spiritual guide for Milkman and the rest of the society. It could be argued that she is the main cause of Milkman's liberation and better being. She represents the motherly love and gives the spiritual education that Milkman needs, in order to go through the monomyth process. She teaches Milkman the necessities of life not with severity but rather by means of being her own self. Her being connected to her heritage and traditions is also involved in changing Milkman into the hero. Pilate is not the typical teacher that a reader could expect to have in his or her classroom. Pilate is to a certain extent, very mother like and caring towards Milkman. She gives Milkman what he feels he can't get at his rich home, care and affection. When Milkman is alone, it is at Pilate's house that he finds comfort, not only from the people but also from the surroundings of the house. He feels comfortable being in a neighborhood of people that are of lower class than him. Pilate takes on the role of mother to Milkman by showing how a family is supposed to be, which is not divided like his house, but rather caring and loving towards one another, like the environment at Pilate's house. As Joseph Skerrett points out, Pilate does begin teaching Milkman, starting from their very first meeting. Her whole lesson with how the word "hi" sounds like the "dumbest" word and that if someone was to be greeted with a hi, they should "get up and knock you down" seems to get Milkman to notice her. Her role as a parental guide changes to that of one of the teacher and she tries to teach him what is right and wrong. She exemplifies to Milkman how life should be led. She shows him how goals in life should be aimed for and how they should be accomplished. For example, her whole lesson on how to make the perfect egg shows Milkman how even something as little as frying an egg has consequences to it.
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Pilate Song Of Solomon Milkman Motherly Love Lower Class Caring Surroundings Meeting
Through Pilate he learns that big and little things have a purpose and a right way of accomplishing that goal as well as how one should try to set and do it correctly. She also points out to him that while she does sell wine, she never drinks it, because it is only to make a good living condition for her daughter and grandchild rather than to use it for her own advantage. Her wine store shows how she accomplishes her goals without any interference or word-of-mouth, in the city, bothering her at all. Pilate's way of teaching helps Milkman comprehend what she is trying to say or teach without her actually instilling it into his brain. She acts in a way that make him understand what he needs to know. After the robbery of the green bag, Pilate goes to the police station to ask the police to let the two men go. She captures Milkman's attention with her story. He becomes interested in finding out the truth behind the green bag. The fact that Pilate doesn't actually give all of the details behind the green bag is what causes Milkman to begin his journey to self-discovery. Pilate is the cause of Milkman's initiation all the way to his liberation in the monomyth process. She seems to be Milkman's guide. Once Milkman goes to the cave and doesn't find the gold, he decides to take the routes that Pilate took in her life. He follows her path and finds the town of Shalimar. Her experiences "guide" him in understanding who he is and that his great-grandpa could fly. If it hadn't been for her, Milkman wouldn't have ended up in Shalimar, and neither would he have been able to find the kind of love that he did there from Sweet. By tracing Pilate's path Milkman finds his own path and an identity for himself. Pilate's role of teacher and guide often comes into play in the novel. She is there with him when he goes through the important parts of life and helps him learn how to see his own life. It's because of her that he went in search of the gold and found something as priceless as his heritage. Even at the end when Pilate dies, she teaches him to live out of courage and face up to reality. It could be said that it's because of her that he faces Guitar and sacrifices himself for Guitar's sake. She became the benevolent guide for Milkman, helping him conquer his own life and move on to liberation.
The Juxtaposition Of Ruth Foster And Pilate Dead In Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon
Toni Morrison juxtaposes Ruth Foster and Pilate Dead, in Song of Solomon, to highlight the separate roles they play in the protagonist Milkman’s journey.
Early in the novel Morrison, uses the juxtaposition of Ruth Foster and Pilate dead, when she tells of the flight of Mr. Robert Smith from Mercy Hospital. Ruth Foster, not yet described as such, is known as the “dead doctor’s daughter” (5). During this scene her insignificance is made clear, “the rose-petal scramble, got a lot of attention, but the pregnant lady’s moans did not” (5). This scene perfectly embodies Ruth Foster’s character, as diminutive, and unimportant, she also ignores the flight of the Mr. Smith as the pedestrians ignore her and Mr. Smith. On the other hand, Pilate Dead, is the singer in the crowd that notices Mr. Smith’s flight and says, “O Sugarman done fly away” (6), introducing the theme of the novel, flight, and representing her understanding of it, while others remain oblivious. This is important, because this is Milkman’s journey, the discovery of the flight of his people, or the realization of his people’s culture. Pilate, Milkman’s aunt, also foreshadows his “flight”, which is a main theme of the novel, ‘A little bird’ll be here with the morning” (9), whereas his mother, Ruth, says, “It can’t be...It’s too soon,” (9) this shows her role in the novel as keeping Milkman from his flight, while Pilate teaches him he can fly. "Mr. Smith's blue silk wings must have left their mark, because when the little boy discovered, at four, the same thing Mr. Smith had learned earlier - that only birds and airplanes could fly - he lost all interest in himself" (9). Tis loss of flight symbolizes Milkman’s loss of his heritage, which Pilate tries to reinstall in him, and Ruth tries to ignore. Ruth contrasts Pilate as strange, possessive, insipid and obsessive, and acts as the force that keeps Milkman away from his flight, whereas Pilate free spirited, loving, and without anger or bitterness, and acts as the “pilot,” or guiding force for Milkman’s flight.
Ruth’s relationship with her son Milkman, stems from the emotional abuse she receives from her husband Macon Dead II, “His hatred of his wife glittered and sparked in every word he spoke to her” (10). This hatred from her husband causes Ruth to be “stunned into stillness,” (11) and “wholly animated by it” (11). This shows that even though Macon’s hate is debilitating to Ruth, it also keeps her alive, she lives by his hate, stilled or animate. This also shows that because she stays with her husband, she is a passive character and she wishes for the finer comforts. This greed both she, and her husband share, is then passed to Milkman. His journey is based on his salvation from this greed, a greed he learns to give up from Pilate. Ruth's need for love, that she doesn’t have from her husband, and lost when her father died, leads her to her to Milkman, who she unnaturally breast-fed. "It was one of her secret indulgences - the one...
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