The Theme of Flight in Song of Solomon
Themes are fundamental and often universal ideas in a literary work. The epigraph to Song of Solomon, “The fathers may soar, and the children may know their names” is the first reference to one of the novel’s most important theme flight. Flight can be an escape from constricting circumstances. However, the person fleeing can deliberately or unintentionally cause misfortune for those who are left behind. Flight allows an individual to escape from persecution of his/her past and/or from his/her own innate diabolical demons. Flight is symbolic of a soul free from bondage and a life free from constraints that cripple and rob a person of self worth, dignity, and pride.
In the novel Song of Solomon, flight provided Solomon with the leverage to escape from slavery and to flee from the cotton fields controlled by the Virginian aristocrats. However, his escape would prove to be at the expense of others. Solomon abandoned his wife Ryan and left her to care for their twenty-one children. Milkman’s
Although Milkman is flawed, his family loves him unconditionally. Pilate is able to continue being a literal reference of flying. This racism that has afflicted his ancestors is the root of why Milkman carries these selfish desires. "O Solomon don"tmt leave me here" describes Ryna"tms descent into desperation and madness as Solomon prepares for his flight. Prior to this transformation, Milkman is a selfish young man who lacks any consideration for others. In learning about Solomon"tms story, Milkman learns pieces of his own, allowing him finally to fly free literally and figuratively. The birds circling over Pilate"tms body after she is killed by Guitar"tms bullet suggest that physical death is not the end of her existence. Many African Americans took the Song of Solomon literally from the bible. It was their way of escaping from slavery through the written word. Even in death, flight remains the symbol of life. When Milkman returns home liberated his faith in flight is restored culturally and spiritually. She found freedom in discovering her own self worth and in freeing others. The theme of male liberation coming at the expense of female oppression is reflected in Milkman"tms relationship with, Hagar. So Milkman then begins his flight to Shalimar, the sight of Solomon"tms flight toward liberty.