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 flight carried him away from Michigan’s lifeless and lonesome community which housed Not Doctor Street, and allowed him to escape from his inherited heritage of hatred, mishap, and misery. Milkman soon becomes free but as a result Hagar was not. Flight has its consequences. Milkman was liberated from the life he so desperately dreads. All that he left behind was dead and could not know of life – of freedom. Hagar, who shared Milkman’s misery, would suffer death from being separated from a man who chose freedom at the expense of her life.
Throughout the novel, connections are made between that of flight and that of abandonment. There is clearly a price for freedom. It just isn’t free, It costs a...