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Free Study Guide for Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

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SONG OF SOLOMON: FREE STUDY GUIDE / FREE BOOK NOTES

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel begins in 1931 and moves forward until 1963. It is set in a large city in Michigan and in the countryside around Danville, Pennsylvania and Shalimar, Virginia.


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Macon "Milkman" Dead
The protagonist of the novel. He is a young African-American man who begins trying to escape from family ties and ends by embracing them.

Macon Dead
Milkmanís father. He is a landlord of poor housing.

Pilate Dead
Maconís sister. She sells wine.

Guitar Baines
Milkmanís best friend. He is one of seven men--called the Seven Days--who kill random European Americans in retaliation for murders of African Americans. In the end he tries to kill Milkman.

Minor Characters

Robert Smith
The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent who tries to fly from the top of Mercy hospital to the other side of Lake Superior. One of the Seven Days.

Ruth Foster Dead
Milkmanís mother.

First Corinthians
Milkmanís sister.x

Magdelena Dead
Milkmanís sister, who is called Lena.

Freddie, the janitor
A man who works for the Deads. He is the one who names Ruthís son Milkman. He is the unofficial town crier.

Mrs. Bains
Guitarís grandmother who asks Macon Dead for an extension on her rent.

Porter
One of Macon Deadís tenants. He goes crazy and cries out his window for a woman to have sex with. He becomes Corinthian Deadís lover years later and is one of the Seven Days.

Reba
Pilateís daughter, who wins prizes and gives gifts away to men.

Hagar
Rebaís daughter, who falls in love with Milkman and loses herself. She tries to kill Milkman when he leaves her and then she dies.

Feather
The man who runs Featherís pool hall. He will not let Milkman enter because he hates Macon Dead.

Railroad Tommy
A man who owns a barbershop with his brother and is one of the Seven Days.


Hospital Tommy
Railroadís brother and partner in the barbershop. He talks like an encyclopedia and is one of the Seven Days.

Empire State
A man who works in the barbershop. He had come back from the war married to a white woman from France. One day he came home and found her with another Black man; he realized she was in love with all Black men, not just him. From that moment, he never spoke again. He is one of the Seven Days.

Michael-Mary Graham
A woman for whom Corinthian works as a maid and then secretary. She is the poet laureate of the city.

Macon Dead
Milkmanís grandfather. He is misnamed during Reconstruction by a drunken northern soldier who asks him who his father is (dead) and in what county he was born (Macon). His original name, Jake, is lost until his grandson finds it in Shalimar, Virginia.

Sing
Milkmanís grandmother. She is a Native American whose family has dispersed in the present generation in an attempt to pass for white.

Reverend Cooper
A man who lives in Danville, Pennsylvania and helps Milkman find Circe.

Nephew
The man who drives Milkman out to the Butlersí house where Circe still lives.

Solomon
The man who owns the general store in Shalimar, Virginia.

Saul
The man who starts a fight with Milkman in Shalimar.

Omar
The old man who asks Milkman to go hunting.

King Walker
The old man whose house is the meeting place for the hunting party.

Luther Solomon, Calvin Breakstone, and Small Boy
Old men in the hunting party.

Vernell
Omarís wife who cooks breakfast for the men when they return from hunting. She remembers stories that Sing was her grandmotherís childhood friend.

Sweet
The woman with whom Milkman stays when he is in Shalimar. She is the first woman whose care he reciprocates.

Susan Byrd
A woman who turns out to be Milkmanís cousin.

Grace Long
A woman who is visiting Susan Byrd when Milkman comes to see her. She flirts with Milkman.


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