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Discuss the significance of the supernatural in Song of Solomon.

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linda111 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM via web

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Discuss the significance of the supernatural in Song of Solomon.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 4, 2013 at 8:03 PM (Answer #1)

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This novel almost could be considered an example of magic realism through its inclusion of human flight, which is accepted as being real by the characters in the text. The importance of this however, is to examine the impact of flight on both the person escaping and the people they leave behind. Note how Solomon's escape meant abandoning his wife, Ryna, with twenty-one children. In a similar vein, Milkman's flight is good for him, but it is also portrayed as being incredibly selfish, as Hagar dies of heartbreak as a result. The epigraph of this novel helps disrupt the relationship between flight and abandonment:

The feathers may soar

And the children may know their names.

Pilate is unique among the characters who learn to fly because she is able to fly without actually leaving the ground. She, unlike the other characters who have mastered human flight, is able to both raise herself above racism and oppression whilst also not abandoning those who are nearest and dearest to her. The novel ends with flight becoming a symbol for self-identity and respect rather than just a literal escape that leaves wounds in those who are left behind and abandoned. This is the most important aspect of the supernatural in this excellent and challenging novel.


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