What is the significance of "flight" in Song of Solomon, and how does the meaning change from the beginning to the end of the novel?
Compare the meaning of flight from the beginning and the end of the novel.
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In the epigraph, flight is spiritual. It is connected to the Negro Spirituals and Gospels that slaves used to sing. The belief in flight as an escape from slavery and as the path of the soul is explored.
In the beginning of the novel, flight is literal. Robert Smith jumps off the roof of Mercy Hospital. Of course, he does not actually fly, but it is a flight from reality, and from servitude. He commits suicide as an escape from the racism and prejudice he experiences. Pilate sings about it, connecting it to the Spirituals.
Flying can also mean abandoning your responsibilities. Robert Smith did, and great-grandfather Solomon did when he returned to Africa.
Pilate’s flight is not so literal. In her songs, she flies to another time and place where her people are free. She connects to a past that never was, freeing the present.
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