Study Guide

Song of Solomon

by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

Sample Analytical Paper Topics
The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the novel by giving you the opportunity to analyze some of the important themes of Song of Solomon. Following each topic is a sample outline to help direct you to the main points of the topic and to encourage your own ideas.

Topic #1
Milkman goes through several stages in the growing-up process to become a humane and morally-responsible adult. Discuss the most significant turning points in his march toward manhood in Song of Solomon. Explain their impact on Milkman’s character.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Milkman’s progress in becoming a morally-responsible and humane character in Song of Solomon is primarily a result of his becoming educated in his family’s past, in his understanding of nature, and in his new-found respect for women.

II. Learning about his family’s past
A. Pilate’s values as an alternative to Macon’s
B. Milkman’s father did not always have such values
C. His grandfather Jake’s importance to the Shalimar community
D. Finds out Solomon was a flying African

III. Learning from nature
A. Material possessions are useless in nature
B. Man cannot control nature
C. Nature can overpower man
D. Man can communicate with and learn about living from nature

IV. Learning about women
A. Learns Ruth and his sisters are not subservient to men, and do not exist only to nurture men
B. Hagar and other women do not exist solely for his physical pleasure
C. Pilate and Circe (and to a lesser extent, Reba) do not fit in “traditional” gender categories
D. Sweet is Milkman’s first reciprocal relationship

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(The entire section is 739 words.)