What is a summary of the plot of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison?

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Without taking a deep breath, or even bending his knees--he leaped. As fleet and bright as a lodstar he wheeled toward Guitar and it did not matter which one of them would give up his ghost...For now he knew what Shalimar knew:  If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.

Fictionalizing African-American folklore about the ability of slaves to fly back to Africa if they wanted, Toni Morrison chronicles the search for identity by Milkman Dead, who discovers his identity by tracing his family history. Indeed, Song of Solomon draws upon folklore, myth, and oral history for its plot. In fact, Chapter 1 begins with the motif of flight as an insurance agent named Robert Smith stands atop Mercy Hospital prepares to fly off the building. With this symbolic beginning, Macon Dead (Milkman)III is born in a white hospital as his mother goes into labor in front of the building. Other major characters are also there:  Pilate, the scorned sister of Macon Dead II and Guitar Bains, who lives with his grandmother in one of Macon Dead's tenements. The cruel Macon, Jr., demands payment from his tenants regardless of their circumstances. One tenant, Henry Porter commits suicide; as Macon, Jr., walks home from Porter's place in the slums, he feels compelled to stop at his sister Pilate's home. Milkman--called this because he nursed from his mother past the normal age--hides and watches and listens as his father talks with his sister.

This introduction of family is a significant moment for Milkman, who is unhappy still living at home at the age of thirty-two. He returns to Pilate's house and becomes acquainted with her family, especially her granddaughter Hagar who falls madly...

(The entire section contains 557 words.)

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