What is the relevance of Pilate having no navel in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison?

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Morrison created several unique and complex characters in her novel Song of Solomon, but one that stands out from the others is the character of Pilate. Pilate's lack of a physical navel represents the rare kind of person she is. Indeed, Pilate subverts seemingly every norm for the time associated with culture, race, or sex. She is financially independent; she raises her daughter and granddaughter alone; she is a bootlegger; she dabbles in occult practices; and she has traveled by herself to several places around the country. Those life experiences, in many ways, shaped her into a character who has developed her own sense of right and wrong and who has created her own private community with her daughter and granddaughter.

In addition to representing a strong being in her own right, Pilate also acts as a character foil for her brother, Macon, in the novel. Macon, although he is unlikeable, is also a very realistic father figure to the main character, "Milkman." The conventionality in...

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