Song of Solomon Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

Toni Morrison

Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who does Milkman specifically go to see in Chapter 12 to find out more information about his family? What specifically does he want to know?

2. What is Sing’s relationship to Susan Byrd and her father?

3. What is Susan Byrd’s grandmother’s name?

4. Is it true that it isn’t important for Milkman to find his people?

5. What does Milkman realize the ghost is telling Pilate when it says, “Sing”?

6. Since Pilate doesn’t have a navel, what else does Milkman figure can also be true?

7. What does Milkman realize he’s left behind at Susan Byrd’s house?

8. Why does Guitar try to kill Milkman? Why doesn’t Guitar believe Milkman’s explanation?

9. Why wasn’t Milkman really afraid of being killed by Hagar?

10. What does the reference to the “red man’s house” in the children’s song mean?

Answers
1. Milkman goes to Susan Byrd’s house because he wants to find out about his grandmother, Sing.

2. Sing is Susan Byrd’s aunt. Susan Byrd’s father, Crowell, Byrd is Sing’s brother.

3. Susan Byrd’s grandmother is named Heddy Byrd.

4. No, at this point it is important to Milkman to find his people.

5. Milkman realizes the ghost isn’t asking Pilate to sing (a song); rather the ghost is saying his wife’s name.

6. Because Pilate doesn’t have a navel, Milkman figures that it is possible ghosts can exist.

7. Milkman realizes that Grace Long has kept his watch, but he decides that “a watch is not worth worrying about.”

8. Guitar tries to kill Milkman because he believes Milkman has recovered the gold and is keeping it for himself. Guitar doesn’t believe Milkman’s explanation because, as he knows, Milkman never helped anyone in his life.

9. Milkman didn’t really believe Hagar would succeed in killing him because of her “weapons” and because of a “complete lack of cunning or intelligence even of conviction, in her attacks.”

10. The reference to the “red man’s house” in the children’s song referred to the Indian heritage of the Byrds.