• 検索結果がありません。

a god. We can say that she experiences the second birth, getting out of the dark womb by being light by herself. However, as soon as she finally comes into being, she confines herself again in the house of shell because of Sutpen’s rejection. Rosa has been wavering between madness and serenity for forty-three years.

shell following physical contact does not stop her again and Rosa experiences the third, true birth. We can say that the way in which Rosa moves from a grotesque situation (in which she wavers between conflicting values and emotions) to another grotesque (which obscures the division between sexes) is exactly like the grotesqueness of Milkman Dead in Morrison’s Song of Solomon as we will see in the next section.

II Without Ever Leaving the Ground, She Could Fly

1. Introduction

While Faulkner’s Rosa overcomes her inner conflicts when she chooses to be a man by her own free will, Morrison’s Milkman cannot attain masculinity without the sacrifice of women. Morrison’s third novel Song of Solomon, which is dedicated to her “Daddy,” is a challenging work in which Morrison for the first and only time (except for her tenth Home) explores the masculinity of a male protagonist. It is surely a “radical shift” (“Forward” XII) from The Bluest Eye and Sula, that are written from female points of view. Motivated by the death of her own dearly loved father, Morrison writes a “genuinely autobiographical” (Duvall, Identifying 72) novel, which is based on the actual life of her maternal grandfather John Solomon Willis. However, the transition from female voice to male one does not necessarily mean that the novel should be approached from male points of view; rather the important point is that it is concerned with the recovery of masculinity through the conflicts between men and women.

While it is difficult to attach only one meaning to the “flight of Solomon,”

the main subject of the novel, because Morrison makes it ambiguous in the frame

of myth on purpose, the epigraph most clearly demonstrates that we should approach the problem from two points of view: from the fliers (men) and from those left (women). The epigraph bears a double meaning as follows:

The fathers may soar

And the children may know their names

Here, we notice, children grow without knowing their fathers (only their names might be told to their children if mothers let them know) because they leave by themselves. It is a praise for fathers who bravely free themselves from slavery; at the same time, it is also a reproach for leaving their wives and children on the ground, abandoning their responsibilities as a member of family. Left behind mothers have to raise children on their own.

In a sense, the motif of men’s running away from nagging women is counted as one of “traditional” in American novels, which Leslie Fiedler satirically describes as “books that turn from society to nature or nightmare out of a desperate need to avoid the facts of wooing, marriage, and child-bearing” (Fiedler 25). In spite of the fact that Morrison is neither a white nor a male author, her protagonist Milkman is definitely a Fiedlerian character in the sense that he cannot develop desirable relationships with women as an adult man (and his homosocial connection with his best friend Guitar can be added to this). In Song of Solomon, women’s characteristic of restricting men’s freedom is expressed through misogynistic view of Guitar. I will quote at full length as follows:

“And black women, they want your whole self. Love, they call it,

and understanding. ‘Why don’t you understand me?’ What they mean is, Don’t love anything on earth except me. They say, ‘Be responsible,’ but what they mean is, Don’t go anywhere where I ain’t. You try to climb Mount Everest, they’ll tie up your ropes. Tell them you want to go to the bottom of the sea―just for a look―

they’ll hide your oxygen tank. Or you don’t even have to go that far.

Buy a horn and say you want to play. Oh, they love the music, but only after you pull eight at the post office. Even if you make it, even if you stubborn and mean and you get to the top of Mount Everest, or you do play and you good, real good―that still ain’t enough. You blow your lungs out on the horn and they want what breath you got left to hear about how you love them. They want your full attention. Take a risk and they say you not for real. That you don’t love them. They won’t even let you risk your own life, man, your own life―unless it’s over them. You can’t even die unless it’s about them. What good is a man’s life if he can’t even choose what to die for?” (Song of Solomon 222-23)

We see, hinted at in the extract from Guitar’s complaining about black women, how possessive the love of a (black) woman can be, wanting to own the other person she loves. It is likely that Morrison attaches a desire for exclusive possession of the loved other not to men but to women; for example, in Sula, when Sula, a selfless heroine who is indifferent to other people, falls in first love with Ajax, she begins to wait for him and wants to be the sole object of his love, which causes him, a free spirit, to run away from her. Here, we see that Morrison

explores the problem of “owning” oneself and the other person whom he or she loves, which is a dilemma of deep love, a characteristic which Morrison attaches to her female characters. We shall come back to this problem later.

Male voices, however, do not always dominate the story in Song of Solomon; in fact, Morrison’s female characters are not only “monsters of virtue or bitchery, symbols of the rejection of fear of sexuality” (Fiedler 24) but also rise in revolt against the patriarchal oppression of women. An example of this is the angry words of Lena, one of two older sisters of Milkman. When Milkman tells their father that another sister, Corinthians, is secretly meeting a poor man in order to part the two lovers, Lena confesses her accumulating hatred for her father and brother in acid tones:

“Where do you get the right to decide our lives?”

“Lena, cool it. I don’t want to hear it.”

“I’ll tell you where. From that hog’s gut that hungs down between your legs. Well, let me tell you something, baby brother:

you will need more than that. I don’t know where you will get it or who will give it to you, but mark my words, you will need more than that” (Song of Solomon 215).

If we notice that a penis is a phallic symbol of patriarchy, we will find out that Lena’s referring to his penis as a “hog’s gut” plainly shows her biting criticism for patriarchy of her family. The extract above is an important scene in which Lena expresses her true feelings for the first and only time in the story and creates a potential for the decline of patriarchal authority by making a fool of its symbol,

using the figure of the hog’s gut.

Thus, now we understand that the protagonist Milkman gets into a difficult predicament: he is caught up in a struggle between men and women.

When his father and mother make him listen to different versions of their past, he does not know which he should believe, his father’s or mother’s. In this sense, Milkman is “separated” between “Father’s narrative” and “Mother’s narrative,”

like Rosa is separated between patriarchal oppression (of Father’s) and female desires (of Mother’s). Viewed in this light, the common understanding that Song of Solomon is a Bildungsroman in which a young black man acquires his sense of self through finding strong connection with his ancestor takes on another aspect; that is to say, the novel is a story of feminized protagonist who recovers masculinity by finding out that he belongs to his fathers.

The purpose of this section is to explore conflicts between diametrical opposite values in Song of Solomon, which lead to Milkman’s recovering masculinity in the end. With struggles between men and women being at the base, various factors clash in the story; the way in which values goes back and forth between two opposites, arriving at neither one is what I call grotesque. While we concentrated on the conflicts within one character (Rosa) in Absalom, Absalom!, confrontations between binary oppositions in the story, involving several characters are our objects of study with Morrison: the conflicts between fathers and mothers, femininity and masculinity, race and individual, love and violence, hunting and wilderness, and flying and being earth bound. The ambiguities in those motifs make Song of Solomon a masterpiece by Morrison in basically a similar way to Absalom, Absalom!