Read pages 162-186 and write a journal entry from the perspective of a character in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Read pages 162-186 and write a journal entry from the perspective of a character in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I have provided the book below and the worksheet. The worksheet is “Song Of Solomon.docx”. Complete the work on that. It has to be a paragraph. More instrucions on the worksheet.Book Title: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
So a lot more happened in pages 162-186 … a cave murder, a ghost, gold, a mysterious white peacock, a
secret relationship, an arrest, human bones, a quiet sister confronts her mean brother…. Tiger King aint
got NOTHIN’ on Song of Solomon!
B- Write a journal entry from the perspective of a character in Song of
Solomon (Corinthians, Milkman, Guitar).
Dear Diary,
Title Page
Part I
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Part II
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
About the Author
Also by Toni Morrison
Also by Toni Morrison
Acclaim for Toni Morrison’s
The fathers may soar
And the children may know their names
I have long despised artists’ chatter about muses—“voices” that speak to them
and enable a vision, the source of which they could not otherwise name. I
thought of muses as inventions to protect one’s insight, to avoid questions like
“Where do your ideas come from?” Or to escape inquiry into the fuzzy area
between autobiography and fiction. I regarded the “mystery” of creativity as a
shield erected by artists to avoid articulating, analyzing, or even knowing the
details of their creative process—for fear it would fade away.
Writing Song of Solomon destroyed all that. I had no access to what I
planned to write about until my father died. In the unmanageable sadness that
followed, there was none of the sibling wrangling, guilt or missed
opportunities, or fights for this or that memento. Each of his four children was
convinced that he loved her or him best. He had sacrificed greatly for one,
risking his house and his job; he took another to baseball games over whole
summers where they lay in the grass listening to a portable radio, talking,
evaluating the players on the field. In the company of one, his firstborn, he
always beamed and preferred her cooking over everyone else’s, including his
wife’s. He carried a letter from me in his coat pocket for years and years, and
drove through blinding snow-storms to help me. Most important, he talked to
each of us in language cut to our different understandings. He had a flattering
view of me as someone interesting, capable, witty, smart, high-spirited. I did
not share that view of myself, and wondered why he held it. But it was the
death of that girl—the one who lived in his head—that I mourned when he
died. Even more than I mourned him, I suffered the loss of the person he
thought I was. I think it was because I felt closer to him than to myself that,
after his death, I deliberately sought his advice for writing the novel that
continued to elude me. “What are the men you have known really like?”
He answered.
Whatever it is called—muse, insight, inspiration, “the dark finger that
guides,” “bright angel”—it exists and, in many forms, I have trusted it ever
The challenge of Song of Solomon was to manage what was for me a
radical shift in imagination from a female locus to a male one. To get out of
the house, to de-domesticate the landscape that had so far been the site of my
work. To travel. To fly. In such an overtly, stereotypically male narrative, I
thought that straightforward chronology would be more suitable than the kind
of play with sequence and time I had employed in my previous novels. A
journey, then, with the accomplishment of flight, the triumphant end of a trip
through earth, to its surface, on into water, and finally into air. All very sagalike. Old-school heroic, but with other meanings. Opening the novel with the
suicidal leap of the insurance agent, ending it with the protagonist’s
confrontational soar into danger, was meant to enclose the mystical but
problematic one taken by the Solomon of the title.
I have written, elsewhere and at some length, details of how certain
sentences get written and the work I hope they do. Let me extrapolate an
example here.
“The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from
Mercy to the other side of Lake Superior at 3:00.”
This declarative sentence is designed to mock a journalistic style. With a
minor alteration it could be the opening of an item in a small town newspaper.
It has the tone of an everyday event of minimal local interest, yet I wanted it
to contain important signs and crucial information. The name of the insurance
company is that of a well-known black-owned company dependent on black
clients, and in its corporate name are “life” and “mutual.” The sentence starts
with “North Carolina” and closes with “Lake Superior”—geographical
locations that suggest a journey from south to north—a direction common for
black immigration and in the literature about it, but which is reversed here
since the protagonist has to go south to mature. Two other words of
significance are “fly” and “mercy.” Both terms are central to the narrative:
flight as escape or confrontation; mercy the unspoken wish of the novel’s
population. Some grant it; some despise it; one makes it the sole cry of her
extemporaneous sermon upon the death of her granddaughter. Mercy touches,
turns, and returns to Guitar at the end of the book, and moves him to make it
his own final gift to his former friend. Mercy is what one wishes for Hagar;
what is unavailable to and unsought by Macon Dead, senior; what his wife
learns to demand from him, and what the townsfolk believe can never come
from the white world, as is signified by the inversion of the name of the
hospital from Mercy to “No-Mercy.” But the sentence turns, as all sentences
do, on its verb. “Promise.” The insurance agent does not declare, announce, or
threaten his act; he promises, as though a contract is being executed between
himself and others. He hopes his flight, like that of the character in the title,
toward asylum (Canada, or freedom, or the company of the welcoming dead),
or home, is interpreted as a radical gesture demanding change, an alternative
way, a cessation of things as they are. He does not want it understood as a
simple desperate act, the end of a fruitless life, a life without examination, but
as a deep commitment to his people. And in their response to his decision
there is a tenderness, some contrition, and mounting respect (“They didn’t
know he had it in him”), an awareness that his suicide enclosed, rather than
repudiated them. The note he leaves asks for forgiveness. It is tacked on his
door as a modest invitation to who-ever might pass by.
Of the flights in the novel, Solomon’s is the most magical, the most
theatrical, and, for Milkman, the most satisfying. Unlike most mythical
flights, which clearly imply triumph, in the attempt if not the success,
Solomon’s escape, the insurance man’s jump, and Milkman’s leap are
ambiguous, disturbing. Solomon’s escape from slavery is also the
abandonment of his family; the insurance man leaves a message saying his
suicide is a gesture of love, but guilt and despair also inform his decision.
Milkman believes he is risking his life in return for Pilate’s, yet he knows his
enemy has disarmed himself. These flights, these erstwhile heroics, are
viewed rather differently by the women left behind. Both the quotation and
the song of the title fairly shout that different understanding. To praise a
woman whose attention was focused solely on family and domestic
responsibilities, Milkman summons a conundrum: that without ever leaving
the ground she could fly. My father laughed.
Part I
Chapter 1
The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from Mercy
to the other side of Lake Superior at three o’clock. Two days before the event
was to take place he tacked a note on the door of his little yellow house:
At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 18th of February, 1931, I will take off
from Mercy and fly away on my own wings. Please forgive me. I loved
you all.
(signed) Robert Smith,
Ins. agent
Mr. Smith didn’t draw as big a crowd as Lindbergh had four years earlier—
not more than forty or fifty people showed up—because it was already eleven
o’clock in the morning, on the very Wednesday he had chosen for his flight,
before anybody read the note. At that time of day, during the middle of the
week, word-of-mouth news just lumbered along. Children were in school;
men were at work; and most of the women were fastening their corsets and
getting ready to go see what tails or entrails the butcher might be giving away.
Only the unemployed, the self-employed, and the very young were available
—deliberately available because they’d heard about it, or accidentally
available because they happened to be walking at that exact moment in the
shore end of Not Doctor Street, a name the post office did not recognize.
Town maps registered the street as Mains Avenue, but the only colored doctor
in the city had lived and died on that street, and when he moved there in 1896
his patients took to calling the street, which none of them lived in or near,
Doctor Street. Later, when other Negroes moved there, and when the postal
service became a popular means of transferring messages among them,
envelopes from Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia began to arrive
addressed to people at house numbers on Doctor Street. The post office
workers returned these envelopes or passed them on to the Dead Letter
Office. Then in 1918, when colored men were being drafted, a few gave their
address at the recruitment office as Doctor Street. In that way, the name
acquired a quasi-official status. But not for long. Some of the city legislators,
whose concern for appropriate names and the maintenance of the city’s
landmarks was the principal part of their political life, saw to it that “Doctor
Street” was never used in any official capacity. And since they knew that only
Southside residents kept it up, they had notices posted in the stores,
barbershops, and restaurants in that part of the city saying that the avenue
running northerly and southerly from Shore Road fronting the lake to the
junction of routes 6 and 2 leading to Pennsylvania, and also running parallel
to and between Rutherford Avenue and Broadway, had always been and
would always be known as Mains Avenue and not Doctor Street.
It was a genuinely clarifying public notice because it gave Southside
residents a way to keep their memories alive and please the city legislators as
well. They called it Not Doctor Street, and were inclined to call the charity
hospital at its northern end No Mercy Hospital since it was 1931, on the day
following Mr. Smith’s leap from its cupola, before the first colored expectant
mother was allowed to give birth inside its wards and not on its steps. The
reason for the hospital’s generosity to that particular woman was not the fact
that she was the only child of this Negro doctor, for during his entire
professional life he had never been granted hospital privileges and only two
of his patients were ever admitted to Mercy, both white. Besides, the doctor
had been dead a long time by 1931. It must have been Mr. Smith’s leap from
the roof over their heads that made them admit her. In any case, whether or
not the little insurance agent’s conviction that he could fly contributed to the
place of her delivery, it certainly contributed to its time.
When the dead doctor’s daughter saw Mr. Smith emerge as promptly as he
had promised from behind the cupola, his wide blue silk wings curved
forward around his chest, she dropped her covered peck basket, spilling red
velvet rose petals. The wind blew them about, up, down, and into small
mounds of snow. Her half-grown daughters scrambled about trying to catch
them, while their mother moaned and held the underside of her stomach. The
rose-petal scramble got a lot of attention, but the pregnant lady’s moans did
not. Everyone knew the girls had spent hour after hour tracing, cutting, and
stitching the costly velvet, and that Gerhardt’s Department Store would be
quick to reject any that were soiled.
It was nice and gay there for a while. The men joined in trying to collect
the scraps before the snow soaked through them—snatching them from a gust
of wind or plucking them delicately from the snow. And the very young
children couldn’t make up their minds whether to watch the man circled in
blue on the roof or the bits of red flashing around on the ground. Their
dilemma was solved when a woman suddenly burst into song. The singer,
standing at the back of the crowd, was as poorly dressed as the doctor’s
daughter was well dressed. The latter had on a neat gray coat with the
traditional pregnant-woman bow at her navel, a black cloche, and a pair of
four-button ladies’ galoshes. The singing woman wore a knitted navy cap
pulled far down over her forehead. She had wrapped herself up in an old quilt
instead of a winter coat. Her head cocked to one side, her eyes fixed on Mr.
Robert Smith, she sang in a powerful contralto:
O Sugarman done fly away
Sugarman done gone
Sugarman cut across the sky
Sugarman gone home….
A few of the half a hundred or so people gathered there nudged each other
and sniggered. Others listened as though it were the helpful and defining
piano music in a silent movie. They stood this way for some time, none of
them crying out to Mr. Smith, all of them preoccupied with one or the other of
the minor events about them, until the hospital people came.
They had been watching from the windows—at first with mild curiosity,
then, as the crowd seemed to swell to the very walls of the hospital, they
watched with apprehension. They wondered if one of those things that racialuplift groups were always organizing was taking place. But when they saw
neither placards nor speakers, they ventured outside into the cold: whitecoated surgeons, dark-jacketed business and personnel clerks, and three
nurses in starched jumpers.
The sight of Mr. Smith and his wide blue wings transfixed them for a few
seconds, as did the woman’s singing and the roses strewn about. Some of
them thought briefly that this was probably some form of worship.
Philadelphia, where Father Divine reigned, wasn’t all that far away. Perhaps
the young girls holding baskets of flowers were two of his virgins. But the
laughter of a gold-toothed man brought them back to their senses. They
stopped daydreaming and swiftly got down to business, giving orders. Their
shouts and bustling caused great confusion where before there had been only
a few men and some girls playing with pieces of velvet and a woman singing.
One of the nurses, hoping to bring some efficiency into the disorder,
searched the faces around her until she saw a stout woman who looked as
though she might move the earth if she wanted to.
“You,” she said, moving toward the stout woman. “Are these your
The stout woman turned her head slowly, her eyebrows lifted at the
carelessness of the address. Then, seeing where the voice came from, she
lowered her brows and veiled her eyes.
“Send one around back to the emergency office. Tell him to tell the guard
to get over here quick. That boy there can go. That one.” She pointed to a cateyed boy about five or six years old.
The stout woman slid her eyes down the nurse’s finger and looked at the
child she was pointing to.
“Guitar, ma’am.”
The nurse gazed at the stout woman as though she had spoken Welsh. Then
she closed her mouth, looked again at the cat-eyed boy, and lacing her fingers,
spoke her next words very slowly to him.
“Listen. Go around to the back of the hospital to the guard’s office. It will
say ‘Emergency Admissions’ on the door. A-D-M-I-S-I-O-N-S. But the guard
will be there. Tell him to get over here—on the double. Move now. Move!”
She unlaced her fingers and made scooping motions with her hands, the palms
pushing against the wintry air.
A man in a brown suit came toward her, puffing little white clouds of
breath. “Fire truck’s on its way. Get back inside. You’ll freeze to death.”
The nurse nodded.
“You left out a s, ma’am,” the boy said. The North was new to him and he
had just begun to learn he could speak up to white people. But she’d already
gone, rubbing her arms against the cold.
“Granny, she left out as.”
“And a ‘please.’”
“You reckon he’ll jump?”
“A nutwagon do anything.”
“Who is he?”
“Collects insurance. A nutwagon.”
“Who is that lady singing?”
“That, baby, is the very last thing in pea-time.” But she smiled when she
looked at the singing woman, so the cat-eyed boy listened to the musical
performance with at least as much interest as he devoted to the man flapping
his wings on top of the hospital.
The crowd was beginning to be a little nervous now that the law was being
called in. They each knew Mr. Smith. He came to their houses twice a month
to collect one dollar and sixty-eight cents and write down on a little yellow
card both the date and their eighty-four cents a week payment. They were
always half a month or so behind, and talked endlessly to him about paying
ahead—after they had a preliminary discussion about what he was doing back
so soon anyway.
“You back in here already? Look like I just got rid of you.”
“I’m tired of seeing your face. Really tired.”
“I knew it. Soon’s I get two dimes back to back, here you come. More
regular than the reaper. Do Hoover know about you?”
They kidded him, abused him, told their children to tell him they were out
or sick or gone to Pittsburgh. But they held on to those little yellow cards as
though they meant something—laid them gently in the shoe box along with
the rent receipts, marriage licenses, and expired factory identification badges.
Mr. Smith smiled through it all, managing to keep his eyes focused almost the
whole time on his customers’ feet. He wore a business suit for his work, but
his house was no better than theirs. He never had a woman that any of them
knew about and said nothing in church but an occasional “Amen.” He never
beat anybody up and he wasn’t seen after dark, so they thought he was
probably a nice man. But he was heavily associated with illness and death,
neither of which was distinguishable from the brown picture of the North
Carolina Mutual Life Building on the back of their yellow cards. Jumping
from the roof of Mercy was the most interesting thing he had done. None of
them had suspected he had it in him. Just goes to show, they murmured to
each other, you never really do know about people.
The singing woman quieted down and, humming the tune, walked through
the crowd toward the rose-petal lady, who was still cradling her stomach.
“You should make yourself warm,” she whispered to her, touching her
lightly on the elbow. “A little bird’ll be here with the morning.”
“Oh?” said the rose-petal lady. “Tomorrow morning?”
“That’s the only morning coming.”
“It can’t be,” the rose-petal lady said. “It’s too soon.”
“No it ain’t. Right on time.”
The women were looking deep into each other’s eyes when a loud roar
went up from the crowd—a kind of wavy oo sound. Mr. Smith had lost his
balance for a second, and was trying gallantly to hold on to a triangle of wood
that jutted from the cupola. Immediately the singing woman began again:
O Sugarman done fly
O Sugarman done gone…
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