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Song Of Solomon

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Shawn Foley

on 23 April 2014

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Transcript of Song Of Solomon

Genealogy- the study of families and tracing of their lineage and history.
Throughout the novel the theme of genealogy is used to divide people, along race, societal, and economic guidelines.
Economic Division
"That his intentions were honorable and that he himself was certainly worthy of the doctor's considerations as a gentleman friend of Miss Foster since, at twenty-five, he was already a colored man of property" Pg. 23
Racial Division
"His grandmother would have been 'too dark to pass.'" Pg. 290
Societal Division
"Mrs. Bains let her hand fall to her side. 'A nigger in business is a terrible thing to see.'" Pg. 22
Song Of Solomon
By: Shawn Foley
From both a white and a black perspective we can see the subordination of the black community based on opinions formed many generations ago.
The social division amongst the black community based on what has been accepted in prior generations permeates the mentality of the current generation.
"The racial problems that consumed Guitar were the most boring of all. He wondered what they would do if they didn't have the black and white problems to talk about."
Pg. 107
This demonstrates the role genealogy plays in the mentality of the population. Based on the prior conception that whites and blacks were different, this accepted image of the black community has been passed through the generations.
"The disease they have is in their blood, in the structure of their chromosomes." Pg. 157
In discussing if similar actions would take place under identical circumstances, Guitar is contrasting what he would do to what has been done. He makes the argument that the white man's actions are actually encoded in their genes. That is the reason new generations of the white race perpetuate the actions of their elders.
Here we can see economic status of a family separating them from the rest of the community. As the first black doctor in town, Dr. Foster has dissolved all ties in exchange for his economic advantage. Because of Dr. Foster, the Foster family will continue to be isolated from the rest of the black community.
"He didn't give a damn about them, though. Called them cannibals. HE delivered both of your sisters himself and each time all he was interested in was the color of their skin." Pg. 71
As mentioned above, the economic division of Dr. Foster and the rest of the black community has led him to view them as mere cannibals. His personal advantage has completely isolated him from both white and black communities. This division will eventually trickle down to the rest of his family.
As race cannot be changed, genealogy is important in identifying one from a group. However, in America (according to Milkman) he feels the need to conceal his heritage in order to gain a better quality of life.
"No, you can't be no egg, nigger. Now, you can be a cow if you wanna. Or a big baboon. But not an egg.Eggs is difficult, complicated. Fragile too. And white." "They got brown eggs." Pg 157
This quote illustrates the widespread nature of this thinking. Even in France they appear to accept the Blacks, but not so much in Colonial France. The thinking of Black subordination has been overturned in some areas, but continues to live on in the lives of others.
From the divisions among the society presented in Song of Solomon, we can see the importance of genealogy and it's role in creating factions.
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