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The Path Milkman Takes to His Maturity

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The Path Milkman Takes to his Maturity

In Toni Morrison's novel The Song of Solomon the main character Milkman Dead remains in his family's home until the age of thirty one. He sees himself as being suffocated by his immediate family members, including his mother, father, and two sisters as well as being suffocated by his Aunt Pilate, and Hagar. Milkman refuses to accept responsibility for these negative relationships and is incapable of seeing himself for the selfish man he truly is. It is only when he decides to take a journey which he expects will lead to financial independence that he fully matures and appreciates where he came from. I too have learned a few interesting things about myself and the appreciating of family in the few weeks I've been away at college. The most important stage of growing up is leaving home, without that last step one never reaches the height of their maturity.

Milkman shows a glimpse of maturity in his early years while he was still living at home, however he was never near the height of his maturity until after he left home. The first sign of Milkman maturing was when he defied his father and went to meet his Aunt Pilate. "As they came closer and saw the brass box dangling from her ear, Milkman knew that what with the earring, the orange, and the angled black cloth, nothing-not the wisdom of his father nor the caution of the world-could keep him from her" (Morrison 36). In the process of maturing it is important that one must make their own decisions, in this case Milkman shows a hint of maturity by going to see his Aunt Pilate even though his father forbid him to do so. This proves that Milkman can make a decision on his own, without the approval of his hard-nosed father. Making your own decisions about people is often an early phase in the process of maturing. Young children's parents often have a big role in who they hang out with because parents feel they know who is and who is not a bad influence on their child. In order for one to gain independence from their parents and mature, it is important to make one's own decisions especially in the area of friendships. If one's parents are deciding who they can befriend it is because they do not yet trust their child, assuming that the child is not mature enough to make smart decisions when it comes to people. Although making decisions about people is a big phase in the maturing process, there are still many more factors that one encounters before they can fully mature.

As Milkman decided to go in search for the gold he heard about, he chose to go alone, without his best friend Guitar.

"But Milkman wanted to do this by himself, with no input from anybody. This one time he wanted to go solo. In the air, away from real life, he felt free, but on the ground when he talked to Guitar just before he left, the wings of those other people's nightmares flapped in his face and constrained him. Lena's anger, Corinthians' loose and uncombed hair, matching her slack lips, Ruth's stepped-up surveillance, his father's bottomless greed, Hagar's hollow eyes-he did not know whether he deserved any of that, but he knew he was fed up and he knew he had to leave quickly. He told Guitar of his decision before he told his father" (Morrison 220).

Milkman is so ego centered, thinking only of how other people are burdening him. He is still very immature, and finds a reason to blame other people for him being stuck in his house. Instead of owning up to the fact that maybe he hasn't put in the work to live on his own, or that he has been taking advantage of his father, rather than his father taking advantage of him. Milkman has not done anything to better himself in the realm of living on his own by taking everything his father has and not working for anything of his own. Great things don't come on accident. You cannot just assume that life will turn upside down; it takes time and effort to get where you want to be. Milkman is very immature and complains about being held down by his family. However that is not the case, he is being held down by himself.

Throughout Milkman's stay at Reverend Cooper's house he realized things about himself and his father.

"And in it all was his own father, the second Macon Dead, their contemporary, who was strong as an ox, could ride bareback and barefoot, who, they agreed, outran, out plowed, outshot, outpicked, outrode them all. He could not recognize that stern, greedy, unloving man in the boy they talked about, but he loved the boy they described and loved that boy's father, with his hip-roofed barn, his peach trees, and Sunday break-of-dawn fishing parties in a fish pond that was two acres wide" (Morrison 235).

This interaction Milkman had with the men who remembered his father and grandfather helped him to see his father as separate from himself for the first time. As the men tell Milkman the tales of the hard working, passionate man, Macon Dead I, Milkman finally feels something other than resentment for his father. Throughout Milkman's life he viewed his father as a bad man, who wasn't doing any good for his family or his community. Although, after his stay at Reverend Cooper's house, he came to the realization that his father was a great man, who had a positive impact on more than just his community, he was giving hope to the entire African-American race. Milkman had a great sense of pride instilled within him as he heard the stories of his father.



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