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Escape towards Death
As the cliched statement says, "Nobody's perfect." Everyone's life has some difficulties, with which one may arrive at a variety of resolutions.
For instance, if one has lost a love to something other than death, he may simply discuss it with his friends; if someone is troubled by family
memories, that person may receive counselling or other forms of psychological therapy; and if one is dissatisfied with his life, then he may spend
money on making improvements or a vacation. The story Song of Solomon describes characters with these travails, but they offer strange
solutions-a variety of deaths. All descendants of a man, Solomon, with a famous legend of flying away from his wife and twenty-one children,
these characters do not meet death wit h anger or fright, but with acceptance and peace. The characters seemed more et peace in their times of
death than in some points of their lives. The novel Song of Solomon shows how the burdens of three characters, Hagar, Pilate, and Milkman,
were resolved by their deaths.
Hagar, the first main character to die with her burdens, is a character whose life revolved around her emotions and the positive, happy side of
life. A vain and spoiled person from her birth, Hagar never knew the problems of racism and poverty as other people in her small, midwestern
town knew and felt. Hagar's life was completely devoted to Milkman, her cousin and lover. "He is my home in this world." (pg. 137) Her
happiness, Milkman, would ultimately be her depression as "Ecclesiasties" finally turned her success into failure, though Hagar exaggerated the
loss and apparently was not aware of the Biblical promise that her life would eventually regain confidence and prosperity. After Milkman no
longer loved her, Hagar suddenly became a different p erson, "into a bright blue place where the air was thin and it was silent all the time, and
where people spoke in whispers or did not make sounds at all, and where everything was frozen except for an occasional burst of fire in her
chest." (pg.. 99) Hagar , instead of finding something new to occupy her life, was only "totally taken over by her anaconda love,...no self left, no
fears, no wants." (pg. 137) Her obsession even led to attempts on murdering him which did not succeed, since she never killed him when she
came near him; Hagar thought that violently stalking him was simply her only method of physical contact and mental attention from him. A long
home seclusion only helped Hagar to think of how to improve her image, spending money to her external ad vantage, but when she realized her
complete loss of Milkman in her image, she became feverish and lost herself in a sickness, crying for Milkman and how he would never "like my
hair." (pg. 316) These, her last words, ended her life and obsession; her deat h was the result of a never-ending love. Death was the only
resolution to her burdens, because her love for Milkman would have never ended, and she would have simply continued her cycle of stalking,
attempting murder, depression, and weak hope had she not died.
Pilate, Hagar's grandmother, was the second main character to die; though considered one of the toughest and emotionally strong characters,
Pilate was still secretly burdened with her family's disturbing memories. The legendary "song" praising the flying leave of Solomon, her
grandfather, was still a part of her daily life, as she had sung it when the insurance agent had flew off the roof of the Mercy hospital. Pilate had
also sang the song with her daughter Reba and granddaughter Hagar (pg. 49). Memories of her father were also frequent with Pilate; according
to her brother, Macon, they stemmed from the time when, in the cave running away from the city where their father died, they had seen the spirit
of their father, "As if in answer to her reco gnition, he took a deep breath, rolled his eyes back, and whispered, 'Sing. Sing.' in a hollowed voice
before he melted away again." (pg. 170) Pilate, oddly, also had human bones, from that same cave, hanging from a wall in her home, which she
stated was there because of a constant stream of haunting advice from her father?s ghost: "He kept coming to see me...'Sing,' he'd whisper.
'Sing, sing.' Then right after Reba was born he came and told me outright: 'You just can't fly off and leave a body.'" (p g. 208) Pilate was still
affected by these memories, since she
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Song of Solomon, Torah, Hebrew Bible, Milk, Pontius Pilate, Milkman, Hagar, Bible, ecclesiasties, family memories, song of solomon, psychological therapy, midwestern town, erson, milkman, pilate, novel song of solomon, travails, burdens, whispers, descendants, racism, prosperity, resolutions, burst, wit, cousin, emotions
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