The Search for the Ancestor in Toni Morrison's Beloved and Song of Solomon
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The paper explores the search for the ancestor in Morrison's two novels: Beloved and Song of Solomon through the analysis of fam ilia! ties between Sethe and her daughter Beloved in Beloved and between Macon. Milkman and Pilate in Song of Solomon. While the paper argues that Morrison uses 'magic realism' to speak on behalf of the victimized Afro-American community, it also investigates various issues related to racial discrimination, the search for identity, cultural displacement and causes of violence and tension in the black community. Moreover, the paper looks at the indispensable role of memory in connecting the individual to his culture and heritage and it investigates the serious repercussions of slavery on the Afro-American community. The paper shows how Morrison has been able through her use of appropriate language carefully chosen for the slave narrative to speak for a much wider experience than the merely personal one. Not only does the encounter between Sethe and Beloved bring to life their buried past but also it evokes the entire history of slavery that binds the A fro-American community by one collective experience. The paper also looks at Morrison's novels as political texts written in response to the atrocities of slavery and in opposition to the dominant cultural hegemonies in a country ruled by white people. While Morrison pays attention to the violence and tension that characterize the lifestyle of the Afro-American community, she shows that this violence comes as a counter-reaction to the oppression of the white people and their victimization of their black counterparts. However, she does not condone violence nor does she see it as the solution to racial problems. What she suggests instead is the search for the ancestor and the return to “homeplace” to discover one's identity, get moral guidance and regain a sense of belonging and connection to a tradition that one should be proud of particularly that which equips the black community with the right weapon to confront its cultural displacement and possibly put an end to the violence and tension that pervade their lives. The paper therefore concludes that the search for the ancestor is bound to assist the Afro-American community in its struggle for justice and equality in the United States rather than its reliance on violence to achieve the same objective .