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Word Count: 1,640
In Toni Morrisons Song of Solomon Milkman Dead becomes a man by learning to respect and to listen to women In the first part of the novel he emulates his father by being deaf to womens wisdom and womens needs and casually disrespecting the women he should most respect He chooses to stray from his fathers example and leaves town to obtain his inheritance and to become a self-defined man From Circe a witch figure he is inspired to be reciprocal and through his struggle for equality with men and then with women he begins to find his inheritance which is knowing what it is to fly not gold At the end he acts with kindness and reciprocity with Pilate learning from her wisdom and accepting his responsibilities to women at last By accepting his true inheritance from women he becomes a man who loves and respects women who knows he can fly but also knows his responsibilties In the first part of the novel Milkman is his fathers son a child taught to ignore the wisdom of women Even when he is 31 he still needs both his father and his aunt to get him off the scrapes he gets into Milkman considers himself Macon Jr calling himself by that name and believing that he cannot act independently 120 The first lesson his father teaches him is that ownership is everything and that womens knowledge specifically Pilates knowledge is not useful in this world 55 He is blind to the Pilates wisdom When Pilate tell Rebas lover that womens love is to be respected he learns nothing 94 In the same episode he begins his incestuous affair with Hagar leaving her 14 years later when his desire for her wanes Milkmans experience with Hagar is analogous to his experience with his mother and serves to stretch his carefree boyhood out for thrifty-one years 98 Hagar calls him into
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