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Everyone appears to be searching for an identity in Song of Solomon.
Furthermore, the account in Morison’s Song of Solomon makes it clear to the reader that how an individual perceives himself/herself is often more crucial as compared to how other people view him/her.
"Breasts" represent the capacity to feed and nourish others spiritually, as Watchman Nee points out in his commentary. The breast also refers to the seat of the emotions. The Song of Solomon is not prudish about nakedness or about the body. It is also not an erotic nor a pornographic poem. Canticles gives an affirmation of physical, sexual love in marriage. See by Ray C. Stedman.
A list of all the characters in Song of Solomon
As a result, many of the characters in Song of Solomon carry with them not only their own personal history as described in the novel, but also the history of a biblical namesake.
[raanan = luxuriant, fresh, green] The greenness of the couch, made from freshly-gathered boughs and branches signifies a new (or a renewed) relationship, in its springtime. "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul..." (Psalm 23:1-3)
It should not be necessary to mention the implicit holiness and purity of the lovers' relationship in Canticles. There is no hint of lust or covetousness or of spiritual uncleanness of defilement in their relationship. "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous." (Hebrews 13:4). Does the Song of Solomon apply, then, only to married couples and not to single men and women? Certainly not, for the analogy of normal, monogamous, heterosexual marriage is applied to the nature of the relationship of Christ with His church in Ephesians 4, and the church is made up of boys and girls, single as well as married, widowed and divorced, young and old. Neither is it necessary to be married to be a complete person. Colossians 2:10 says clearly, "you are complete in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority." In I have attempted to discuss the inner wholeness of each individual in Christ which is the goal of the process of sanctification in every individual believer.
The issue of sexual purity whether single or married is of paramount importance in our generation. Secular, indeed pagan standards of immorality have inundated the church. Two messages by Ray Stedman which address this issue forthrightly are and
Amazingly, same-sex "marriages" are even featured on the Saturday newspaper religion pages these days. It should be clear from the archetypal images of the Song of Solomon (as well as from countless other scriptures) that marriage covenants are between one man and one woman. There can be no such thing as a gay or Lesbian wedding "marriage." See and
Song of Solomon, Erotic Poetry from the Inventor of Sex
Throughout the centuries many authors have attempted to capture the individuals quest for self-authenticity. In the novel Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison depicts the many aspects of self-actualization, as well as the tormenting road that leads to the shaping of an individual. Through beautiful language, with immense reality, she is able to describe young black mans journey as he uncovers his personal history, myth, and essence.
The story revolves around generations, past and present, of a black family in the south. The character of Milkman (Macon Dead jr.) evolves through the descriptions, events, and experiences of others. His parents, Macon Dead sr., and Ruth Foster Dead, represent the wall-blocking Milkman from his true authentic identity. Many of Milkman's major problems are a direct result of his parents suffocating mistakes. Ruth breast-fed Milkman until he was six years old, hence the name Milkman. She was sexually repressed by her husband for twenty years, and used her young son as a substitute for sexual intimacy. Ruth believed that she possessed no authenticity, and that she was insignificant and isolated. By passing these negative attributes and emotions to Milkman she disturbed his natural process for growth, and ultimately left him feeling lost and insecure. Instead of encouraging Milkman to grow and mature, Ruth hoarded him into the world that she herself despised.
Milkman's father, Macon Dead sr., became a ruthless money hound after his father, Jake, was shot and killed for his property. This devastating event from his childhood made him miserly, insensitive, and stingy. Macon Dead sr. becomes a money hungry machine because he does not want to suffer the same fate as his father. Macon Dead sr. fails to tell Milkman the reasons behind his miserly attitude. Thus creating an insurmountable gap between their relationship. Milkman's mother and father both thrust their personal fears on him adding to the destruction of his personal identity. Only after Milkman uncovers these tribulations behind his parents' identities, can he begin his quest for self-authenticity.
By displacing the profound effect Milkman's parents have on his quest for self-actualization, Morrison is able to convey her theme of generational conflict. Without appropriate parental guidance, honesty, and explanation Milkman has trouble finding the authentic individual within himself. The inner turmoil within both Ruth and Macon Dear sr. reflects negatively upon Milkman, leaving him lost and unfocused. Morrison writes of this hole within Ruth, "…because the fact is that I am a small woman. I don't mean little; I mean small, and I'm small because I was pressed small. (p. 124)" Instead of accepting the problems with their own authenticity, both parents force their unauthentic values on Milkman. The overbearing needs of both parents result in Milkman's need to find his personal Identity in other places, other people.
The individual who first inspires Milkman to discover his own identity is Pilate, the forbidden sister of Macon Dead sr. She is a mysterious woman, large, masculine, and frightening. Her brother abandoned her after years of support because she began making wine. Macon Dead sr. this drunken profession, and subsequently forbid Milkman to encounter her. Despite his father's wishes Milkman is intrigued by Pilate and quickly becomes absorbed in her magical, spiritual, fulfilling world. This was the same world that once held his father in awe. Morrison writes, "surrendering to the sound, Macon moved closer. He wanted no conversation, no whiteness, only to listen and perhaps to see the three of them, the source of that music that made him think of fields and of wild turkey and calico. (P.29)" By entering into Pilate's' home Milkman begins to question why his father acts the way he does. Through Pilate, Milkman discovers a past that seems lost within his father. This realization begi!
ns Milkman's quest for self-authenticity.
Milkman's flight to identity takes him many places. He is fortunate to have a friend, Guitar, who is also lost, and hunting for his authentic identity. The two pursue adventures and their contrasting personalities leave them wit ha wide perspective on events and experiences. While Milkman seems quiet, poetic, almost stumbling on his authentic self. Guitar is eager, outgoing, and aware of his needs. Morrison creates Pilate as a metaphor for a pilot, guiding Milkman through his quest. The fact that she has no navel adds to the idea that she is a woman with no roots. This makes her a woman with no original, self-actualized identity, adding to her appeal for both Milkman and Guitar.
In his attempt to escape the world of his parents, Milkman stumbles upon there past. He visits Danville and Shalimar, both places of spiritual heritage. Here he learns from various characters, the events that shaped his parents past, and subsequently their parents before them. He is drawn to these stories as they feed him with information about his missing identity. He is especially drawn to Circe, the mysterious sorceress that saved his father and Pilate from ruthless white landowners. Morrison writes, "so when he saw the woman at the top of the stairs there was no way for him to resist climbing up toward her outreached hands, her fingers spread wide for him, her mouth gaping open for him, her eyes devouring him. (P.239)" Circe, Pilate, and the men from his fathers past, provide Milkman with the necessary support, comfort and identity missing from his childhood. He begins to understand and appreciate his heritage. Anything absent from his upbringing is now substituted by eve!
nts from generations past. Life is essentially easier to understand, because his perspective is wider and more fulfilling.
In the end, Milkman is not completely happy with the information he has gained on his quest. However he had uncovered many mysteries and fears about his heritage, and past, and became comfortable with how he came to be. Milkman discovered things about his parent's relationships, and in the process discovered himself. By venturing into the unknown he became aware of many of the aspects that make up his own personal authenticity.
In the novel Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison explores the events that shape young mans life. She explores this quest for authenticity with social concerns, cultural emptiness, family heritage, racial tensions, greed, and love. By touching so many aspects of life, Morrison is able to create a novel of epic proportions. With mystical dreams and mystical characters she envelops the reader in a world intriguing and powerful, painting an irreducible picture of a time long past. Yet her themes are so universal and well actualized that her story seems to exist in a time neither past nor present. " For now he know what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it. (P337)" Morrison writes an inspirational story and truly captures the essence of a quest for an authentic identity.
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said, "Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?"
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants. (I Kings 3:5-15)
...And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and largeness of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about. He also uttered three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom." (1 Kings 4:29-34)
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Essay on Names in Song of Solomon; ..
Shulamite experiences something of the rejection the Lord Jesus felt when He came to His own people Israel and was neither received nor known by the majority. "I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me. But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of thy steadfast love answer me. With thy faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O LORD, for thy steadfast love is good; according to thy abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in distress, make haste to answer me. Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies! Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to thee. Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." (Psalm 69:12-21)
In this case her lapse of faith and emotional panic was not and could not be understood by the "watchmen" of the city. Her actions were inconsistent with what they had previously known her to be as a pillar of faith in the community. It is common for fellow believers to misunderstand some of the major trials that come to the more mature. We may not receive from others help and compassion, but rather ill-treatment. The problem is hers, and she soon recovers her faith.
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