Review of Major Areas for Essay Questions
on Morrison's Song of Solomon
December, 2005

Planning before the test:

Every student must bring one, but no more than one page of test preparation with them to the test. It should be in normal 12-point Times font or normal sized photocopying, or you may hand write it. You may include direct quotations from the novel, which you can then refer to by number, and not rewrite the whole passage, or you may include a topic outline for one or more of the essay question topics, or you may do some combination of the two. Do not write complete sentences for your own planning, only phrases or words.

Four areas of essay questions

I will put all four of these areas into specific questions, but they will include elements of the following:

1) The various uses of the symbolism of flying and their significance

including how the author uses it to represent oppression and characters breaking free from oppression or failing to do so.

2) "Everybody wants my life, my living life."

Morrison's value system, as evidenced by what people are willing to risk their life for How do people die? (or not die . . .)

3) Naming / Uncovering the Truth / Developing Identity

The various strands of how Milkman's character grows and matures, and who influences him along the way. The novelist's use of racial identity in America.

4) How Morrison tells the story

The key elements in her structure: repeating patterns, such as the opening scene, multiple interpretations of different characters perceive the same scene, mixing fantasy with reality, how she layers the truth beneath levels of lies, half truths, legends and ignorance

use of flying as symbolism here, if you didn't use it in # 1

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