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Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon


by Toni Morrison

Hagar's Beauty Products

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Jungle Red (Sculptura), Youth Blend, baby clear sky light, mango tango, Sunny Glow, Chantilly, and Bandit. These are not the new line of boutique Jamba Juice flavors. They are the beauty products that Hagar buys during her final shopping spree.

Convinced, after looking at her face in a compact mirror, that Milkman doesn’t want her or love her because she is not pretty enough for him or desirable enough for him, she goes to the department store in order to reinvent herself. These saucy names have natural connotations (the sun, the sky, mangoes, youth, jungle, etc.) and stand in strong contrast to the real images of nature that we see through the Blue Ridge Mountains and through the Pennsylvanian woods.

As Hagar weaves between the display cases shrouded in an ether of perfume, moving like a "smiling sleepwalker" (2.13.311), she is presented with posters and images of beauty and perfect femininity, and, thus, she is promised happiness. While we savvy millenials may know this fanfare to be the work of what we like to call marketing campaigns, the images argue that a person can buy her way into beauty and desirability. And they successfully convince Hagar. In this way, we have another example of materialism and capitalism and the resulting destructive and quixotic emotions (Whoa, check out them apples. We just used a fancy word, and it means to pursue mirages, or things that aren’t real, like those windmills you think you see over yonder) that are stirred within Hagar.

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