Song of Solomon
How we cite our quotes:
Her steady beam of love was unsettling, and she had never dropped those expressions of affection that had been so loveable in her childhood. (1.1.23)
Ruth’s love of her father is a little bizarre. We would not believe Macon’s suspicions of her incestuous relationship with her father were we not allowed into Dr. Foster’s thoughts. Here Dr. Foster seems aware of an unnaturalness in the nature of Ruth’s affection, an unnaturalness that seems to have been in place before she married Macon. Why would Toni Morrison include Dr. Foster’s trepidations about his daughter’s love? Her love, like the many other loves we see in Song is almost obsessive.
When the two had managed to get the basket into the room, the girl stretched her back and turned around, facing them. But Milkman had no need to see her face; he had already fallen in love with her behind. (1.2.43)
A love doomed from the start, it seems only right that Milkman falls in love with Hagar’s behind. It’s hard to say whether he cares anything about her face or about any other part of her. But what follows is a berry harvesting scene during which Milkman finds he’s happier than he’s ever been before. It seems like Milkman not only falls in love with Hagar’s behind, but with the world of Pilate’s house as well.
The lengths to which lost love drove men and women never surprised them. They had seen women pull their dresses over their heads and howl like dogs for lost love. And men who sat in doorways with pennies in their mouths for lost love. "Thank God," they whispered to themselves, "thank God I ain’t never had one of them graveyard loves." (1.5.128)
The Southside/Not Doctor Street community has seen again and again the effects of obsessive love. It’s at this moment that we realize that this kind of nervous love is not solely characteristic of the four generations of Dead women, but it is characteristic of many women. Love is maybe a means of survival, of forging an identity in the world. This whole identity thing seems easier said than done.