Song of Solomon
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"So when we left Circe’s big house we didn’t have no place to go, so we just walked around and lived in them woods. Farm country. […] We were lost then. And talking about dark! You think dark is just one color, and but it ain’t. There’re five or six kinds of black. Some silky, some woolly. Some just empty. Some like fingers. And it don’t stay still. It moves and changes from one kind of black to another." (1.2.40)
Nature is ever-shifting in this novel, and where it can seem harmless and even comforting at first to Pilate and Macon, it can, in an instant, become menacing. Pilate’s really good at detecting different kinds and different shades of colors in the world around her, each shade recalling a memory or an emotion.
"But it looked big to me then. I know now it must a been a little bit place, maybe a hundred and fifty acres. We tilled fifty. About eighty of it was woods. Must have been a fortune in oak and pine; maybe that’s what they wanted – the lumber, the oak and the pine. We had a pond that was four acres. And a stream, full of fish. Right down in the heart of a valley." (1.2.51)
Lincoln’s Heaven is the paradise that sits in Song’s heart. Like a sculpture, the farm is a work of creative genius and years of toil. Through it, Jake, Macon, and Pilate are completely in harmony with nature. The farm serves as inspiration for the Danville locals. The shooting of Jake for this land reveals the unnaturalness of his killers and an upheaval of the balance and harmony.
"But when I got up to it – and I was going real slow because I thought I might have to shoot it again – I saw it was a doe. Not a young one; she was old, but she was still a doe. I felt…bad. You know what I mean? I killed a doe. A doe, man." (1.3.85)
Guitar makes himself very vulnerable at this moment, telling Milkman about an emotional moment in his young life in order to help his friend cope with the abuse he saw his father inflict on his mother. Guitar, who was born in the South, has always had a connection to the earth through his hunting escapades. It is on these escapades that he learns how to track prey and kill, but it is also through these experiences that he develops a reverence and understanding for nature. Milkman does not have this understanding, which is why he thinks he can go hiking in a three-piece suit.