Song of Solomon
by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon Race Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"No, you can’t be no egg, nigger. Now, you can be a crow if you wanna. Or a big baboon. But not an egg. Eggs is difficult, complicated. Fragile too. And white."
"They got brown eggs."
"Miscegenation. Besides, don’t nobody want ‘em."
"French people do."
"In France, yeah. But not in the Congo. Frenchman in the Congo won’t touch a brown egg. "
"Scared of ‘em. Might do something to his skin. Like the sun." (1.5.116)
A discussion that starts out about a soft-boiled egg turns into a discussion of how race and skin color play out in France and in colonial France. Here we are given an analysis of another country, as though to provide a frame of reference for the broken, racist American society. France features again in Song, because we know that Empire State meets and marries a white French woman who eventually cheats on him, and we know that Corinthians spends a year in France and is sought after by many a French man. We see here Guitar’s belief that skin color determines what you can or cannot be in life; that skin color can either limit or broaden your freedoms. By mentioning the Congo, Guitar points to the fact that (despite the seeming acceptance of black people in France), this acceptance disappears in colonized Africa.
"No. White people are unnatural. As a race they are unnatural." (1.6.156)
Guitar has found no other explanation for white people’s ability to commit such hate crimes, such abominable acts of intolerance. It’s interesting that he doesn’t talk anymore about money and how money plays into white supremacy. While Milkman tries to argue that good, natural white people exist, Guitar is skeptical and prefers to generalize that the white race is unnatural, with every white person capable of committing hateful crimes.
"What I’m saying is, under certain conditions they would all do it. And under the same circumstances we would not. So it doesn’t matter that some of them haven’t done it. I listen. I read. And now I know that they know it too. They know they are unnatural. Their writers and artists have been saying it for years. Telling them they are unnatural, telling them they are depraved. They call it tragedy. In the movies they call it adventure. It’s just depravity that they try to make glorious, natural. But it ain’t. The disease they have is in their blood, in the structure of their chromosomes." (1.6.157)
Guitar points to culture (books, movies, art, poems, performance) as the way of measuring the nature of a society. He feels that white America knows that it is unnatural, and this can be proven by looking at the cultural pieces produced by a society. Our antennae immediately perk up here, because, as readers, we know we are reading a product of American culture and American society. Where and how does Song fit into Guitar’s theory?