Study Guide

Henry Porter in Song of Solomon

By Toni Morrison

Henry Porter

A member of the Seven Days, we are first introduced to Henry Porter as he is hanging out of his attic-apartment window, drunkenly and loudly threatening to kill himself. He lectures on love to the prostitutes below, and when his landlord, Macon Dead, pays a visit to collect rent money, Porter pees on Macon’s head. Eventually, Porter passes out and does not kill himself.

Many years later (close to twenty), we see Porter in this attic-apartment once more. Only this time, he’s brought his honey, Corinthians Dead, home with him. Calendars with certain dates circled on them serve as wallpaper. After a violent lovemaking session with Corinthians (the first consummation of their relationship, which follows a bitter, emotional argument), Porter brings her a glass of water jammed with ice cubes. He takes her home, and the next thing we know Corinthians has been forbidden from seeing him ever again. But never fear, the two end up moving in together and defying Macon Dead’s rules.

The only time we see Porter in the context of the Seven Days is when he’s driving his colleagues to a meeting or a killing. He looks straight ahead as he drives and is completely somber. Porter does yard work in another part of the city for a living, though his job in the novel is helping Corrie to escape the land of the Deads.