Study Guide

Magdalene Dead in Song of Solomon

By Toni Morrison

Magdalene Dead

We don’t know too much about Magdalena (Lena), except that she is doomed to a life of making fake roses, just like her sister, Corinthians, is. However, while Corrie is able to get out of the land of the Dead, Lena is stuck there forever. We learn that she chooses not to go to college so that she can stay at home to help her mother.

She is the oldest in the family, and she is the one who holds a mirror up to Milkman’s face, showing him his selfishness. She reminds him of the fact that he peed on her accidentally when he was a little boy, and tells him that he continues to pee (metaphorically speaking) on her and on the family. She is a voice of truth propelling Milkman into a journey toward self-knowledge.