Theme Of Family In The Novel, Life & Times And Song Of Solomon

May 18, 2022 by Essay Writer

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the theme of Family as showcased in the books; Song of Solomon and Life & Times of Michael K. Theme analysis is vital in the understanding of the books and the central message of the authors. More than that, the theme of Family in the two novels is understanding the Song of Solomon and the Life & Times of Michael as the characters and the situations in the stories play around them to bring out the subject matter clearly to the readers. Lastly, this analysis contrasts the presentation of the theme of Family in the two novels, analyzing their similarities and differences in a manner that is more personal and triggering family memories of any reader.

The Theme of Family in the Novel, Life & Times of Michael K

The relationship among the family members has always inspired everyone and more so writers because the bond of the Family is an everlasting one. Family is one of the fundamental units of the society which source happiness, love, and sense of belonging. In the story of Michael, when he was delivered, the nurse said his mother, Anna, that children with harelip could bring good luck. Yet, Michael was raised in the Orphanage but not with his mother. There is a wonderful example of an inspiring relationship in the Family in the novel; Life & Times of Michael K., which showcase an unconditional love of a son. In the story, the author, J.M. Coetzee, talks of Michael. The latter is abandoned by his mother and forced to spend his entire childhood in a terrible situation in an orphanage institution.

In the terrible Orphanage, he is neither loved nor pampered enough like other children, and thus, it is naturally expected that Michael would grow emotionally and socially unbalanced. However, Michael still grows up loving his mother. His love for his mother grows stronger each day to an extent that he develops the courage to leave the city even without a travelling permit, but to find his way and take care about her until the very end. When he had grown up, he obtained a position of a gardener in Cape Town, but his mother who was at one point worked as a servant, began to feel worse and sores with each new day. There were civil wars in the country that prompted the use of the martial law. At the time, the health is Michael’s mother, Anna, began to decline terribly, thus making Michael comply with the wish of his mother to go to Prince Albert. She later died in hospital and the devastated Michael continued with his journey to bury the ash of his mother in the place he promised her.

The Theme of Family in the Novel, Song of Solomon

In the novel, Song of Solomon, the author, Toni Morrison explores the idea of Family is a unique way, using the story of Macon ‘Milkman’ dead and his family, going back three generations. The novel explores the complexities existing at home, the power of the family kin to uplift and suppress as well as transform or reform the relationships in the Family. The author uses other themes such as slavery in America, the enduring stain of racial discrimination, politics, economy as well as culture to develop the subject matter of Family and the wounds these other factors brings to the Family.

The Family in the novel comes in the form of both pleasure and pain obtained in the Family. Solomon’s Family is fractured in the aftermath of his magical flight. Solomon and his wife, Ryna have 21 children, and when she loses her mind, the children are virtually left alone to fend for themselves. In the process, the stage is set for a dysfunctional family relationship involved with either too much closeness or none of it at all. Macon obtains the nickname, ‘Milkman’ because Ruth continued to breastfeed him well into his childhood.

The reality of the Solomon’s Family is compounded to extent that Macon Jr. and his sister, Pilate, never experienced the kind of a bond that exist between the parent and children or a parent/child bond. The theme of pain and emotional trauma in the Family is climaxed when Macon Sr. is murdered right before his children’s eyes by an affluent white family, known as the Butlers. It is said that the Family of the Butlers wanted to seize Lincoln’s prosperous farm (heaven) where Macron Sr. had labored for years to build. After the death of their father, Pilate and Macron Jr. lived apart, thus establishing the Family, prosperity, and independence their father, who was born a slave, had toiled to create for them in for the years when the Civil War period shall have ended. This is the reality with which the Family of Milkman must cope with, dealing with the contradictory aspect of estrangement, independence after loss, and dysfunctional attachment of the family bond.

Comparison and Contrasts

Both novels explore the theme of Family diverse and similar ways. The similarities in the family theme usage in the two stories are that both showcase a situation where children grow up without their parents. Michael in Life & Times of Michael K grows in the Orphanage and misses a more significant part of his mothers and his father’s lives. His childhood experience had neither loved nor pampered enough like other children and thus, it is naturally expected that Michael would grow emotionally and socially unbalanced. In the similar manner, in Song of Solomon, the children of Macron Sr. and his wife grew without their parents after their lost her mind and Macron Sr. was murdered by the affluent white Family, known as the Butlers.

The circumstances of these children in both the novels growing without their parents are different and the manner is different too. For instance, Song of Solomon, the children of Macron Sr. and his wife grew without their parents after their lost her mind and Macron Sr. was murdered by the affluent white Family, known as the Butlers. In Michael in Life & Times of Michael K, Michael grows in the Orphanage, because of the health condition of his mother.

In these two novels, the importance of a family and the essentiality of the family bond are critically explored through the aspects of the dysfunctional families. Family is among the top essential factors in the life of everyone, especially for a child. Children growing up without parents or in dysfunctional families find it rough as they grow up and may become unbalanced emotionally, socially, or physically for lack of parental or Family love.


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