Song of Solomon

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Gold Symbol Icon
For much of his life, Milkman believes that flight is a form of escape. After growing tired of Hagar, he wants to escape their relationship, and in large part, he wants Pilate’s gold so that he can escape his town and his economic dependence on his father and travel elsewhere. As he hunts for the gold, though, he comes to realize that the economic freedom gold could bring him is outweighed by the betrayal and jealousy the gold attracts. The broader point is that financial independence isn’t “flight” at all – it’s just a subtler, more psychological form of imprisonment, just as it has been for Milkman’s father.

Gold Quotes in Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon quotes below all refer to the symbol of Gold. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Power of Names Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Song of Solomon published in 2004.
Part 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

He’d always believed his childhood was sterile, but the knowledge Macon and Ruth had given him wrapped his memory of it in septic sheets, heavy with the odor of illness, misery, and unforgiving hearts. His rebellions, minor as they were, had all been in the company of, or shared with, Guitar. And this latest Jack and the Beanstalk bid for freedom, even though it had been handed to him by his father—assigned almost—stood some chance of success.

Related Characters: Macon Dead II, Milkman, Ruth Foster, Guitar Bains
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

Guitar looked at the cookie again, then back into Milkman’s eyes. Nothing changed in his face. Milkman knew it sounded lame. It was the truth, but it sounded like a lie. A weak lie too. He also knew that in all his life, Guitar had never seen Milkman give anybody a hand, especially a stranger; he also knew that they’d even discussed it, starting with Milkman’s not coming to his mother’s rescue in a dream he had. Guitar had accused him of selfishness and indifference; told him he wasn’t serious, and didn’t have any fellow feeling—none whatsoever. Now he was standing there saying that he willingly, spontaneously, had helped an old white man lift a huge, heavy crate. But it was true. It was true. And he’d prove it.

Related Characters: Milkman, Guitar Bains
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt uLoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Gold Symbol Timeline in Song of Solomon

The timeline below shows where the symbol Gold appears in Song of Solomon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
...out of a sense of obligation. She feels as if he is pulling light or gold from her body. One afternoon, Freddie the janitor comes to Ruth’s house and sees her... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...he seems to mutter, “What for?” Soon, Macon discovers that the old man was carrying gold with him. Pilate insists that they leave the gold, since they’d be stealing from a... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
Racism Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...atrocity, he will need explosives or guns. Milkman approaches him with a plan to steal gold, so Guitar eagerly agrees to help him, thinking that he’ll be able to use the... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...way to get Reba, Pilate, and Hagar out of the house while they steal the gold. While they’re talking, they see a beautiful white peacock, which can’t fly because its feathers... (full context)
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Guitar wants to run into the house and steal the gold, while Milkman wants to get the three women out of the house first. But because... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9
Racism Theme Icon
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
...Macon. Macon is angry that Milkman has included Guitar in their scheme to steal the gold, but Milkman points out that since the sack they stole contains no gold, there’s no... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Milkman is struggling through a thick forest, thinking of the gold he will shortly obtain. The narrator compares him to Hansel and Gretel, hungry and tired... (full context)
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
...searching in the woods. Before saying goodbye to Guitar, Milkman explains that he needs the gold to escape from his town and family. Guitar replies that everyone wants the life of... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
...the Butlers lived, thinking that this will be a good time to look for the gold. Cooper agrees to drive him there in four days time. (full context)
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...property. He enters the cave, but after a great deal of searching, doesn’t find the gold. Furious and starving, he realizes that many hours have elapsed, and Nephew must have left... (full context)
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Dejected at having failed to find the gold and annoyed with Reverend Cooper’s friends, Milkman boards a Greyhound bus to Virginia. He remembers... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...would want him dead — he guesses that it has something to do with the gold. (full context)
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
...asks Susan about Pilate, but Susan can’t remember anyone by this name. Grace admires Milkman’s gold watch, and asks to see it; Milkman takes it off and hands it to her.... (full context)