Song of Solomon


Toni Morrison

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Pilate’s Missing Navel Symbol Analysis

Pilate’s Missing Navel Symbol Icon
While flight is clearly the most important symbol in Song of Solomon – the most recurrent, the most evocative, the most clearly related to the protagonists’ character arc – gold is nearly as important.
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Pilate’s Missing Navel Symbol Timeline in Song of Solomon

The timeline below shows where the symbol Pilate’s Missing Navel appears in Song of Solomon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Mercy and Forgiveness Theme Icon, where she and her daughter survive without electricity. He remembers that she has no navel, a peculiarity that convinces others that she wasn’t born normally. Macon remembers watching Pilate’s birth:... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
The Power of Names Theme Icon
...him to say, “Hello” instead. Guitar asks Pilate if it’s true that she has no navel. Pilate replies that it is. Guitar introduces Milkman, and Pilate casually asks if he talks.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
The Power of Names Theme Icon
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon, and sleeping with a man. The man told his friends that Pilate had no navel; later, a woman asked her about her body, and Pilate realized that she was different... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
Racism Theme Icon
Memory and Storytelling Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
...married Reba’s father; Milkman says no. She remembers Pilate’s shame at her lack of a navel, mentions that Pilate lived in a Virginia town called Charlemagne after her father died, and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
...mentioned is the same Sing who married his grandfather. Since Pilate really didn’t have a navel, he thinks, anything is possible. He remembers that he left his watch behind, but can’t... (full context)