THE ROLE OF SECONDARY CHARACTERS IN THE
FINDING OF THE PERSONAL IDENTITY OF THE MAJOR
CHARACTER IN TONI MORRISON’S
SONG OF SOLOMON
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters
Student Number: 044214071
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
THE ROLE OF SECONDARY CHARACTERS IN THE
FINDING OF THE PERSONAL IDENTITY OF THE MAJOR
CHARACTER IN TONI MORRISON’S
SONG OF SOLOMON
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters
Student Number: 044214071
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
First, I am so grateful to Allah for his love. He has given me all wonderful
years in my life. He always walks besides me through the good and bad times.
With the charity, I have experienced a wonderful life.
I would like to express my gratitude to my major sponsor Elisa Dwi
Wardani S.S., M. Hum. for his guidance in accomplishing this paper. I thank all
the lectures of English Letters Study Program of Sanata Dharma University for
sharing their knowledge during my study. To all of the secretariat staff, I thank
them so much for helping me in everything to finish this paper.
My ultimate gratitude is expressed to my dearest parents, Sukirno and
Monica Listiani, my mother in-law, Cici Sucati. I thank them for their endless
love. I thank to my father, who always gives me support, jokes when I sad, and
million advices. To my beloved brothers, I thank them being good models for me.
To all my friends of English Letters, I thank them for being my friends
during my study. I really appreciate every precious moment that we have shared
together in this university.
I am also grateful to every people who always support me when I am
down and have been there for me. I dedicate this thesis to them to express my
Finally, I would like to express my special gratitude to Amalia Wahyu
Arumsari, my beloved wife, who always accompanies me wherever I go. I thank
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE ... i
APPROVAL PAGE ... ii
ACCEPTANCE PAGE ... iii
APPROVAL PRONOUNCEMENT PAGE OF THESIS PUBLICATION FOR ACADEMIC CONCERN ... iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ... v
TABLE OF CONTENTS ... vi
ABSTRACT ... vii
ABSTRAK ... viii
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION ... 1
A. Background of Study ... 1
B. Problem Formulation ... 3
C. Objectives of the Study ... 4
D. Definition Terms ... 4
CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL REVIEW ... 6
A. Review of Related Studies ... 6
B. Review of Related Theories ... 7
1. The Theory of Character and Characterization ... 8
a. The Meaning of Character ... 8
b. The Types of Character ... 9
c. The Meaning of Characterization ... 11
d. Ways to Create Character Based on Characterization ... 12
2. Theory of Psychology ... 15
a. Theory of Personality ... 16
b. Theory of Personality Development ... 17
c. Theory of Personality Identity ... 19
C. Theoretical Framework ... 22
CHAPTER III: METODHOLOGY ... 24
A. Objects of the Study ... 24 Character’s Personal Identity ... 57
CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION ... 74
Danny Yulyanto (2011). The Role of Secondary Characters in the Finding of the Personal Identity of the Major Character In Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon. Yogyakarta: Department of English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University.
This thesis is concerned with Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. It is an interesting novel since it presents the process of a Negro to find his personal identity. The writer finds out that the major character is a complex character that has confusion in determining his life purpose and identity. He has been enlightened from some people around him that make him understand how to find his true self identity.
There are two problems related to the topic of the thesis. The first one is how does Toni Morrison describe the secondary characters, Pilate Dead and Guitar Bains, Macon Dead and the major character, Milkman Dead? The second one is what is the role of secondary characters in the finding of major character’s personal identity?
In order to answer the problems, the writer adopt the theory of character, the theory of characterization and the theory of psychology, especially theory of personality development by Pikunas and theory of personal identity by Erikson.
Danny Yulyanto (2011). The Role of the Secondary Characters in the Finding of the Personal Identity of The Major Character In Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. Yogyakarta: Department of English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University.
Skripsi ini membahas tentang novel Song Of Solomon yang dikarang oleh Toni Morrison. Novel ini menarik karena menceritakan proses seorang negro dalam menemukan identitas pribadi. Penulis menemukan bahwa tokoh utama adalah tokoh kompleks yang memiliki kebingungan dalam menentukan tujuan hidupnya dan identitasnya. Dia tercerahkan dari beberapa orang di sekelilingnya yang membuat dia memahami bagaimana menemukan identitas pribadi.
Ada dua masalah yang berkaitan dengan topik skripsi. Pertama adalah bagaimana Toni Morrison menggambarkan karakter kedua, Pilate Dead dan Guitar Bains, Macon Dead dan tokoh utama, Milkman Dead? Dan yang kedua adalah apakah peran tokoh - tokoh kedua dalam menemukan identitas pribadi karakter utama?
Untuk menjawab masalah itu, penulis mengambil teori karakter, teori penokohan dan teori psikologi, khususnya teori perkembangan kepribadian Pikunas dan teori identitas pribadi Erikson.
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
A. Background of Study
According to Aristotle in his book, Philosophy of Aristotle, the individual is a single and independent substance (1963: 231). Since they live in different
condition and situation, the independent substance gradually diminishes. Through
what they learn from experiences that sometime they find confusing condition, the
independent substance reappears and they try to find his or her personal identity.
To find his or her personal identity, they need to develop his or her character
according to the environment where he or she lives.
Through environment, the other people have an important role in the
finding of someone’s personal identity which is brought by their characters. Most
people's characters and personalities can be formed in their families supported by
parents, brothers, sisters, and relatives. There are two factors that determine the
development of one's personality, namely individual's early experience within
family and the important events happening outside home (Hurlock, 1974: 19-20).
From the explanation above, it can be concluded that someone's character is
determined by the existence of correlation between family and surroundings role.
According to Roberts and Jacobs (1969: 61), in accordance with the idea
of verisimilitude or imitation, therefore, everything in fiction is related in one way
or another to the reality of everyday life. Since a novel is often inspired by real
the message from the author that he or she puts forward through the story. The
reader also can get the good example from a character in the novel. The character
usually is created to convey the author's ideas and views through his/her work and
The changing of character’s life inside the novel can be brought up by a
plot. As the characters are derived from real life, there are actions to define their
personalities. Here, plot is a plan of development of the action, in which a
personality of the character is built. The art of characterization which reflects the
personalities of its character will unify the plot and engage the readers. Song of Solomon is one of a novel that can give more pleasure, emotionally, to the readers. It presents Toni Morrison's ideas that are reflected through the characters.
Morrison is one of American novelists who have interesting characters in
her novel. She presents the accuracy of the reflection on life and imaginative
creation through her novel. It makes every reader identify themselves with the
character of the novel. It may lead into an understanding of the ideas in the
process of finding personal identity of the major character.
Song of Solomon is about Milkman Dead, a negro and an immature boy at beginning of the story. He is the major character of the novel. He alienates and
estranges himself from his family, his community, and his historical and cultural
roots. With the role of his aunt and friend, he embarks on a physical and spiritual
journey to find his cultural identity reconnecting him with his past and make him
to realize his personal identity. Pilate, Milkman Dead's aunt, one of secondary
Milkman Dead's best friend, another secondary character, is a friend that his life
contradicts with Milkman's life. Later, he is a friend who gives a motivation
toward Milkman's spiritual growth to reach his freedom and gives knowledge of
the other negro types. During the time of Milkman's journey to find his personal
identity, there is one interesting feature that focuses the development of Milkman.
At first it is shown that he is very dependent upon his wealthy, materialistic father.
Then, the role of Pilate and Guitar are shown in the finding of Milkman’s personal
identity. They are shown in Milkman's maturation into a more independent and
responsible person. Milkman's ability in making his own decision and his
willingness to leave his materialism and try to find his personal identity suggests
that he has been influenced by the role of Pilate Dead identity as a good negro, the
other types of negro in Guitar Bains as fanatic negro and his friend, the
materialistic and the oppression of his father.
Seeing the fact above, it is relevant to focus this study on the role of the
secondary characters, Pilate,Guitar and Macon Dead, in the finding of personal
identity of the major character in Morrison's Song of Solomon.
B. Problem Formulation
Based on the background of the study above, there are two questions to
answer in this study
1. How does Toni Morrison describe the secondary characters, Pilate Dead and
2. What is the role of secondary characters in the finding of major character’s
C. Objectives of the Study
Based on the problem formulation stated previously, the first objective is
to find out how the Secondary characters and the major characters in the Song of Solomon are described. It tries to find out detailed description of Pilate Dead, Milkman's aunt; Guitar Bains, Milkman's best friend; Macon Dead, Milkman’s
Father and the major character, Milkman Dead, in Morrison's novel. The second
objective is to study the role of the secondary characters in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon that lead Milkman to find his personal identity during the course of the story.
D. Definition Terms
There are two terms which must be clarified in this thesis. These terms are:
Character is “the person in a dramatic or narrative work, endowed with moral and
dispositional qualities that are expressed in what they say -the dialogue- and what
they do -the action” (Abrams, 1981: 21). So, the character is the person who is
created by an author with certain qualities.
Identity may be defined as the distinctive character belonging to any given
comes from the French word identite which finds its linguistic roots in the Latin noun identitas, -tatis, itself a derivation of the Latin adjective idem meaning “the same”. The term is thus essentially comparative in nature, as it empashizes the
sharing a degree of sameness or oneness with others in a particular area or on a
given point. “Identity” may be distinguished from “identification” the former is a
label whereas the latter refers to the classifying itself. Identity is thus best
construed as being both relational and contextual, while the act identification is
This chapter consists of three parts, namely the review of related studies,
review of related theories, and theoretical framework. The second part is review
of related theories. It discusses the theory of literature, theory of psychology. The
theory of literature involves theory of character and characterization. Theory
psychology covers theory of personality, theory of personality development, and
theory of personal identity.
A. Review of Related Studies
There are many works discussing about the object of this thesis, the work
of Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon. The theories and other work discussing the novel studied are very helpful for the writer to do this study.
Reynolds Price in his article (www.nytimes.com) stated that Song of Solomon is a novel which gives the basically realistic mode of most family novels. It negotiates with fantasy, fable, song and allegory are so organic, continuous and
unpredictable as to make any summary of its plot sound absurd; but absurdity is
neither Morrison's strategy nor purpose. Morrison's purpose in her work of Song of Solomon is discovering convictions about the possibility of transcendence within human life, on the time-scale of a single
Through Song of Solomon, Morrison give many themes and symbolism in the negro culture. Sometimes it can be understood by re- reading the novel to
make sense of them. In the website that contains about book review
(www.caribousmom), said that the novel is about discovery of one’s roots, and the
painful search for love. And another theme in the novel is that of racism and the
struggle of blacks in American to overcome the history of slavery. It is also said
that Morrison’s books were often difficult reads with weighty themes, but it writes
beautifully and is a superb storyteller.
Further, Wilentz in African-American review (1992: 61) gave the positive
comment and said that “although Morrison wrote her master’s thesis on Faulkner
and has acknowledged influence by Marquez and other Latin American writers,
Morrison’s writing are deeply entrenched in her own Black folks roots and the
community in which she grew up. Moreover, her text is informed by her mother’s
stories, her tribe, and her ancestors – African and African-American.”
From the statement above the writer position in this thesis is to explore
more deeply about Tom Morrison’s works, especially Song of Solomon. The
Writer deliberately picks the topic of identity in major character, in which it is
rarely discuss in any book or other works.
B. Review of Related Theories
In this part, I present some theories related to my study in analyzing the
involving the theory of character, theory of characterization, some theories
psychology covering theory of personality and theory of influence, and the last
theory is the theory of critical approach.
1. The Theory of Character and Characterization
To find the types of character in the novel, it is relevant to state the theory
of character and characterization. The theory of character covers three
discussions. Those are the meaning of character, the types of character, and the
meaning of characterization, and the ways to create character based on
a. The Meaning of Character
In the writing of a story, a writer has a freedom and authority to determine
the problems faced by a character and character's personality. Rohberger and
Woods (1971: 20) explain that “characters have particular personalities and
physical attributes that distinguish them from other characters.” In literature, a
character is an important element in a story because it can draw the reader's
interest. Rohberger and Woods (1971: 19) state that characters have an important
role in a story since they help the readers to participate in the experience or the
story by sharing imaginatively the feelings or activities of the characters in the
story. In other words, a reader can feel what is felt by a character in a story.
A character in a story can be described by reader's own. Robert and Jacobs
“Character in literature generally and fiction specifically, is an extended verbal
representation of human being, the inner self determines thought, speech, and
behavior.” Thus the reader can interpret characters as being endowed with moral
and disposition qualities that are expressed in what they say or from their dialogue
and also their actions.
To understand Tom Morisson's view of the characters in the novel, it is
important to pay attention on the theory and meaning of character. According to
Abrams (1981: 21) says that characters are the person's, in a dramatic or narrative
work, endowed with moral and disposition qualities that are expressed in what
they say -the dialogue and what they do -the action”. In this case, a character can
be analyzed through what the character says and does.
b. The Types of Character
Since this study emphasizes on the development of the major character,
Macon Dead, in Tom Morrison's Song of Solomon, we need to know types of characters in a novel. Henkle (1977: 87-97) differentiates character into two types,
namely major character and secondary character. Major character are the most
important and complex characters in a novel used by the authors in order to
communicate their human qualities and guide us to an understanding of the
themes of the novel. In secondary characters, the readers have to identify some of
he secondary character's function if he wants to understand the role of secondary
characters. There are some functions of the secondary characters. The first
function as a 'point reference' if he has greater intensity. When he undergoes the
emotional state as the major character or takes a part in a situation which parallels
to that of the major's one's, his functions as an 'analogue'.
In order to understand more deeply about characters, Forster (1974: 46-51)
divides characters into two kinds. They are flat and round character. A flat
character is created around a single idea or quality. It is also characterized only
one by one or two traits. The character remains stable and unchanged from the
beginning to the end of the story. The advantages of a flat character are, first, he is
easily recognized by reader's emotional eye, and second, a flat character is easily
remembered by the reader. The character will remain the same and the
circumstances are not likely to change the character. In the reader's mind, the
character stays unalterable. Meanwhile, a round character is dynamic and complex
in temperament and motivation. A round character is hard to classify because the
character is always changing and hard to guess. The character changes in some
significant ways in facing his or her conflict in a story because the change of a
character is also influenced by conflict in a story. The reader can remember him in
connection with the great scenes by which he is modified since he passes through
Round character can change or develop according to certain actions. Also,
the character can keep still, change, or develop in the same manner as human
being. It is better to analyze the flatness or roundness of a character physically or
In additional, Perrine classifies fictional characters into static and dynamic.
Static characters are characters that change little in their outlook or personalities
during the course of the story. They remain stable and they are the same sort of
persons at the end of story as the beginning. They are described without much
detail and they are not changed by circumstances. On the other hand dynamic
characters are characters that undergo changes in some aspect of their characters,
personalities or outlook from the beginning to the end of the story. The change
could be better or worse and may be a larger or small one, but it is something
important and basic, and more than a minor change in opinion (Perrine, 1974: 71)
Perrine’s classification clears away the explanation of characters in a story.
The analyst might not merely view the character only as static character. A
character may have a possibility to have some changes in some ways while the
changes may influence the story a lot.
c. The Meaning of Characterization
There are many theories of characterization in the literary world.
Characterization is the process that the author takes to create character, the
devices by which he makes us believe that a character is the particular type of
person he is (Rohrberger and Woods, 1971: 180). The character will react based
on his ability to overcome the difficulty in that situation. The process of
characterizing or establishing the distinctive characters of the persons in narrative
are through showing and telling (Abrams, 1993: 24). Therefore, there are ways to
d. Ways to Create Character Based on Characterization
There are many ways to understand a character based on its
characterization. Murphy (1972: 161-173) points out some ways in which an
author attempts to make his characters understandable and come alive for his
readers. They are as follows:
1. Personal Description
In this way, the author introduces and describes a character from outward
appearance, including his physical appearance and clothing. The character's build,
his skin-color, his hair, and his coat show what sort of person he is.
2. Characters as Seen by Another
This method deals with the description of a character through the eyes and
opinions of another. Here, the author describes the character indirectly. The
author's choice of words delivered by other characters play a significant role.
The author gives an insight into the character of the person through what the
person says. Whenever person speaks, engages on conversation or gives an
opinion, this person gives the readers some clues to his character.
4. Past Life
Character's past life sometimes shows the reader some important clues in order to
know about his character. This method can be conducted through direct comment
from the author, through the person's thought, and through the medium of another
5. Conversation of Others
The author describes a person's character with the help of the other people's
conversation and opinions made about him.
The author describes a person’s character through his particular reaction towards
conflicts, occasions, and situations. By knowing the way the character passes
through his reactions toward situations and occasions, the reader can gain an
understanding of the character’s personality.
7. Direct Comment
The author gives comment on the character’s personality directly.
The author helps the reader gain an understanding of different people’s thinking in
the sense that what the reader might think impossible is very likely to happen on
the world of the novel.
The author can describe a person’s mannerism, habits and also behavior either
positive or negative which tell us something about the reflection of his personality.
Based on the theory mentioned above, the characteristic of a main or
supporting character can be observed and analyzed thoroughly. There are several
ways for the writer to characterize the characters and the ways provide the analyst
to examine the content of the novel in proper way to gain a description of a certain
Perrine states that characterization could be presented in two ways:
1. Direct Presentation
The author who chooses direct presentation simply tells readers about the
characters in the story. He tells the quality of the characters in exposition or
analysis or has someone else in the story who tells us what they are like so that the
readers can understand the character directly. However this method cannot be
used alone: it needs to be supported by the indirect presentation, so that it will be
more convincing (1974: 69).
2. Indirect Presentation
The author shows the readers the character in the action and tells the readers what
they are like from what they think, say and do. The author presents the characters
indirectly through the way they are acting and talking. From this, the readers may
infer their qualities from what they say, think, and do (1974: 69).
The presentations from Perrine help the analyst to have a better
understanding toward the characters. The connection to the former theory, also
from Perrine about static and dynamic characters, prevents a wrong perception to
the analyst about the characters. The changes of the character that may happen in
a story can be explained either directly or indirectly by the author.
In Reading and Writing about Literature (1974: 21), Rohrberger and Wood say that there are two principle ways by which an author characterizes their
1. Direct Method
and also to describe their intellectual and moral attributes or to explain the degree
of the character’s sensibility. This description is based on the author’s point of
2. Dramatic Method
Instead of describing the character directly, an author uses the dramatic method to
describe the character by placing him or her in situations to show what he or she is
like from the way he or she behaves or speaks. This description is drawn based on
the character’s eyes and opinions.
The methods mentioned by Rohrberger and Woods give more explanation
about characterizations. The theory of Rohberger and Woods and the theory of
Perrine have a similarity to explain characterizations. However, the theory from
Rohrberger and Woods adds another side of view to analyze. The theory that
mentions two different points of view which are the author’s point of view and the
character’s point of view help a lot in analyzing the characterization.
2. Theory of Psychology
Novel reflects life. From it, people can learn something about life itself.
They can also learn about themselves, in every aspect they live. People can also
learn the way others behave, act, and what lies under them. It deals with the way
people think and presented in the story as a whole. It deals with psychology.
Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon also deals with psychology. To understand its deeper meaning, the theory of psychology needs to be considered in
character, Milkman Dead. The psychological theory covers three theories. These
are theory of personality, theory of personality development, and theory of
a. Theory of Personality
Personality is a subject matter of psychology which is about one does,
thinks and feels as one goes about his or her everyday life. Each individual
personality is unique so that it makes an individual different with others. Mischel
(1981: 2) says, personality usually refers to the distinctive patterns of behavior
(including thought and emotions) that character each individual’s adaptation to the
situation of his or her life.” Not only is one’s personality unique, but also it is
changeable, meaning that it changes overtime. Byrne and Kelley (1981: 87)
consider one’s personality as a dynamic process for it can change throughout
one’s life. Further, they state that personality change can occur when there is a
condition that leads to new emotional, informational, or imaginative responses
(1981: 533). The earliest years of life are important to form the basis for an adult
personality. However, there is no final personality. It is because later experiences
can modify the effects of the early experiences. Moreover, Byrne and Kelley
(1981: 523) point out that when and individual is faced to new facts, there may be
dramatic changes in the info-belief system, new experiences, and perhaps new
emotional responses and attitude as well.
According to Hurlock (1974: 19) an individual’s personality pattern is the
within and outside his home. Furthermore, she describes that there are three major
factors, which determine the development of one’s personality pattern. The first is
the individual’s hereditary endowment, the second is early experiences within
one’s family, and the third are important events outside one’s home environment.
Thus, one’s personality pattern is not product of learning exclusively or hereditary
exclusively. However, it comes from an interaction of the two. In other words,
behavior learned in childhood may later be changed by direct training or by
altering one’s environment.
Sullivan (1981: 64), an American Psychiatrist, views personality as a
verbal and believes that human behavior is determined largely by interpersonal
interactions. This means that an individual will learn to behave as a result of
interactions with people. He states that personality is not set at early age because
it may change at any time as new interpersonal situations arise. Personality
manifests when the person interacts, do not need to be present but they can just
illusory or nonexistent figures. Sullivan (1981: 64) points out that one’s habits,
dreams, hopes, fears, and other psychological processes are interpersonal in
b. Theory of Personality Development
Hurlock (1974: 7) states in Personality Development, that personality can change. The development can be done in the individual’s physical and
psychological characteristics. And when the process of developing deals with the
patterning one’s self concept, habits, attitudes, emotional, states, and motivates; it
Each person’s personality changes and develops into more stable as many
experiences they have got. Mischel (1981: 4) states “personality psychologists
study how people develop and change, as well as how they remain stable
throughout the course of life”. People usually develop in constructive ways to
improve their life’s quality. Therefore, a change can be said as turning into better
or worse while develop tends to be turning into better. Additionally, Pikunas
(1976: 271) mention six factors and experiences appear in adolescence and alter
the personality as follows.
1. Acquisition of adult physique
2. Sexual maturation, accompanied by new drives and emotions
3. Greater self-awareness, resulting in a heightened desire for self- direction and
reevaluation of standards, goals and ideals.
4. The need companionship, with prime emphasis on heterosexual friendship
5. Treatment by parents and peers
6. Conflict arising from the adolescence’s personality development
Furthermore, Erikson as quoted in Mischel’s (1981: 55) claims that there
are two assumptions of development. First, human personality development
depend on the growing person’s readiness to be driven forward, to be aware of,
and to interact with a widening social radius. Second, society tends to be so
constituted when it needs and invites this succession of potentialities for
interaction. The society also attempts to safeguard and to encourage the proper
rate and proper sequence of the enfolding. These assumptions are related with
how individuals have come to see themselves and their awareness of what other
c. Theory of Personal Identity
Since the major character starts to be aware of his personal identity in his
adolescence, it will be agreeable to use the two of Erik Erikson’s psychological
theory of human life cycle. The two theories are adolescence and young
adulthood. In both theories, the writer of this paper even adds the suggestion of
Hjelle and Ziegler to complete Erikson’s theory.
In Erikson’s theory of adolescence, i.e. identity versus role confusion, it is
argued that adolescence is regarded as highly significant in the individual’s
psychosocial development. No longer child but not yet an adult (roughly between
the age of 12 or 13 to about 20 in our society), the adolescent is confronted with
various social demands and role changes that are essential for meeting the
challenges of adulthood. Erikson theories that the new psychosocial dimension
which appears during adolescence has a sense of ego identity at the positive end
and a sense of role confusion at the negative end. “The task confronting
adolescents is to consolidate all the knowledge they have gained about themselves
and integrate these various self-images into personal identity that shows
awareness of both a past and a future that follows logically from it. (Erikson,
Erikson reveals three elements in the formation of an identity. First,
individual must perceive themselves as having “inner sameness and continuity”
i.e they must, over time, experience themselves essentially the same persons they
have been. Second, the person in one’s social milieu must also perceive a
confidence that the inner unity that they have developed earlier will be recognized
in other’s perception on them. Third, individuals must have “accrued confidence”
in the correspondence between the internal and external of continuity. It means
that their self-perceptions must be validated appropriate feedback from their
personal experiences. In so far as adolescents may be uncertain about both their
self-concepts and their social images, then feelings of doubt, confusion, and
apathy may counteract their emerging sense of identity. Therefore, the
development tasks of identity formation is readily recognized in “…the persistent
adolescent endeavor to define, over define, and redefine themselves and each
other in ruthless comparison, while a search for reliable alignments can be
recognized in the restless testing of the newest in the possibilities and the oldest
values (Erikson, 1968: 87).”
Further, Erikson considers identity formation in the first place to be a
matter of reflexive imagery. In order to come to a clear self-definition,
adolescents, like anyone in the capacity of being self-reflecting agent, have to give
account of the multitude of self and role images that may apply to the own person.
Each new moment in life, each new setting, and each new perspective, conveys
yet another image of the person, so that construction of an integrated self-view,
corresponding with the status of having identity is anything but sinecure. Finally,
Erikson claims that foundation for a successful adolescence and the attainment of
an integrated identity is originated in early childhood. The failure of the young
person to develop a personal identity, because of the unfortunate childhood
identity crisis”. The crisis of identity, or role confusion is most of ten
characterized by an inability to select a career or pursue further education. Many
adolescents in the throes of this age specific experience a profound sense of
utility, personal disorganization, and aimlessness (Erikson, 1968: 96).
However, the failure to establish adequate personal identity does not
necessarily doom the adolescents to a life of perpetual defeat. Resolving problem
at one stage of life is no guarantee against their reappeareance at later stages – or
against the discovery of new solutions to them. Ego identity is life long struggle.
As Erikson has pput it that it is often possible to overcome early handicaps i.e
inadequateness, or even late to achieve the feelings identity as well as intimacy
and integrity characteristics of effective adulthood (Hjelle and Ziegler, 1981:
And the second, the theory of Young Adulthood: Intimacy versus Isolation,
Erikson states that in this stage much of person’s sexual behavior is motivated by
the search of ego identity. In contrast, the earlier attainment of a sense of a
personal identity and the involvement in productive work that marks this period
give rise to a new interpersonal dimension with intimacy cannot be attained unless
the person has already achieved a consolidated personal identity. When the
identity formation lags, even deep attachments and exuberant love are not likely
to produce stable long-term relationship needed in marital adjustment and family
life (Erikson, 1968: 121 ).
In other words, to be really intimate with another person or oneself, a
contrast, adolescent “falling in love” may be nothing more than an attempt to
explore one’s own identity through the use of another person. Erikson sees that as
a result of the fact that many people, especially woman, marry someone in order
to find their own identity in and through that person. In this view, it is not possible
to attain intimacy by seeking for one’s identity in this fashion (Hjelle and Ziegler,
C. Theoretical Framework
The role of others on the finding of one’s true self-identity gives the
opportunity to analyze the role of the secondary characters on the finding of the
major character’s true self-identity in Song of Solomon. Therefore, theories of character and characterization are used to answer the problems formulated in
The theory of character and characterization is used to answer the first
question in the problem formulation about how the major character and secondary
character is described. The discussions of character from Abrams, Robert and
Jacob, and Rohberger and Woods help me to understand what the meaning of
character is. The types of character stated by Henkle, Forster, and Perrine help to
classify each character. The meaning of characterization by Abrams and
Rohrberger and Woods shows that there are ways to find out the type of character
inside a novel. The ways to create character based on characterization presented
The theory of psychology is used to give clearer description about role and
true self-identity. It is also used to answer the second problem formulation. The
theories of personality taken from Byrne and Kelley, Hurlock, Mischel, and
Sullivan are used as the basic of understanding in the character of Major
Character. Moreover, theories personality development taken from Hurlock,
Mischel and Pikunas are used as the next basic step of understanding in the major
character. And the theory of personal identity taken from Erikson, and Hjelle and
Ziegler is used as understanding that the true self-identity can be found by
knowing someone’s personal identity.
This thesis is using psychological approach. It is because the thesis is
analyzing the psychological aspects of the characters inside the novel. By using
the theory of character and characterization and theory of psychology, I can find
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY
This chapter is divided into three parts, namely: the object of the study, the
approach of the study, and the method of study. The object the study concerns
with the focus of the study. The approach concerns with the approach used in this
thesis. The last one, the method of study, discusses the steps employed in
analyzing the problems formulation.
A. Object of Study
The object this study is Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. The book was written in 1977 and became the Best Seller in the United States. This book was
published by Alfred Knopf Inc., in 1977. It consists of 8 chapters of 337 pages. In
her third book, Morrison describes about the life of Milkman Dead, a Nigger. The
story begins when he lives in Michigan, United States and his life is dominated by
the materialism and the desire to be white of his father. With the role of his friend
and his aunt, in the last of story he can find his true self-identity and change
absolutely his lifestyle. I learn much about the life of Milkman Dead adulthood.
This book gives me the understanding and some information about Milkman Dead
who tries to find his personal identity as a negro.
B. Approach of The Study
According to Rohrberger and Woods, there are five approaches related to
the Theory of Critical Approaches (1971: 6-15). Those five approaches are the
Formalist Approach, the Biographical Approach, the Sociocultural-Historical
Approach, the Mythopoeic Approach, and the Psychological Approach. This last
approach is the one used in this thesis. The approach involves the effort to locate
and demonstrate certain recurrent patterns. In this approach, psychology theories
are used in analyzing the literary work. It emphasizes on human psychology and
believes that human’s creativity, thought, behavior, and other psychological
aspects give a strong influence to the literary work.
Writer apply the Psychological approach because in this study writer am
going to find out the finding of true self-identity of Milkman Dead, starting form
the time he is in child to adolescence. Analyzing an individual’s personal identity,
it is may deal with psychological aspect. It will be proper to apply this approach
because the better understanding of a human’s identity can be achieved.
Moreover, personal identity is one of subjects of psychology. It patterns of
behavior, thought, and feeling. Psychological approach will help me to reveal the
issue of this study because it views a literary work based on psychological
According to Rohrberger and Woods (1971: p 13), psychological approach
is an approach to literature that “involves the effort to locate and demonstrate
certain recurrent patterns” and which refers to a different body of knowledge that
is psychology. It is applied when the intention is focused on psychological
interpretation for enhancing the understanding and appreciation of literature. In
applying this approach, psychological theories are generally used as the
C. Method of the Study
The method used in this study is library research. Writer conducted Sanata
Dharma University library to collect data relating to the object and the topic of the
study. Tom Morrison’s Song of Solomon was the primary data. Besides, as the secondary source writer also collected some books related to criticism of
Morrison’s work to compile this thesis. As an additional knowledge to find the
biography of the author, writer did some surfing in the Internet as well.
The first step, writer had to understand the novels through read and re-read
the novel until writer got some ideas about its content. While reading, writer
focused the attention on the central character, Milkman Dead and took notes of
important description and proofs of her for the analysis. Beside, writer also paid
attention to the secondary characters and their roles on Milkman Dead’s personal
identity. After that, writer tried to find out what kind of problems would be
explores and discussed in this study. For the secondary data writer tried to collect
some criticisms from internet to add understanding and information about the
book and the author.
Then writer tried to find some books and information that were related to
the novel. As writer had written in chapter I and II, writer use some books, such
as, An Introduction to Personality, Aspects of The Novel, Reading the Novel: An Introduction to The Techniques of Interpreting Fiction, Personality Development,
Development in Adulthood, Introduction to Personality, Understanding Unseens: An Introduction to English Poetry and The English Novel for Overseas Students,
Science, Fiction: An Introduction To Reading And Writing, Reading and Writing about Literature, and Sullivan Theory of Personality help me in analyzing the novels.
Thirdly, writer also searched and took data from encyclopedia and
computerized search. The computerized data was done to find out the data from
the internet especially about the author, her work and the criticism about her
After making the analysis, writer found some points related to analysis in
order to draw conclusion of the thesis. Writer also gave some suggestions for the
readers and the next researcher so that they will analyze novel better.
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS
In this chapter the writer will answer the problem formulations in the
previous chapter. Analysis will be divided into two sections. First, analysis will be
focused on the description of secondary characters and the major character. In this
part, the writer will find out the characterization of Pilate, Guitar, Macon Dead
and Milkman as presented in the novel to find the role of the secondary characters
and then the writer will prove that the secondary characters support the finding of
the personal identity of the major character; Milkman Dead. Here the writer will
apply the theory of character and characterization. Second, analysis will be
continued by investigating the role of secondary characters in the finding of major
character’s personal identity. To discover the role of secondary characters in the
finding of major character’s persoanal identity, it needs the description of
secondary characters and the major character. Then, after the writer obtain the
information above, the writer would like to relate the characteristics of the
secondary character and the role and finally state what the changing brought by
the secondary characters toward the finding of major character’s personal
A. The Description of the Secondary Characters and the Major Character
The first problem formulation as mentioned in chapter one is to find out
the characters description in the novel. The writer will use the nine ways which
as discussed in chapter II to make the characters understandable. The writer use
Murphy’s theories to describe the characters through personal description, by
using some points such as: characters as seen by another, speech, past life,
conversation of others, reactions, direct comments, thought, and mannerisms. To
support the theories, the writer also cites some quotations which are taken from
the novel, and then gives some explanations. Firstly, characters that will be
mentioned are the secondary characters and followed by the major character.
There is one central character, and three secondary characters in the novel.
The central character is Milkman Dead, while the secondary characters are Pilate
Dead (Milkman’s aunt), Guitar Bains (Milkman’s best friend) and Macon Dead
(Milkman’s father). The following are descriptions of some characters or person
in novel such as their traits, attitude and black man (negro) identity, which become
the focus to analyze such as Milkman, Pilate, Guitar and Macon Dead. The writer
does not mention the other characters’ descriptions because they don’t really have
an important role in the finding of the personal identity of the major character.
1. Pilate Dead
Pilate is a good Negro woman. Although her economic condition is weak
and poor but she still cares of others, independent, happy and has a self-
confident. Pilate’s caring and happy be a good lesson for Milkman’s life. Milkman
realizes that Pilates is a good woman who has a happy and freedom family and
teaches him an important thing into his life. It is very different from his family.
….he was sitting comfortably in the notorious wine house; he was surrounded by women who seemed to enjoy him and who laughed out loud. And he was in love. No wonder his father was afraid of them. (p. 47)
Pilate is Milkman’s aunt who cares to others. It can be seen in the
following to prove of her care. Pilate Dead is a single parent who has one
granddaughter from her only daughter. She is a person who likes to help anyone
regardless of their status. Moreover, she helps a woman who needs a help even
more then self-interest.
Macon Dead remember when his son was born, how she seemed to be more interested in this first nephew of hers than she was in her own daughter, and even that daughter’s daughter. (p. 19)
….and more important, he would have known not to fool with anything that belonged to Pilate, who never bothered anybody, was helpful to everybody,…(p. 94)
Pilate even takes care of other, especially Ruth. She helps to take care of
Ruth’s baby and loves her nephew. She seems to be more interest and continue to
visit Ruth’s house and sing for the baby. She loves that baby who will be killed by
Macon Dead or Milkman’s father when Ruth was pregnant, before Milkman born.
” Now she was acting like in-law, like an aunt, dabbling at helping Ruth and the girls, but having no interest in or knowledge of decent housekeeping, she got in the way. Finally she just sat in a chair near the crib, singing to the baby. (p. 20)
The quotation above shows that Pilate saves Milkman‘s mother and
Milkman to avoid Macon’s cruelty who wants to kill Milkman. Macon feels that
Milkman and Ruth’s father take Ruth’s attention from him. Pilate’s help can also
be seen in the following Ruth’s speech to Milkman:
“I knew he never told you that he killed my father and that he tried to kill you. Because both of you took my attention away from him. I know he never told you that. And he never told you that he threw my father’s medicine away, but it is true.
And I couldn’t save my father. Macon took away his medicine and I just didn’t know it, and I wouldn’t have been able to save you except for Pilate. Pilate was the one brought you here in the first place.” (p. 124)
Pilate’s help also can be seen in the other Ruth speech to
Milkman as follows:
When he found out about it, he immediately suspected Pilate and he told me to get rid of the baby. But I wouldn’t and Pilate helped me stand him off. I wouldn’t have been strong enough without her. She saved my life. And yours, Macon. She saves yours too. She watched you like you were her own. Until your father threw her out.” (p. 126)
Although his brother dislikes her, she is a forgiving person regardless of
their mistake. From the quotation above, it is known that Pilate Dead concerns
about the birth of her nephew. Her character that cares about others influences
Milkman. He realized that Pilate’s caring makes him know about kindness for
others. In his life, he has found only very few examples of kindness that he can
learn for. His life is controlled by his father who is full of malice.
According to her nephew, Pilate is a woman who always makes him
happy. He likes her song which is always sung or even with stories which is talked
he forgives about his guilty to Pilate and makes him believe that she is a person
who makes his life better.
…, this old black lady- in her late sixties, but with the skin and agility of a teen-aged girl-had brought him into the world when only a miracle could have. It was this woman, whom he would have knocked senseless, who shuffled into the police station and did a little number for the cops-opening herself up wide for their amusement, their pity, their scorn, their mockery, their disbelief, their meanness, their whimsy, their annoyance, their power, their anger, their boredom- whatever would be useful to her and to himself. (p. 210)
As a grandmother she will do anything to make her granddaughter happy.
It can be seen in how she does anything to make her granddaughter calm. She
makes her granddaughter calm with her words. When the granddaughter is
desperate with Milkman, Pilate makes her believe that Milkman still loving her
“How can he not love your hair? It’s the same hair that grows out of his own armpits. The same hair that crawls up out his crotch on up his stomach. All over his chest. The very same. It grows out of his nose, over his lips, and if he ever lost his razor it would grow all over his face. It’s all over his head, Hagar. It’s his hair too. He got to love it.” (p. 315)
Pilate is a woman who loves her family so much. She can do anything to
make her family happy. She does not like anyone who tries to make her family
hurt, moreover because of a man. She is a fearless mother who always defends her
family from the contumely of a man. It can be seen from her reaction when her
daughter is hurt by the hitting of a man. She positioned knife at the edge of the
deeper. Cause if I stick it in any deeper, it’ll go straight through your heart. So you have to be real still, you hear? You can’t move a inch cause I might lose control. It’s just a little hole now, honey, no more’n a pin scratch. You might lose about two tablespoons of blood, but no more. And if you’re real still, honey, I can get it back out without no mistake. But before I do that, I thought we’d have little talk. (p.93-94)
It can be assumed that beside her care toward her daughter, she is well
known for her concern to other people as well. She is famous by helping other
people who needs her help. She becomes the outpouring of woman who is harmed
their husband. Because of it, she becomes the outpouring of Milkman’s mother,
Ruth, when she is harmed by her husband who is actually Pilate’s brother. Pilate’
always cares about everyone. She always cares about her daughter, family,
nephew and also sister in-law. She helps everyone who needs her help. Her
character makes Milkman know the importance of family. Pilate’s love for him is
as his mother’s love. It’s warm-hearted and honest. Milkman feels comfort with
Pilate’s independence can be seen in the novel. The following evidence
will show her independence. She is an independent woman who lives with her
daughter and her granddaughter. She supports her financial with making wine. It
can be shown in the following quotation:
….Could get a real job instead of running a wine house.
….A collection of lunatics who made wine and sang in the streets ‘like common street women! Just like common street women!”(p. 20)
The quotation above shows Pilate who works to get money for her family
making wine. Since she is left by her husband, economically she gets money by
selling wine with her daughter and granddaughter. Because of her poor economic
condition, she has to survive by making wine as her real job. Her poor economic
condition can be seen in her house condition. She lives in a narrow house whose
basement seems to be rising rather than settling into the ground. Although there is
no man in her life, she is independent women with her family. They do their
homework that some should be done by man.
She had no electricity because she would not pay for the service. Not for gas. At night she and her daughter lit the house with candles and kerosene lamps; they warmed themselves and cooked with wood and coal, pumped kitchen water into a dry sink through a pipeline from a well and lived pretty much as though progress was a word that meant walking a little farther on down the road. (p. 27)
The economic condition of Pilate can be seen in her house. The house is
not good enough to be stayed. It is cluttered and there are many candles to be the
light in her house. The following quotation shows Pilate’s house condition.
“Well. Step right in.” She opened the door and they followed her into a large sunny room that looked both barren and cluttered. A moss-green sack hung from the ceiling. Candles were stuck in bottles everywhere; newspaper articles and magazine pictures were nailed to the walls. But other than a rocking chair, two straight-backed chairs, a large table, a sink and stove, there was no furniture. (p. 39)
Although she has weak economic conditions, it does not make her weak to
treat her daughter and granddaughter. She gives priority to the togetherness of
them. In simplicity of her life, she does not make her life as difficult as other
people try to imagine.
The quotation above shows Pilate’s way in creating her family full of
happiness although she has no enough money, poor and weak economic condition.
Her economic condition is different than Milkman Dead, but she can survive with
her family and her independence can give impact to Milkman. It can be said that
he lives in a luxurious life, everything is ready and easy to get in his life but he has
no independent character. Pilate’s independence has an impact to Milkman. He
learns his aunt life which makes him know about the real life in his environment.
A good economic condition can not guaranty people live better and happily.
“..He felt like a garbage pail for the actions and hatreds of other people. He himself did nothing. Except for the one time he had hit his father, he had never acted independently, and that act, his only one, had brought unwanted knowledge…”(p.120)
Pilate is one of the characters in the novel who is always happy. She lives
in happiness. There are no conflicts in her house except the trivial. They always
sing a song to make their lives full of happiness.
The following quotation also shows their family who live with happiness
although they are poor. They always sing together. They spend their rest time in
singing. In the night, she and her family try to enjoy and entertain themselves by
singing. The following quotations show Pilate’s happy life.
They were singing some melody that Pilate was leading. A phrase that the other two were taking up and building on. Her powerful contralto, Reba’s piercing soprano in counterpoint, and the soft voice of the girl, Hagar, who must be about ten or eleven now… (p. 29)
O Sugarman don’t leave me here Cotton balls to choke me
O Sugarman don’t leave me here Buckra’s arms to yoke me….
When the two women got the chorus, Hagar raised her head and sang too.
Sugarman done fly away Sugarman done gone
Sugarman cut across the sky Sugarman gone home. (p. 49)
The quotation above shows Pilate’s family in making the house is full of
beautiful song. They always sing the song every night. This song is one way to
reveal Milkman’s identity later. This song creates happy atmosphere in Pilate’s
family. It can be said that although they have a difficult life but they are always
happy. It is different from Milkman’s family life that is not happy. It also gives an
impact to Milkman. He can learn one thing in his life that whatever his difficulties
in life such might be as economic condition or other suppression, but he should
move toward in the future. Life must be full of happiness like Pilate’s.
“Milkman could hardly breathe….when he thought he was going to faint from the weight of what he was feeling, he risked a glance at his friend and saw the setting sun gilding Guitar’s eyes, putting into shadow a slow smile of recognition.” (p. 49)
Pilate is a woman who was born without a navel. Because of it, in the
young she sometime feels less confident toward a man who tries to approach her.
It can be said that in her young, she feels lack of confidence because of she has no
is told about the navel when she was work in her young, it was told by a negro
woman. Since the story of her navel, she had a lack of confidence. She tried to
hide her stomach to any man. Until she was pregnant her baby, she didn’t want her
stomach was looked by any man. So, she didn’t not want marry again. It can be
seen in her quotation below:
…Pilate refused to marry the man, who was eager to take her for his wife. Pilate was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to hide her stomach from a husband forever. And once he saw that uninterrupted flesh..(p. 147)
It can be said that Pilate has no self-confident at the first time. Because of
her navel, she has lack of confidence. She feels that she is different than others
who have a navel. It looks like a perfect person who has a navel. Her
self-confident appears when she has a baby. She believes that her weakness becomes as
her uniqueness. She receives her weakness as a normal person. Milkman gets an
impact of Pilate’s character. Milkman realizes that he must receive his condition
such as his weakness such as his physical appearance. Milkman has an abnormal
physique, he is polio. The quotation below shows his physical appearance.
By the time Milkman was fourteen he had noticed that one of his legs was shorter than the other. When he stood barefoot and straight as a pole, his left foot was about half an inch off the floor. So he never stood straight; he slouched or leaned or stood with a hip thrown out, and he never told anybody about it-ever. (p. 62)
Pilate’s character affects him to be a confidence boy. Pilate self-confident
becomes a new lesson of life for Milkman. When he was fourteen, he hides his
polio with his style. It can not make him to be weakness but his excess. His
confidence of his polio makes him different with other people. Although it
It bothered him and he acquired movements and habits to disguise what to him was a burning defect. He sat with his ankle on his right knee, never the other way around. And he danced each new dance with a curious stiff-legged step and that the girls loved and other boys eventually copied. The deformity was mostly in his mind. Mostly but not completely, for he did have shooting pains in that leg after several hours on a basketball court. He favored it, believed was polio, and felt secretly connected to the late president Roosevelt for that reason. (p. 62)
After her daughter is born, Pilate’s lack of confidence slowly disappears.
She does not care anymore about the gossip spread by people in the village. She
tries to renew herself; she makes her weakness to be her uniqueness. The
quotation below proves this statement:
Finally Pilate began to take offense. Although she was hampered by huge ignorance, but not in any way unintelligent, when she realized what her situation in the world was and would probably always be she threw away every assumption she had learned and began at zero. First off, she cut her hair. That was one thing she didn’t want to have to think about anymore. Then she tackled the problem of trying to decide how she wanted to live and what was valuable of her. (p. 149)
But since she is an adult and has a child, gradually the feeling of less
confident is lost. She grows up to be a good mother, although she does not have
money. She still looks pretty naturally with improvised performances. Everybody
who looks her in the first sight will interest with her performance, even her body
or her style is a grandmother. Her physical appearance can be seen in the
as though she wore make-up, the earring…. And when she stood up, he all but gasped. She was as tall as his father, head and shoulders taller than himself. Her dress wasn’t as long as he had unlaced men’s shoes and the silvery-brown skin of her ankles. (p. 38)
It can be assumed that Pilate’s weakness which makes her less of
confidence also can be seen in Milkman. This influences him to be strong as other
normal person because of Milkman’s different physically which is polio. That is
the same as Pilate physical appearance who has no navel but tries to be confident.
It can be assumed that the weakness becomes the excess. It can be a good
understanding for Milkman. It makes him to receive his physically condition and
has self-confident like his aunt Pilate.
“…the strut of a very young man trying to appear more sophisticated than he was. It bothered him and he acquired movements and habits to disguise what to him was a burning defect. He sat with his left ankle on his right knee, never the other way around. And he danced each new dance with a curious stiff-legged step that the girls loved and other boys eventually copied.” (p. 62)
2. Guitar Bains
Guitar is Milkman’s best friend. He likes to give not only well-informed to
Milkman, funny but also fanatic person. He is a racist Negro. He dislikes white
people because of his past experience with his family and he considers killing
white people to satisfy himself. His acts considers to revenge. The following
quotation shows how he dislikes white people:
a. Well - Informed
Guitar Bains is Milkman Dead’s best friends who older than Milkman. He
is a Negro who can make other people are happy. As well as his treatment toward
his best friend, Milkman, he is the only one who can make him feels better in any
condition. It can be seen in the Milkman’s sensitiveness about his name. Guitar is
the only person who can make it nice.
Even while he was screaming he wondered why he was suddenly so defensive-possessive about his name. He had always hated that name, all of it, and until he and Guitar became friends, he had hated his nickname too. But in Guitar’s mouth it sounded clever, grown up. (p. 38)
Guitar is a person who always listen Milkman’s problem and try to be a
good listener for Milkman and well-informed. It can be seen in Milkman’s speech
with him in the following quotation
“The point is that she wanted to put those bulbs in. She didn’t have to. She likes to plant flowers. She really likes it. But you should have seen her face. She looked like the unhappiest woman in the world. The most miserable. So where is the fun? I’ve never in my whole life heard my mother laugh. She smile sometimes, even makes a little sound. But I don’t believe she has ever laughed out loud.” (p. 104)
Besides, he is a brave Negro and reckless but it is different by his behavior
toward his best friend. Milkman as his best friend is to be both of best friends and
brother. He is good in make someone laugh, especially his best friend, and can be
a brother of his best friend. He really cares about what happened in his Milkman’s
family and his trouble. He fix the problem becomes a funny thing, and make the
others who have the problem really forget about it. It can be seen in his words to
make his best friend, Milkman, to be calm when he has a problem with his father.
Milkman hits his father to defend his mother; in his confusion he finds the