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Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra

in English Letters



Student Number: 044214071












Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra

in English Letters



Student Number: 044214071








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




TITLE ... i






ABSTRACT ... vii

ABSTRAK ... viii


A. Background of Study ... 1

B. Problem Formulation ... 3

C. Objectives of the Study ... 4

D. Definition Terms ... 4


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


A. Objects of the Study ... 24 Character’s Personal Identity ... 57





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.




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

personal identity?

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:

1. Character

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.

2. Identity

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 ( 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.

3. Speech

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.

6. Reaction

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.

8. Thought

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.

9. Mannerism

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

personal identity.

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,

1968: 56)

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,

1981: 128).

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

Chapter I.

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




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.




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)

a. Caring

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

man’s heart


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


b. Independent

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)

c. Happy

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)

d. Self-Confident

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

following quotation:


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




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