In the novel Song of Solomon a major ambiguous event occurs. The author, Toni Morrison leaves the interpretation up to the reader on the issue of whether or not Macon killed the “white” man in the novel. In Song of Solomon, Macon tells his son, Milkman, the story of when his father was killed by white men and he and his sister, Pilate, ran away together. Macon says that he and Pilate were followed by “a man who looked just like their father. ” (168) After three days of being followed by this man, they decided to find an escape by taking cover in a unused cave.
In the middle of the night, Macon awoke to find a man sleeping near him, “very old, very white, and his smile was awful. ” (169) Spurred by the images floating through his mind of his father’s cold blooded murder at the hands of white men, Macon lashed out in anger and threw a rock at the “white” man’s head. Instead of falling to the ground, the “white” man “kept coming and coming”(169) towards Macon. This action by the grinning, sadistic “white” man signified Macon’s sentiment that the white race would not cease to plague his every action.
Macon continues to inflict physical harm upon the “white” man, finally resorting to his knife and brutally murdering the man. After the man took his final breath, Pilate became hysterical, while Macon tried to cover up the body with a tarpaulin. While doing this, Macon discovered that the man possessed great wealth in gold. Macon desired to steal the bags of gold, however, Pilate objected to this and raged at Macon. (12ftopp. ) Macon began calling Pilate names, and after realizing her unresponsiveness, he left the cave. He waited outside the entrance all day and night, anticipating her exit from the cave.
Once dawn came, he slowly approached the cave until he was chased away by some hunters and their dogs. Macon finally returned to the cave after three days and two nights to find that Pilate, the gold, and the tarpaulin were not to be found, although the body of the man remained. Years later Milkman journeyed to the cave and did not find bones of any kind. Upon further investigation, Milkman discovered from an old lady in the area, Circe, that his grandfather’s body had resurfaced after being buried in a shallow grave along a river and had been thrown into the cave by hunters.
The reader also learns that Pilate had returned to the cave to collect the bones of the dead man. These events can be interpreted in various ways. A feasible interpretation of this event is that Macon did not actually kill the “white” man. The man that he supposedly killed was an illusion. The way that he acted toward the man suggests that Macon was still extremely bitter over his father’s death, and wanted to avenge his father’s murder.
The fact that Macon was chased off by hunters, and Circe’s information regarding the location of his father’s body implies that Macon father’s body was dumped into the cave by the hunters the day after Macon’s “murder. ” Upon Macon’s return to the cave a few days later, the body he saw was that of his father. The fact that the gold and the tarpaulin were mysteriously missing also backs up the probability of it all being an illusion. Because of this, when Pilate returned to the cave years later, the bones she collected were actually her father’s bones. Based on this evidence, Macon did not kill the “white” man.