Throughout the centuries many authors have attempted to capture the individuals quest for self-authenticity.
In the novel Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison points out the many aspects of self-actualization, as well as the tormenting road that leads to the shaping of an individual. Through beautiful language, with immense reality, she is able to describe young black mans journey as he uncovers his personal history, myth, and essence. .
The story revolves around generations, past and present, of a black family in the south. The character of Milkman (Macon Dead jr.) evolves through the descriptions, events, and experiences of others. His parents, Macon Dead sr., and Ruth Foster Dead, represent the wall-blocking Milkman from his true authentic identity. Many of Milkman's major problems are a direct result of his parents suffocating mistakes. Ruth breast-fed Milkman until he was six years old, hence the name Milkman. She was sexually repressed by her husband for twenty years, and used her young son as a substitute for sexual intimacy. Ruth believed that she possessed no authenticity, and that she was insignificant and isolated. By passing these negative attributes and emotions to Milkman she disturbed his natural process for growth, and ultimately left him feeling lost and insecure. Instead of encouraging Milkman to grow and mature, Ruth hoarded him into the world that she herself despised. .
Milkman's father, Macon Dead sr., became a ruthless money hound after his father, Jake, was shot and killed for his property. This devastating event from his childhood made him miserly, insensitive, and stingy. Macon Dead sr. becomes a money hungry machine because he does not want to suffer the same fate as his father. Macon Dead sr. fails to tell Milkman the reasons behind his miserly attitude. Thus creating an insurmountable gap between their relationship. Milkman's mother and father both thrust their personal fears on him adding to the destruction of his personal identity.