As shown in the novel Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison through the main character Milkman, some people spend their entire lives trying to figure out who they are. In Milkman's search for self-discovery, his thoughts and beliefs are clouded by society's expectations. The impact that civilization has on the way he acts or thinks is profound. By ignoring the strong hold of humanity and going on a quest for distinctiveness, he discovered the true implications of life. The discovery of the fact that what was once believed to be the impossible, is in actuality a capability if you believe it to be so, is empowering. This enlightenment is shown through Milkman at then end of the book. For the majority of Milkman's life, he has done what other people told him to do, and became what other people wanted him to become. However, he slowly comes to the realization that he has been letting all the stories he has heard shape his character. He immediately embarks on a trip to find out the truth about his past for himself, and accidentally finds out the truth about life. Milkman, who once let his past and the stories of the people around him create his character, rebirths into his own self after learning that his grandfather could fly.
From an early age, Milkman's dreams have been placed out of reach by society. Like many children Milkman's age, Milkman had a curiosity with the thought of flying For Milkman, flying was a method of escape in which he could flee from his problems. He wanted to leave behind the people who labeled him from his previous actions. Morrison writes, "When the little boy discovered at four, the same thing/ Mr. Smith had learned earlier- that only airplanes/ and birds could fly- he lost all interest in himself" (Morrison pg 9) This quote shows how society can oppress peoples ideas and force them to conformity. Since Milkman thought that flight was the only was to refuge himself in a place where he could act without others judging him, he was saddened when society taught him that only airplanes and birds could fly.