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Song Of Solomon

            Toni Morrison puts a great emphasis on places and the history that accompanies them in her novel Song of Solomon. Milkman is shaped by the pasts of his family and the places they represent. Not Doctor Street, Lincoln's Heaven, and Shalimar all have a story as well as connection to Ruth, Macon, and Jake. These places are not only connected to Milkman, but as he gets closer to understanding his family he also finds himself in their stories.
             Not Doctor Street is found in a town in Michigan on the banks of Lake Superior. The history behind it is important to understand in order to comprehend Milkman's personality before his transformation. Not Doctor Street used to be called Doctor Street because the first Negro doctor lived there. The white community felt it inappropriate to have a street so called, and posted signs saying it "had always been and would always be known as Mains Avenue and not Doctor Street" (4) and the name stuck. The doctor was Dr. Foster, Milkman's grandfather, the richest and most prominent Negro in the city. His importance carried on to his daughter, Ruth, and her son. The first separation of Milkman from the rest of the town is that he was born in Mercy hospital at the shore end of Not Doctor street: the first Negro to be born in Mercy hospital. Also, the day before, Mr. Smith tried to fly away. This is the first introduction of flying as a theme in the novel as well in Milkman's life.
             Milkman's name "a name he was never able to shake" (15) is acquired on this street when his mother is seen breast feeding him at a socially unacceptable age. These different events on Not Doctor Street not only define Milkman as different, but they also lead to his feelings of being superior as well as inferior. Not Doctor Street is a symbol for Ruth, Milkman's mother. She uses her name to get whatever she needs. She also is obsessed with the idea of being important; she tries to make Milkman into her father.

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