Banned Books discussion


Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
This discussion is for talking about Song of Solomon. Spoilers are okay.

message 2: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Jul 14, 2009 01:44AM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
The 84th most challenged book of the 1990’s.

Specific things quotes from the book that are allegedly the reason people want the book banned are below:

See for additional excerpts/review by people fearful of books that engender dialog.

- From introduction extract of review by the Village Voice: “...One closes the book warmed by the richness of its sympathy, and by its breathtaking feel for the nature of sexual sorrow.”

- “..before her husband.. came home.. she called her son to her... unbuttoned her blouse and smiled.. too young to be dazzled by her nipples.. old enough to be bored by the flat taste of mother’s milk.. came reluctantly as to a chore.. tried to pull the milk from her chest.. without hurting her with his teeth... pleasure she hated to give up..” She is observed in this. “..terror.. sprang.. to [her:] eyes... realization she was about to lose.. half of what made her.. life bearable... jumped up as quickly as she could and covered her breast.. confirming for him that these afternoons were strange and wrong..” Janitor says:” knew a family-the mother wasn’t to quick.. nursed.. till the boy.. was 13.. bit much, ain’t it?.. gave a long low chuckle.. A milkman.. A natural milkman.. Look out womens. Here he come.”

- “Each eye of her corset he toyed with.. top of her bodice he unlaced.. teasing her and him with the sounds of the snaps.. never spoke during these undressings.. as when children play ‘doctor’ undressing of course was the best part. When R. was naked and lying there.. unlace[d:] her shoes.. entered her and ejaculated quickly. She liked it that way. So did he.. in almost 20 years.. he had not laid eyes on her naked feet, he missed only the underwear.”

- “..nigger in business is a terrible thing to see.”

- Drunk on roof with shotgun yelling to crowd below: “ I want to fuck! Send me up somebody to fuck!.. or.. [I’ll:] blow my brains out!.. [crowd yells:] kill yourself first and then we’ll send you somebody. Do it have to be a woman?.. got to be human?.. got to be alive?.. Put that [gun:] down and throw me my goddam [rent:] money!.. Float those dollars down her, nigger, then blow yourself up!.. better not miss. If you take a shot.. cause.. I’m gonna shoot your balls up in your throat.. get the hell outta that window.. [drunk:] pulled out his penis and in a high arc peed over the heads of the women, making them scream and run... I love ya! I love ya all... What in the fuckin world am I gonna dooooo?... Come down outta there, nigger!”

- “General Lee [a pig:] was alright by me.. Even his balls were tasty... White people love their dogs. Kill a nigger and comb their hair at the same time.”

- “He ain’t old enough to have wet dreams.”

- “..was 22 then.. been fucking for 6 years, some of the time with the same woman, he’d begun to see his mother in a new light.”

- “..keep you from fucking it up.... What goddam children?”

- Father telling son about his wife’s [son’s mom’s:] father: “..was biggest Negro in this city.. he sniffed ether.. Negroes in this town worshiped him. He didn’t give a damn about them, though. Called them cannibals.. delivered both your sisters.. interested in.. the color of their skin.. nothing nastier than a father delivering his own daughter’s baby... She had her legs wide open and he was there.. was a man before he was a doctor. ..he took sick.. he died... In the bed. That’s where she was when I opened the door. Lying next to him. Naked.. kissing him. Him dead and white and puffy.. she had his fingers in her mouth.. I had a terrible time after that.. thinking all sorts of things. If [your sisters:] were my children. I come to know pretty quick they were.. that bastard couldn’t fuck nothing. Ether took care of whatever he had in that area.. he wouldn’t have been so worried about skin color.. unless they were coming from me.. not saying they had contact.. lots of things a man can do to please a woman, even if he can’t fuck.. she was in that bed sucking his fingers.. when he was dead.. what’d she do when she was alive? Nothing to do but kill a woman like that.. regret she talked me out of killing her... Was it true.. had his mother made it with her own father?.. What the fuck did he tell me all that shit for?... Strange motherfuckers.. whole family was a bunch of crazies. P. singing all day and talking off the wall. R. turning on for anything in pants... what did he let you marry his daughter for? So he could screw her without the neighbors knowing it?.. If he had given you [that money:].. he could have had her all he liked., right?.. could have come in your bed.. 3 of you could have had a ball. He’d get one tit and you’d get.. picture developing, of 2 men in.. bed with his mother, each nibbling on a breast..”

- “My mother nursed me when I was old enough to talk, stand up, and wear knickers.. if she did that when there was no reason for it... maybe she did other things with her father.. his mother had been portrayed.. as an obscene child playing dirty games with whatever male was near-be it her father or her son.”

- “What the fuck.. kid is stomped.. some cracker put it in the paper.. stomped.. Cause he whistled at some Scarlett O’Hara cunt. ..Tell that nigger something.. ought to be enough colored blood on the streets. ..Spill the crackers blood that bashed his face in.... out of your fuckin mind? They’ll catch’ em.. give ’em” a big party and a medal.”

- “..daddy got his balls busted off... Shit... Whores worked the bar.. cruisers found chickens or hawks... How the fuck.. Cut the shit... fuckin radiator... shit... talking shit.. who cares if he fucks a white girl?.. fuck.. Niggers... No shit? No shit.... Like a fuckin sheep.”

- “..ease with which he had gotten and stayed between her legs... annoyance at her refusal to make him hustle for it, work for it,.. didn’t even have to pay for it.. free, so abundant... no excitement.. She was the 3rd beer.. the one you drink because it’s there.. because what difference does it make?.. it was she who called him into the bedroom and stood there smiling.. unbuttoned her blouse.”

- “..she whipped her right arm around his neck and positioned the knife at his... heart... man felt the knife point.. jabbed it skillfully,.. through his shirt into the skin.. holding his neck.. could feel the blood making his shirt sticky.. if I stick it in any deeper, it’ll go straight through your heart.... I’d hate to push it in more and have your mamma feel like I do now.”

- “What you going to do... Watch the lump grow in the little boy’s pants. ..jumped up to grab her, but she ran into the bedroom.. [she:] was unbuttoning her blouse.. saw her breasts.”

- “..fuck-up world... bullshit lecture.. fuckin bullshit lecture.. some secret shit... spend 50% of your brainpower thinking about a piece of ass. You got that red-headed bitch and.. Southside bitch... Fuck... nigger heaven...”

message 3: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod

- “..witch’s tit..”

- “.. girls or getting high... Pussy..”

- “..fuckin leaves.. give a shit.. shit.. nigger.. nigger.. nigger.. Shit.. fuckin glaciers ice your ass.. nigger.. move your ass.. bitch.. “

- His mom talking to him: “..I was 20 years old when your father stopped sleeping in bed with me..”

- “..married a white girl in France.. lived with her for 6 years.. came home to find her with another man. Another black man. ..his white wife not only loved him, not only this other black man, but the whole race..”

- “The knife struck his collarbone and angled off to his shoulder.. began to bleed.. H. raised the knife again.. [M. said:] keep your hands that way.. bring them down straight, straight and fast.. drive that knife right smack in your cunt. Why don’t you do that?.. your problems will be over. He patted her cheek..”

- “..came out of his few days of sexual hypnosis in a rage.. later.. discovered her pregnancy, tried to get her to abort.. made her drink [castor oil:].. soapy enema.. knitting needle (..she inserted only the tip, squatting in the bathroom..).. punched her in the stomach.. [P. said:] ‘don’t take no more mess off [him:] and don’t ram another thing up in your womb..”

- “..keeping her father alive even past the point where he wanted to be alive, past pain and on into disgust and horror at having to smell himself.. lingering in absolute hatred of this woman who would not grant him peace..”

- “..wouldn’t give a pile of swan shit..”

- “..then the preacher started pattin on me.. didn’t know enough to stop him.. his wife caught him at it, thumbin my breasts, and put me out.”

- “..although men fucked armless women, one-legged women, hunchbacks and blind women,.. midgets, small children, convicts, boys, sheep, dogs, goats,.. each other, and even a certain species of plants, they were terrified of fucking her... froze at the sight of that belly.. became limp even..”

- “..she paid close attention to her mentor-the [dead:] father who appeared before her sometimes and told her things..”

- “..R. grew up and began to live from one orgasm to another, taking time out to produce one child..”

- “..stop smoking, fucking, drinking..”

- “..was killed after his balls were cut off.. You’re going to kill people? Not people. White people.. no innocent white people.. every one.. potential nigger-killer, if not an actual one.. Hitler’s the most natural white man in the world.. killed Jews and Gypsies because he didn’t have us... But people who lynch and slice off people’s balls-they’re crazy,.. how come Negroes, the craziest, most ignorant people.. don’t get that crazy.. White people are unnatural.. as race they are unnatural...The disease they have is in their blood, in.. their chromosomes..”

- “..when a cracker kills a Negro.. don’t give a shit what white people know or even think... G., none of that shit... Shit..”

- “Goddam!... raggedy-ass.. Son of a bitch.. nobody can fly with that shit.. Faggot... White faggot.”

- “ news I’ve had since pussy... some shit... Fuck you.”

- “..motherfuckin life..” “..nigger..” “..yellowed-eyed nigger..” “..nigger.. bitch.. bitch.. shit.. crazy shit.. Nigger bitch..” “Fucks up your mind.. fucks it up..”

- “..[threw:] him out of the.. party because he had peed in the kitchen sink.. stayed.. from light buzz to stoned, for 2 days and a night..”

- “..nigger.. Jesus God..” “Shit.”

- “..had dreams as a child.. of the witch who chased him.. would wake with scream and an erection. Now he had only the erection.”

- “..gonna-fuck-you-up..”

- “..watching their women and rubbing his fly.. pussy different up North?.. Pussy the same everywhere. Smell like the ocean; taste like the sea... Maybe the pricks is different.. Wee little.. Wee. wee little... That true?.. wouldn’t know.. never spent much time smacking my lips over another man’s dick... What about his asshole? Ever smack your lips over that?.. little young nigger made me mad and I had to jam Coke bottle up his ass... use a bottle..? Your cock wouldn’t fill it? It did. After I took the.. bottle out. Filled his mouth too. Prefer mouth, do you? If it’s big.. and ugly.. belongs to an ignorant motherfucker who is about to get the living shit whipped out of him. The knife glittered.. motherfucker.. did the best he could with a broken bottle.. stick that cocksucker.. If he’d had weapon he would have slaughtered everybody in sight.”

- “..toothless motherfucker.. Fuck ‘em.. nigger.. black Neanderthals.. Fuck ‘em.. meanest unhung niggers in the world.”

- “Son of a fuckin bitch!”

- “..this here nigger was the problem.. country niggers..” “..nigger..”

- “.. lovemaking to follow would be anything but anticlimatic... when the lovemaking came, he decide he would crawl.. He gave her 50 dollars.. She said please come back. He said I’ll see you tonight.”

- “..fuckin station.. Oh, shit... What the fuck.. you jive-as. What the fuck... you are fuckin with our work!”

- “ it seemed to him that sexual deprivation would affect her... it would affect and hurt him.. may walk and live among women, you may even lust after them, but you will not make love for 20 years.. suppose he were married and his wife refused him..”

- “..he had the power to drive a woman out of her mind.. because he had fucked her, and she was driven wild by the absence of his magnificent joint. His hog’s gut.. Even the last time, he used her.. Die, H., die. Either this bitch dies or I do.”

- “Fuck ‘em.”

- “..son of a bitch.. motherfucker.. fuckin.. tribe of niggers.. shit!.. black ass..”

message 4: by Grey (new)

Grey (spaceharper) | 10 comments So, from those quotes, it sounds like the issues were mostly sex and "bad" language? Possibly references to race as well.

There is a fair bit of discussion of sex in the book, even "weird" sex, but it all has a purpose. It's pretty much all either a demonstration of how screwed up Milkman's parents are, or part of someone (usually Milkman) growing up / maturing. Given that Milkman becoming a mature person is the main storyline... his sexual relationships are hardly gratuitous. His parents are tragically-flawed people who have been affected by awful circumstances, and discovering that his parents are human is part of Milkman's growing up as well.

message 5: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
I agree. I am about 3/4ths of the way through the book and I haven't seen any gratuitous sex. Certainly nothing that a teenage boy would take to his bed at night. The language feels fairly realistic, although it's a little more modern than I expected. I am not sure how realistic it is for the era the book occurs in.

One site I found was upset that blacks get to use the n word and whites don't. How incredibly silly is that? A fat person can call herself fat but a thin person can't tell her she's fat, it's offensive. How is this any different? Why would you want to use the word anyway?

I actually wish they didn't use it. It always seems to be used pejoratively. When groups take back a word to empower themselves, it's supposed to be used positively to describe themselves (like queer or dyke). It feels like internalized racism when a black calls another black a n*&*#& in a nasty way.

But, being white, it's so not my business. I don't let my black daughter use it around me (and luckily she has no desire to) but I'm not going to tell folks what words they can use to describe their own people!

message 6: by Grey (new)

Grey (spaceharper) | 10 comments It always feels disingenuous when white people complain about the "double standard" wherein black people can use that word and white people can't. It's only "unfair" if you completely ignore all context... And I agree, I may not approve of the language some black people use to refer to each other, but it's really none of my business.

In any case, the language in the book does seem realistic. You can't depict how most people talk by leaving out all the "offensive" words...

message 7: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
I know, how dumb would it be to have an uneducated gang member saying, "My heavens, it was much worse than that, my dear chap." You have to have your characters speak realistically or the book will feel false.

message 8: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Jul 29, 2009 01:47AM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
So I finally finished the book and here is my review:

3 stars: I want to state for the record that my mediocre rating of this book has much more to do with my own ignorance and stupidity than any problem with the book itself. I just didn't get it. I couldn't figure out what it was about or what it was trying to say. It just seemed boring and pointless. I didn't like any of the characters and I really didn't care what happened to them. Morrison's writing, as usual, was lyrical and beautiful but it wasn't enough to sustain the book for me. I checked out the Cliff's Notes from the library to better understand it and although I'm not that far into it, I already have a better understanding of what she is trying to do in the novel. My lack of awareness of Black Art movement hindered much of my ability to comprehend the book. So don't take my word for it that this book is boring. Judge more on your own experiences with African American literature and other reviewers who know what they are talking about.

When I have finished reading the notes I'll post more about it.

back to top