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Death in Song of Solomon On first glance it appears to be less prevalent than it is in other books we have read, at least before chapter 5 Suicide (?) at the beginning of the novel Dead as a last name Occasional discussion of beatings Pilate is willing to kill to save her family
Pilate Her name itself is a death reference “‘…Pilate.’ ‘Like a riverboat pilot?’ ‘No. … Like a Christ-killing Pilate.’” (Morrison 19) Has witnessed her own father’s death “’I saw Papa shot. ...’” (Morrison 140) She herself has an interesting take on death
Chapter 5 Hagar attempts to kill Milkman for leaving her Stabs with a knife, but can’t do it Later Ruth comes to Pilate’s house to confront Hagar Pilate and Ruth have an important and intriguing conversation on….
Page 140 “Death is as natural as life.” “Ain’tnothin natural about death. It’s the most unnatural thing they is.” “You think people should live forever?” “Some people. Yeah.” “Who’s to decide? Which ones should live and which ones shouldn’t?”
Page 140 “The people themselves. Some folks want to live forever. Some don’t. I believe they decide on it anyway. People die when they want to and if they want to...”
“Don’t nobody have to die if they don’t want to.” (Morrison 140)
Also seen in other mediums The musical “Les Misérables Student Edition” “ ‘You will live … you’re going to live, it’s too soon, too soon to say goodbye.’ ‘Yes … forbid me now to die, I’ll obey, I will try.’”
Suicide “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” -Phil Donahue
Which begs the question: Is suicide the choice to die or the choice to get away from one’s problems, with death being an unfortunate side affect?
Death in World Religions In Christianity, when a person dies their soul goes to either Heaven or Hell This is based upon the choices they made during life Heaven is generally the same, but Hell has varying interpretations Often a place of eternal punishment However some more liberal Christians believe that Hell is simply a concept, as it is too harsh for a ‘loving God’ Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that there is no Hell, the unsaved simply are annihilated
Death in World Religions Hinduism Salvation is attained by escaping the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth This can be done in four ways: Jnana yoga: the way of knowledge Bhakti yoga: the way of devotion or love Karma yoga: the way of action Raja yoga: via meditative yoga techniques
Death in World Religions Islam When a person dies, they do not go immediately to either Heaven or Hell Instead this is determined on the final day of reckoning Each person is judged as an individual by their own abilities Everyone is judged by God
Death in World Religions Buddhism After death, one is reborn again continuously into a new being This new being is determined by actions in life The only way to break the cycle of reincarnation is by reaching Nirvana An enlightened state of complete knowledge Ignorance is the barrier to overcome
Death in World Religions Judaism Behavior does determine afterlife However very little emphasis on personal reward and salvation One can always atone before God When the messiah comes, everyone will receive eternal judgment and reward