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Liam Kinnett


Bold Points




South Salem High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mechanical or Industrial Engineering

    • Dream career goals:

      RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
      An analysis of Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon details the journey of a black community through the motif of flowers. Women are consistently left behind and viewed as accessories to men rather than people of their own accord. While nominally Song of Solomon is a story about a black man reconnecting with his heritage, female voices play a prominent role in exposing the patriarchal oppression that limits the development of individuality. Although other characters such as Hagar and Sweet are also rejected and marginalized, Morrison confines the motif of flowers to the Dead family. Morrison uses the motif of flowers to demonstrate how the male gaze’s indifference toward the feminine experience imposes a divisive culture of isolation that inhibits genuine expressions of a woman’s identity. Morrison uses the irony of the dream about Ruth’s strangulation to prove that the oppressive male perspective of women as hapless and incompetent heightens an individual’s sense of rejection. The asyndeton of “rhododendron, goldfish, dahlias, geraniums, imperial tulips” creates a fast rhythm, which exposes how the oppressive male gaze skips over the feminine experience; flowers and “goldfish” are viewed as “frail” and unassuming, further proving that the ignorant male perspective impedes a genuine societal appreciation for women. Morrison juxtaposes the vivacious floral imagery of “wide and green” rhododendron “leaves”, which symbolize growth and opportunity, with a depressed mood created by the pallid diction of “limp yellow hearts” to prove that the oppression of females limits their opportunities to mature as individuals, forcing them to be “frail” and “tiny” with no opportunity for self-determination. Moreover, the weak “l” consonance of “lapsed into limp yellow hearts” establishes that treating women as helpless cultivates artificial feminine identities that lack resilience. The repetition of “death” creates a hopeless mood; since “death” is personified as a “companion”, Morrison reveals how despair is inevitable when women lack a truly understanding “companion” within an oppressive chauvinistic society. While “butterflies” symbolize metamorphic growth, by metaphorically comparing the “tulips” that “grew and grew” to “harmless butterflies”, Morrison proves that when women are overshadowed by their male counterparts and dismissed as “harmless”, they fail to transform into their genuine selves. Morrison juxtaposes the frightened mood created by “smothering”, “dangerous”, and “bloody red”, with the tulips’ “soft, jagged lips”, which oxymoronically reveal the seemingly innocuous but treacherous nature of toxic masculinity, confirming that gender-based oppression creates an atmosphere of suspicion. By juxtaposing the “harmless” connotations of “playfully, mischievously” and “smiled” with Ruth’s horrific “smothering”, Morrison reveals that ignorance towards feminine oppression stops women from expressing genuine emotions. Because Ruth never speaks and “smothering” has connotations of restraint and suppression, Morrison showcases how a male-dominated society impedes the feminine expression of identity, creating an overwhelming melancholic atmosphere. Morrison creates a cacophonic rhythm through the epiphora of “serious”, highlighting women’s inner tumult when they are disregarded by a male-dominated community. Morrison juxtaposes the “window”, which symbolizes a barrier between the feminine experience and the “watching” male gaze, with Ruth’s weak prostrate position “on her knees”, further exposing the feminine isolation stemming from women’s perceived inferiority in a patriarchal society. Thus, Morrison proves that when the oppressive male gaze refuses to acknowledge the uniqueness of women, it weakens the connections between women and society. The motif of velvet rose petals highlights how surrendering to traditional gender roles perpetuates sexist stereotypes, ultimately augmenting the degradation of the female identity. Because the tactile fabric imagery of “silk wings” and “velvet roses” has connotations of excess and indicate the vast toll masculine dominance has on the feminine psyche, while Mr. Smith’s “blue silk wings” symbolize male social liberties, Morrison proves that men exploit their independence to perpetuate the degradation of women within society, ultimately draining women emotionally. The ever-changing “wind” symbolizes the fickle nature of patriarchal whims; the turbulent imagery of “rose petals” being blown “about, up, down” reveals that submitting to sexist gender roles invites further emotional turmoil and powerlessness over one’s life. Since “Father Divine” is an allusion to a prominent “Philadelphia” preacher who falsely claimed to be God, the religious diction of “Father Divine”, “worship”, and “virgins” creates a dogmatic tone, revealing that patriarchal traditions force women to devote themselves to artificial constructs, limiting genuine gender relations. While “the pregnant lady’s moans” did not get “attention”, the haphazard imagery of artificial “roses strewn about”, “great confusion”, “shouts and bustling” reinforces the theme that women are paradoxically an afterthought in the collective masculine consciousness, even amidst their obvious suffering. By juxtaposing the haphazard “roses strewn about” with the religious diction, Morrison proves that feminine capitulation to a male-dominated society leads to their further marginalization and worthlessness in the male gaze. Morrison metaphorically compares the feminine experience to a mental “asylum”, revealing that women are treated as subpar and subsistent upon men, ultimately hindering the expansion of their identities. Because “artificial roses”, “baskets”, and “rag rugs” are all pragmatically useless, Morrison’s exasperated tone bemoans how patriarchal stereotyping stops women from finding true importance within their own lives, leaving women shallow and “artificial”. The repetition of “quiet” uses slow pacing, creating a subdued mood that further reveals how sexist tropes contribute to the inability of women to express their personalities. Corrie’s “junior year in France” connotes elegance and refinement, revealing that her social “advantages” have prepared her to prosper in life. However, Corrie’s “education” and refinement ironically leave her “unfit” for anything except “the making of red velvet roses”; while her “college” degree symbolizes the opportunities provided by education, her intersectional female identity removes the privilege of her social status, proving that patriarchal traditions impede the development of a woman’s independence. Since Corrie was ironically expected to find a “public-spirited” profession or become a “wife”, Morrison proves that acquiescing to traditional gender roles rather than exploring authentic interests forces women to “sacrifice” integral parts of their identities. Therefore, Morrison uses Corrie, Lena, and Ruth’s capitulation to a patriarchal society to showcase how traditional gender roles impede the exploration of the feminine identity. Through the allegory of Milkman peeing on Lena’s flowers, Morrison reveals how a disregard for one’s peers limits the maturation of identity, ultimately generating vitriol and discord within a community. Because Milkman’s “eyes” symbolize the oppressive male gaze, when he “missed” the “maple tree” that was “very important” to Lena, Morrison reveals that the patriarchy’s disregard for feminine passions marginalizes women’s individuality. Paradoxically, the “maple tree” is not “turning red” in the fall, but rather staying “green”; the lack of transformation symbolizes the inability of women to develop their identities due to their insignificance in the male gaze. The floral imagery of the “green” leaves, “purple violets”, and “wild jonquil” paradoxically have connotations of a deep inner spirit despite being “shriveling” and “dead” inside, revealing that men notice superficial attributes rather than truly exploring the vibrancy of the feminine experience. The languid diction of “shriveling”, “dead”, “died”, and “dying” further reinforces Morrison’s theme that the chauvinistic diminishment of the feminine spirit hinders individual female development. Furthermore, Morrison uses the pleasant diction of “sweet reasonableness”, “not even irritated”, and “equanimity” to characterize Milkman as self-righteous, demonstrating the irony of masculine disregard: their sanctimonious perspectives preclude true respect for women. Because being “peed on” is the ultimate form of disrespect, the allegory of Milkman peeing on Lena and her “flowers” highlights how a patriarchal society compels women to bear complete disregard and marginalization at the expense of their dignity. The sibilance of “heels”, “slide”, “slope”, “shoulder”, and “grass” creates both a subdued and sinister mood, showcasing how a male-dominated society forces women to acquiesce to unjust demands; the sinister “s” sounds reinforce the theme that the subjugation of women impedes their freedom to explore their identity independently. Furthermore, By using a third-person limited narrative structure until Lena’s proclamation that Milkman has “pissed” his “last”, Morrison reveals that the female perspective has been systematically ignored, resulting in an absence of control of their own lives. The congeries of “sad, pitiful, stupid, selfish, hateful” creates a harsh tone, revealing the intrinsic hostility produced by the disempowerment of a woman’s identity. The “hint of steel” in Lena’s “voice” has connotations of a biting sharpness, further proving that when the feminine “voice” and perspective are not genuinely acknowledged, enmity and conflict are fostered within a community. Through Lena’s outburst, Morrison lambasts the patriarchy for how its indifference towards women diminishes feminine individuality and creates conflict within society. Morrison explores complex gender relations through the motif of flowers in Song of Solomon. As her female characters are repeatedly forgotten, marginalized, and degraded, Ruth’s suffocation in a bed of tulips reveals how masculine ignorance towards the suffering of women further perpetuates their hardship. The motif of velvet roses present at Lena’s dramatic outburst, Corrie’s job, and Milkman’s birth reveal that submitting to the bigotry of a male-dominated society impedes the exploration of one’s identity. Ultimately, after Milkman pees on Lena’s violets, Morrison proves that the dismissal of women robs them of the opportunity to explore their identities, leading to an ingrained atmosphere of hatred within a community.