And The Children Will Know Their Name: Naming in Song of Solomon
Pilate name has dual purpose serving also to express the theme of flight. The name homophonic with an airplane pilot. Morrison uses this name because Pilate can be looked as a pilot to Milkman. Pilate guides milkman through his journey in learning how to “fly”. Guitar’s name is also a source of symbolism in the story. Guitar received his name as a child after a trip to a store. They were having a contest for a guitar but he unfortunately did not win. He “cried about it… and always asked about it” (45). Guitar suggests that he should have called Reba because “She ain’t never lost nothing” (45). Guitar is jealous of this. He wishes he could have had the Guitar. He is named after something he couldn’t have because he wasn’t lucky. Living in poverty Guitar life is centered on what he cannot have. He was not lucky enough to grow up in the higher class life style of Milkman.
Guitars last name “Bains” is another example of Morrison using a homophone as a name to describe a character. The word “bane” is described as “a person or thing that causes misery or distress” (Collins). Although Guitar begins as