|摘要: ||This paper examines the significance of hunting as motif in William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses (1942) and the ways Toni Morrison rewrites this motif in Song of Solomon (1977).
Go Down, Moses and Song of Solomon both belong in the genre of bildungsroman. Under Sam Fathers’s tutelage, Ike McCaslin, the protagonist in Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses, achieves his maturation through his hunting experience in the wilderness—his first inclusion in the hunting trip at the age of ten, the shooting of his first buck, and his participation in and witness to the pursuit and finally the killing of Old Ben, the mythic bear. This is a life-transforming experience for Ike. Hunting, however, is hardly a simple recreational sport or game in the novel; it is also a “form of cultural play” which “allows for male hunters as signifiers of society to express their interpretation of life and the world.” If hunting is a game, its playing field is established by white males, and its rules are also set up and rigorously maintained by white males.
Ike's epiphany in the wilderness ends up with the renouncement of his inherited and thus race-haunted estate and his alienation from society. In contrast, Milkman Dead, the self-centered black protagonist in Morrison's Song of Solomon, achieves his social self and recognizes his ancestral past. His quest for self unwittingly begins with a treasure hunt, a journey that takes him away from his familiar middle-class life and Northern white values, but it ends up with a return to his ancestral origin in the rural South. In the hunting trip with people of his own kind, Milkman, like Ike before him, attains his true sense of self after he strips himself of his material belongings, especially the watch. Unlike Ike, however, Milkman does not relinquish the condition he was born in; instead, he reenters "social time" and recognizes his place and responsibility in the black community. Milkman's hunting trip revises Ike's experience most significantly in a reestablishment of connection with his racial past. He revives the tradition of the Dead family.