Song of Solomon : Chapter 6
Summary of Chapter Six
Milkman and Guitar sit in Mary's Bar and discuss Hagar. When Guitar returned to his apartment, Milkman had gone, but Hagar was still in the same position with the dagger poised. She had not moved. Guitar asks Milkman what he did to her, but Milkman is unresponsive. He changes the subject to Guitar's new secret life. Guitar does not know if he can trust Milkman but tells him about his involvement in the Seven Days, an organization that creates social justice by killing as many whites as blacks are murdered, to keep the score even. They kill whites on the same day the original act against blacks was committed, and in the same manner. Guitar is the Sunday man. Guitar tells his belief that the white race is unnatural and violent. Milkman tries to argue with Guitar about his conclusions but has no effect on him.
Commentary on Chapter Six
Both friends appear to be going in the wrong moral direction. Each can see the other's error but not his own. Guitar ends up being profoundly supportive and understanding of Hagar though he is not exactly a faithful lover himself. He does not understand Milkman's cruelty to her. Similarly, Milkman does not understand why Guitar wants revenge on white people. He does not believe in the black militancy arising in the country that is about to explode. This chapter affords Morrison the opportunity to discuss racial and gender injustice and the emotional responses they generate. Both Hagar and Guitar are so filled with despair they are ready to kill. Milkman is not involved enough in his own life at this point to feel much emotion, nor to sympathize. He has not yet become a person.
We also become aware of the irrevocable splits between Milkman and Hagar and Milkman and Guitar. The author builds suspense toward further tragedy in these relationships. Guitar begins to distrust Milkman as being what would later be called an Uncle Tom type of black, with his father's money and his comfortable upbringing separating him from the fate of other blacks who are not so fortunate.