In Song of Solomon, a novel by Toni Morrison first set in the 1930's and continuing throughout the 1960's, the character of Milkman embarks on a journey, taking him to different places (both geographically and spiritually) in search of his family heritage and sense of belonging. The mystery in the storyline lies within his ancestors' lives, such as Macon Dead and the mystical Solomon. Through the novel, Milkman gains knowledge and belonging, and breaks away from his continuance of greed and superficiality when he rises above merely searching for gold.
To begin his voyage, Milkman's main motivation stems from the chance that he might find gold. Instead of continuing with his search, he finds a new, more meaningful path. This path leads him to discover more about himself and his family. Milkman morphs from a spoiled, self-righteous boy to a humbled, enlightened man. This occurs much to the credit of his aunt, Pilate, who serves as a guide to both Milkman and the general theme of the novel, as she serves as a constant voice and image of the non-materialistic side of things, the side that Morrison elevates throughout.
Before his journey Milkman serves as the lower half, consisting of superficial and prideful characteristics. This figurative battle between the two forces ends with the conclusion of Milkman's journey and genealogical mystery, and the two unite as Milkman's quest changes him into a being closer to that of Pilate. This shift supports the meaning of the novel--spirituality and family over money and possessions.