Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
Milkman Dead is the protagonist of the novel. He is a young man who is raised in the privilege of an African-American upper-class family as the only son. Bored, he thinks he must escape his family’s pressures and tragedies with a search for gold.
The history of slavery and Reconstruction in the United States, a history that loosened the ties of African-American families and threatened the identity of the people.
Milkman steals what he thinks is his aunt Pilate’s stash of gold. Because it isn’t gold, he leaves the city of his birth and begins a search for gold, a search that leads him to his family’s history.
Milkman finds some of the answers to his questions about his family’s past, linking him to a past of resistance, liberation, and loss, and implanting in him a desire to live and to connect with people.