52 Best Toni Morrison Quotes

52 Best Toni Morrison Quotes

by / Comments Off / 182 View / Nov 21, 2014

Toni Morrison is an author and professor from Ohio. She has won many prestigious awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize. She still writes and travels the world to literature conferences.

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double.”

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don’t need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can.”

“Beginning Beloved with numerals rather than spelled out numbers, it was my intention to give the house an identity separate from the street or even the city.”

“Beloved, you are my sister, you are my daughter, you are my face; you are me.”

“Black women write differently from white women. This is the most marked difference of all those combinations of black and white, male and female. It’s not so much that women write differently from men, but that black women write differently from white women. Black men don’t write very differently from white men.”

“Born lost. Take over the world and still lost.”

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”

“Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth.”

“For me, Art is the restoration of order. It may discuss all sort of terrible things, but there must be satisfaction at the end. A little bit of hunger, but also satisfaction.
Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

“Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty.”

“I believe that one of the principle ways in which we acquire, hold, and digest information, is via narrative — so I hope you will understand when the remarks I make begin with the first sentence of our childhood — that we all remember — the phrase: “Once upon a time.”

“I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, “You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.” And I said, “But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!” And he said, “Yeah, but I know it’s there.” So when I was working in kitchens, I did good work.”

“I see the dark face that is going to smile at me it is my dark face that is going to smile at me the iron circle is around our neck she does not have sharp earrings in her ears or a round basket she goes in the water with my face.”

“I think women dwell quite a bit on the duress under which they work, on how hard it is just to do it at all. We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for all that.”

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

“If you’re going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.”

“I’m just trying to look at something without blinking, to see what it is like, or it could have been like, and how that had something to do with the way we live now. Novels are always inquiries for me.”

“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”

“It is easily the most empty cliché, the most useless word, and at the same time the most powerful human emotion — because hatred is involved in it, too. I thought if I removed the word from nearly every other place in the manuscript, it could become an earned word. If I could give the word, in my very modest way, its girth and its meaning and its terrible price and its clarity at the moment when that is all there is time for, then the title does work for me.”

“It was a fine cry — loud and long — but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”

“Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.”

“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.”

“Lonely was much better than alone.”

“Love is never any better than the lover. ”

“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

“Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.”

“Not knowing it was hard; knowing it was harder.”

“She had been so close, then closer. And it was so much better than the anger that ruled when Sethe did or thought anything that excluded herself. She could bear the hours — nine or ten of them each day but one — when Sethe was gone. Bear even the nights when she was close but out of sight, behind walls and doors lying next to him. But now — even the daylight time that Beloved had counted on, disciplined herself to be content with, was being reduced, divided by Sethe’s willingness to pay attention to other things. Him mostly.”

“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.”

“Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man. What moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of towns that cannot bear your company.”

“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.”

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

“The screams of a hurt woman were indistinguishable from everyday traffic.”

“The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.”

“There is and will be rousing language to keep citizens armed and arming; slaughtered and slaughtering in the malls, courthouses, post offices, playgrounds, bedrooms and boulevards; stirring, memorializing language to mask the pity and waste of needless death. There will be more diplomatic language to countenance rape, torture, assassination.”

“There is just a little music, each other and the urgency of what is at stake. Which is all they had. For that work, the work of language is to get out of the way.”

“There is really nothing more to say — except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.”

“To get to a place where you could love anything you chose–not to need permission for desire–well now _that_ was freedom.”

“Unpersecuted, unjailed, unharrassed writers are trouble for the ignorant bully, the sly racist, and the predators feeding off the world’s resources.”

“Was there anything so loathsome as a wilfully innocent man? Hardly. An innocent man is a sin before God. Inhuman and therefore untrustworthy. No man should live without absorbing the sins of his kind, the foul air of his innocence, even if it did wilt rows of angel trumpets and cause them to fall from their vines.”

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

“What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?”

“Which was what love was: unmotivated respect.”

“Word-work is sublime… because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference — the way in which we are like no other life.”

“Would it be all right? Would it be all right to go ahead and feel? Go ahead and count on something?”

“You are your best thing.”

“You free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you.”

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”